Film Director Angus Gibson was in Durban recently for the Durban International Festival to promote the movie ‘Back of the Moon’.
|Film Director Angus Gibson|
He is also one of the people behind hit shows such as ‘Yizo Yizo’ and ‘Isibaya’.
I asked him some questions about filmmaking. This is what he had to say:
What does a director do?
A director interprets a script, overseeing the performances, the camerawork, the sound, the edit of the film – constantly making choices which guide the spirit and the aesthetic of the film. A director is a leader on the film set and a storyteller.
Tell us about 'Back of the Moon'?
Back of the Moon takes place in 1958 in Sophiatown, the night before the residents of one of the streets will be forcibly removed and taken to Meadowlands way out of the city. The central character Max aka Badman is an intellectual and might have been a liberation leader, but instead he has become the leader of a gang and he is disappointed in himself. On this night that he has decided that he will fight an impossible fight against being removed from his house – Eve Msomi, a Miriam Makeba kind of figure that he has loved from afar, lands in his orbit and they spend magical hours together. It is the beginning of a beautiful relationship, but his gang has turned against him.
What advice do you have for young directors?
Be original. Find a way to show your talent – be it in writing, in music videos or short films – even if you do not have access to high end equipment, use your cell phone. Do research in the creation of the characters and the world you are describing. Your
own life experience is a useful resource. Above all you need to hustle and not give up. There are many people wanting to get the opportunity to direct and if you get the opportunity, give it your all.
Advice on how to get distribution deals?
I am no expert in this field but film markets and festivals are good places in which to get deals, before and after production. Again one needs to hustle to get the proposal or the finished film seen by the right people.
Why do you think 'Yizo Yizo' blew up like it did and became so successful?
At the time that it was made there had been no accurate representation of a township culture. In Yizo Yizo urban black South Africans felt that they recognized themselves on screen for the first time. Again it was based on a whole year of research in the township schools. There were characters and situations that people related to and fell in love with.
Advice for Producers pitching shows to TV networks?
At the moment TV networks seem to be in search of a hook right up front that will attract and draw an audience in. You need to be very aware of the audience that you are speaking to. You need to create a set of characters and describe a world that they will
relate to and will sustain strong drama. Again if you have a brave broadcaster, original ideas feel key. At the time that we pitched Isibaya, a rural, traditional world had not been depicted on screen for a long time. It felt fresh and different.
The film 'Back of the Moon' won the Best South African Feature Film award at the 40th Durban International Film Festival.
Back of the Moon opens at cinemas countrywide on Friday, 6th September 2019.
Interview by Fred Felton | Twitter @fredfelton