Woodwind in competition at Cape Town International Film Festival
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Mon, 04 Sep 2017 10:58

South African director Fin Manjoo’s debut feature film, Woodwind has been selected in the official competition at the 10th Cape Town International Film Festival.

This year the festival moved from the Cape Winelands to Cape Town’s Waterfront and will also boast an international film market.

Woodwind is nominated for the Grand Prix Best Film, Best Director, Best Debut Film, as well as Best South African Film and is also in contention for other cast and crew awards, to be determined by an international jury.

Woodwind’s international cast and crew hail from five continents. The drama about a music composer, Bonifaz who goes to India to solve a mystery, stars Argentine actor Leandro Taub, who’s also starring in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Endless Poetry (Poesia sin Fin) which is currently released across the United States and Europe. An emotional Taub dubbed Woodwind his best performance.

The lead actor
“My entire life has been preparing me for acting in Woodwind and be Bonifaz. I am very happy to say today that I’ve met the Bonifaz in me. This film made me grow,” added Taub.

After the World Premiere in Cape Town, Woodwind is expected to play in cinemas around the world at film festivals in a circuit running until around July 2018. Thereafter the usual cinema, television, DVD/Bluray and video rental distribution channels will follow.

Writer-director Fin Manjoo graduated with an Honours Degree in Film from the University of Cape Town in 2003. He lived in many countries, expanding and maturing his understanding of the world, before jumping straight into a story project. The intention was to create deep, thought-provoking films.

The director
“Cinema always exhibited the potential for viewers to be involved beyond light entertainment. With Woodwind our mind’s potential is far stronger than what filmmakers have been able to tap into, or are even aware of. My intention was to push these boundaries using age-old techniques that achieve this with sound (music) and poetry with motion pictures,” said Manjoo.

The cinematographer
Woodwind’s Swiss cinematographer Nicolas Joray‘s body of work spans over four decades. He’s worked with Francesco Rosi and Pasqualino de Santis (Death in Venice), and was the DOP on many films such as The Yellow Star, Bye Bye Berlusconi and Baltic Storm. Having shot around the world, including tough environments such as Chernobyl and with extensive experience in Africa, Joray proved to be a strong choice to work under testing conditions in the Himalayas.

“I loved the room for multiple interpretation between the lines. The storyline itself has a simple structure, but in a more metaphysical direction based on pure existentialism. The searching of Bonifaz really opened a philosophical dimension,” said Joray.

The music
In a film about a young composer’s personal and musical journey, Austrian composer Stefan Fraunberger was the choice due to his art with unconventional instruments such as dulcimers or baroque church organs. In his own words his music “reshapes the liminal conditions of culture & perception, while evoking images of sonic ambiguity.” His compositions mutate beyond the realm, “capturing otherworldly fragments.”

Fraunberger has developed his music from the Vienna music schools to Romania, Syria (before the war), Yemen, Central Asia, Iran, London, Belgium, Turkey, Pakistan and India. With Woodwind telling us how the power of natural sound transforms our sense of reality, it was essential for Fraunberger to not only compose music, but also design the psychological soundscapes in Bonifaz’s world.

The actresses
American actress, Jasmin Jandreau, won Best Actress at the 2013 Breckenridge International Film Festival and the 2014 Texas Attic Film Festival in Austin, for the film The Trail. Having studied singing, dance, ballet and acting, Jandreau has acted in a number of features in Europe and America, and will star in the new screen adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights as Catherine Earnshaw. In Woodwind Jandreau plays Agna, the woman who inspires Bonifaz to make his first big leap to travel to India.

Germany based actress, Andrea Christina Furrer, also hails from a ballet, singing and drama background, boasting dozens of performances from theatre to television in Europe. She played Maria in the theatre version of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Offret (Sacrifice), where she won the Ingmar Bergman Scholarship. Next she will be the lead character in Tragači (2017). Now in Woodwind she plays Bonifaz’s other half, Alina.

Produced by Fin Pictures, other than the Asian, European and American crew, there were many key members from South Africa. Local member Marcel Duvenage was the sound designer. In the acting department there’s Gopala Davies, known for his performances in SA television series and theatre. Then there’s Cape Town musician Naresh Chauhan (the son of Jamnadas Chauhan) who performed the sitar and tabla.

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