Robin Wilter Tribute


A veteran of the film, TV and events lighting industry, Robin Wilter, passed away early on Sunday morning 7 February after a battle with cancer. Screen Africa was very saddened by the news and we would like to pass on our condolences to his wife Carol and children Katie and Oliver as well as everyone at Southern Lighting.

Angela van Schalkwyk remembers that when they first launched a trade magazine for the film and television industry, then called Southern Screen and Stage (later to change its name to Screen Africa), that Robin and his partner John Harrison were one of the first to support the new publication by placing a Southern Lighting advertisement. “We always remembered that gesture of support,’ says Angela.

In July 2007, Screen Africa ran a feature on four of the veterans of the South African film and television industry.  Robin was one of them and here we quote him in his own words about his life in the lighting sector of the industry.

“My introduction to the South African film industry was in 1969 with Creatures the World Forgot, a Hammer Film Production. At the end of this film, I sold my car and set off for the UK to seek my fortune. I scoured London for a lighting company I might bring back to South Africa. Vic Froud of On The Spot (OTS) was interested and in 1970 we launched in South Africa.

A four year struggle ensued as few films were made at that time. Then David Millin gave me my Ôbig chance with The Voortrekkers. Karat Films and OTS subsequently had a prolific run with films directed by Jurgan Goslar and various German cameramen. Sadly we lost our electrician, Garth Robinson, at that time in a fatal accident.

It was time to expand and Gordon Anderson became a partner, and we launched The Lamphouse. Cal Morris also joined us. I continued to gaffer on many local and overseas feature films. Meantime, I was becoming better known, and also owned the lights. My responsibility was growing.

My next milestone was as gaffer on the famous movie Wild Geese, shot in Tshipise. I was now working with big names such as Richard Harris and Roger Moore.

After Wild Geese, Cal (Morris) and I bought out the opposition, Southern Film Services (SFS). We were extremely busy by now and the advent of television increased our scope. I revelled in working with people like Alex Thompson BSC and other luminaries.

In 1980, Cal and I separated, with Cal keeping The Lamphouse and I kept SFS/ OTS, which was subsequently rebranded as Southern Lighting, in partnership with John Harrison. John’s forte was admin, and I relished being on location.

Bill Faure’s Shaka Zulu was a memorable production; it was a very privileged year of my life. In this time, we also contracted to service Cannon Films in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The work was rolling in.

Today Southern is lighting big popular TV Shows like How to be a Millionaire, Big Brother and other blockbusters. Lighting sporting events has also become one of my passions.

On the home front, my wife Carolyn has been a superb helpmate and homemaker, and our two children, Katie and Oliver, have married and given us grandchildren. I am proud of all the gaffers we have trained and nurtured, amongst whom is my son Oliver.

To the South African film and TV industry –  thanks.’

Funeral service will be held at:
8 Hope Road
Mountain View

THURSDAY, 11 February at 2pm
Parking will be available at no.10 & 12 Hope Road

The service will be followed by a celebration of Robin’s life.


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