MAKING LOCAL MOVIE MAGIC
MAKING LOCAL MOVIE MAGIC
Alone, a locally made short film with a powerful message that resonates with all who experienced the isolation of lockdown, scooped the best short film award at the Enfoque International Film Festival in May.
The film, just under 30 minutes long, beat 475 entries across the globe to the finishing post and has certainly put Tami and Dylan Marriott, the talented founders of The Edit Room, on the movie making map. It was a first for a South African film.
We chatted to writer and director Tami about winning the award during such a challenging period and how it has impacted on their careers since then.
O&A: Please tell us about the award?
The award forms part of an international film festival hosted in Puerto Rico annually. It is called the Enfoque International Film Festival and has been running since 2008.The festival has two different categories – one for full length features and one for short films (under 30 minutes). They run the competition in two different sections – national entrants and international entrants.
O&A: Why did you decide to enter your film?
When we launched our short film “Alone” across all social media platforms on 28th of April, the feedback was astounding. I never realised that so many people resonated with the message and decided to post our film on film freeway which is a tool for film-makers to get their work submitted into festivals.
I noticed there was a call for Covid-19 related films and saw the opportunity to spread our message further than just Durban. International film festivals allow you to reach a global audience which is so important, especially in times like this where it can feel like countries are so isolated from each other.
O&A: Tell us about the film – what inspired you to make it in the first place and when did you make it?
This film has an interesting background because it was never intended to be what it became. We filmed the bulk of it over a year ago as a passion project to bulk up our individual portfolios. The original script was written about a girl who was trapped indoors and could not go outside because of a zombie apocalypse that had destroyed mankind. As busy lives go, after filming it, we never got around to editing or recording the voice over. So, it sat on a hard drive gathering dust and guilt for not completing it. But, then, Covid-19 hit us like a ton of bricks and we started conceptualising a story to support those who were alone and taking emotional strain. It was only when I started writing this script that it clicked! Everything about our zombie film worked into our current message and, with a few adaptions, we could make it into a powerful story.
O&A: A number of people were involved in the making – can you tell me how you achieved this during lockdown?
This was a group effort through and through. When it was filmed, lock down wasn’t a problem. When it came to editing, our editor was in Pretoria, voice over artist in Cape Town, sound designer on the South Coast and graphics artist on the North Coast! We used We-Transfer to send each other edits and files and had Skype calls for direction. Through the internet, we managed to pool our resources to pull it off.
O&A: Tell us about the company behind the film?
In 2018, my husband Dylan Marriott and myself, both working as freelancers in the film industry, decided to pool together our clients and form a brand. This was when The Edit Room was born. The concept behind The Edit Room is that we team up with industry leaders on a project to project basis and work together to pull off high quality work on a local and international level.
Dylan is truly the heart of The Edit Room and most of our projects are pulled together by his unique eye and creative technical skill. Most of our projects have a similar structure and often the same team players are involved. When you find your A-Team, why mess with it?
Passion projects work differently to our professional career and ideas can spawn from anywhere. Usually, it goes something like this: myself and Dylan will be talking about something that inspired us and start imagining what we could create to be just as inspiring. We’ll sleep on it and, the next day, I’ll wake up and say I’ve got it! My idea will always be vague and unfinished and Dylan will always have the know-how to put that vague idea into a solid story structure. From there, I will work on writing a script with Dylan steering me from the flanks. Then, we plan, film and edit with whoever we can rope into these ideas.
O&A: Why, in your opinion, is it important for SA film makers to enter and win awards such as this?
South Africa is unique when it comes to filmmaking, I always call Durban mini Los Angeles for the reason that we have such a beautiful climate, so many spaces and places are ideal for so many different sets and plot lines. We have plenty of unique talent here in Durban and across South Africa, I truly think it’s time to put South Africa on the map as a global filmmaking hub. Entering international film festivals persistently with good quality work does exactly this and I’m hoping to continue this in the coming years to flaunt our nation’s untapped talent.
O&A: What have been the highlights since the win?
Since we won the Enfoque Unidos International Film Festival, we have been selected to attend a number of international film festivals and have made it to the top three in the Lift Off Sessions Festival held in Los Angeles annually. We will also attend the Jozi Film Festival here locally. We have been very busy on both passion projects as well as new work projects of all different shapes and sizes.
O&A: Have you made any more films since then?
We have since released another short film with a conservation focus entitled Pango. This looks at pangolins, currently the world’s most trafficked mammal and poses the question about their involvement in Covid-19 and remarks on what we hope the human race can learn from these creatures. We actually went to Namibia to film the story about pangolins rescued from the illegal trade.
Pango aired on SABC 2 on 50/50 on Monday, August 17. We are patiently awaiting its release on National Geographic in November. After that, we will release it for free for the public to watch online. We are also in post-production for our third short film of the year which is aimed at promoting safe connectivity amongst friends while maintaining social distancing. We hope the film, The Land Between Lockdown, will uplift people’s spirits and create a sense of togetherness even though we are still apart.
O&A: What is your vision for the future?
We are hoping to move into a space where we can work on more TVC’s and are hoping to grow our business to accommodate productions of all sizes. Something we realised through creating Alone and our most recent production, Pango, and hearing the emotional response to these films is that we are driven by the creation of thought provoking material. We want to bring forward media that evokes emotion and positive change in people’s behaviour for the ultimate goal of a shared kindness towards each other and towards our planet.