Mzansi Magic and Sukuma Media recently shot a 50-minute film called 48 Hours for release on DVD and on pay-TV broadcaster M-Net’s Mzansi Magic channel.
Mr B wrote and directed the film. “When I presented the treatment of the film to Mzansi Magic they loved the story. They gave me two months to come up with the first draft of the script and then later gave me production approval.’
The story for 48 Hours stems from a conversation between Mr B and his wife. “We had attended the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) 2010 and my wife suggested an idea for a story that was fast paced and had a countdown. Initially she called it Last Hour but after a little research I noticed that there were a number of films with the same title. I discarded the title and started to write the story. I contacted a doctor friend of mine in the UK who conducted research to find me the perfect ailment to weave into my story – he suggested Gullain Barre Syndrome. From there I started building the story and exploring the dark nature of the human psyche.’
The film follows a 48-hour period of a man who lives the perfect life but is then diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome – a deadly muscle disorder that results in acute paralysis. Mr B comments: “This sets up a very tense countdown where there is a flicker of hope that the disease can be cured and we see what lengths he will go to overcome this deadline. 48 Hours deals with his brother, wife and family and the deep psychological issues that are involved.’
The budget of the film is R100 000 and although it is tight, Mr B says: “It still makes it worthwhile to shoot a film. We have interest from two distributors and are weighing in on more lucrative offers.
“In the film we went for a more conventional style of direction. The scenes are dialogue and character driven.
“Because the words are very important we’ve kept away from too much camera movement. We want to emphasise the emotional journey of each character and how they react to a “sticky situation’. The style is slow paced at the beginning with static shots. It gradually becomes faster paced as the tension mounts and more camera movement is used.’
The film was shot in 12 days in and around Johannesburg. “We had some difficulty finding some of the locations, especially the medical centre with a free operating theatre. The other location — the park — was tricky as the only suitable park had a location fee of R7 000 which we could not afford. So we shot in the back garden of one our other locations. The crew was supportive and passionate about the project and included many people that I have worked with before,’ notes Mr B.
He says that the highlight was the great improvisation from the actors. “This added so much flavour to the film. I prefer an actor who can replace dialogue with action. The tension comes from our lead characters and their emotional rollercoaster ride. Our lead actor, Karabo Lance, really pulled it off.’