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New Film from South Africa - Tipped for the Fall Festivals

by Sydney Levine
July 9, 2010 11:33 AM
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This film is so new even IMDb has not yet listed it. The film should have a rough cut ready by mid July and is aiming to premier at the forthcoming international film festivals. Principal photography of the psychological thriller Retribution was completed in June 2010. The film is the theatrical debut of acclaimed commercials director Mukunda Dewill, stars Joe Mafela and Jeremy Crutchley, and is produced by Philip Key. Moonlighting Films ("Skin", "Invictus") is the production company behind the film.

Moonlighting financed this ambitious project in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), that is also distributing the film locally. From the outset this was a film that was written to be made. Frustrated by many attempts to get his scripts into physical production, Mukunda conceptualized that this film had to have minimal financial demands but still look impressive. The key lay in a high impact script fuelled by powerful performances and set against the backdrop of a single location, as inspired by tightly contained thrillers such as "Misery" and "Death Trap". The mantra was to remove any indulgence from the production process so as to channel every available cent onto the screen, such that in the end the film was made for a budget similar to that of a two day commercial but looks and feels like a top-end thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock or the Coen Brother’s "No Country for Old Men".

The project was able to attract top-drawer crew including DOP Miles Goodall and editor Richard Starkey. "It was important that we had good crew, flat deals, great food and willing participants," says producer Key, "We wanted to ensure that everyone took away something from the project. For some participants it was the chance to move up the ladder, for others it was the exhilaration and challenge of working on a streamlined project that was uncompromising in realising maximum value on the screen through a disciplined and innovative production process. Everyone had to up their game and find new and creative ways to make it work, and everyone delivered. For Moonlighting suppliers it was also an opportunity to co-invest in a project with a major client. Nobody was in it for the money but nobody had to work for free."

The 90-minute film was shot in only fourteen days on location in Bot Rivier just outside Cape Town. "There was great camaraderie and it was led from the top. Everybody got stuck in with Miles at the forefront, moving lights or picking up the clapperboard when needed. Mukunda worked like a Trojan with the crew running to keep up as we chased the sun that seemed to disappear prematurely each day. Dylan Voogt did a great job as UPM to keep everything on track amidst great filmic ambition balanced against a severely tight budget." continued Key.

A lot of innovation was also required in terms of the film's financing. Moonlighting's Marvin Saven constructed a finance plan that made the most of the NFVF contribution coupled with a mixture of financial benefits available to local filmmakers as well as private equity, such that the financing was green-lit in a remarkably short space of time. "With this type of project and the financing model we were able to deploy, we are confident that we have the makings of a production and financial template that really puts the power into the hands of the filmmaker and gives both the producer and the financiers a genuine chance at box office return", says Saven.

The sound track is being composed by James Matthes and Daniel Matthee with the sound mix mixed by Simon Ratcliff at Sound & Motion. "We look forward to a great product that should illustrate that good films (from both a critical and commercial point of view) can be made for a minimal budget if the right approach is adopted from the ground up."

Released on behalf of the National Film and Video Foundation and Moonlighting Productions

For Media Queries contact:
Naomi Mokhele
Communication and Public Affairs Manager
National Film and Video Foundation
011 483 0880
naomim@nfvf.co.za
www.nfvf.co.za


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