Stealing time to create a film


Stolen Time is a new South African film currently on our radar. It tells the story of Jody Williams (Faheen Khan) who, having inherited a house from his late political activist uncle, decides to create his own “rainbow nation’ and turns the house into a commune.

His rather damaged housemates include Tashenka (Theresa Luboya-Muanza), a prostitute on drugs, Samir (Katleho Sinivasan), a borderline con-artist who preys on other people and Vusi (Richard Armando Mayes), a serial killer. An event occurs that forces them all to confront who they are.

Director Eric Miyeni says that with this film he aimed to minimise costs without sacrificing the story. “Stolen Time is set in one location over the course of one night. When a member of a commune dies, the remaining residents go into self-quarantine overnight. The audience gets to know who they are and how they deal with the calamity.’

The idea for this story came to Miyeni a while back. “I always knew that the story suited a young cast. When I first had the idea I had Karen Tahor (Scandal) in mind for the role of Tintswalo. However the film did not happen. I then met Teri Luboya-Muanza, who invited me to a play she was acting in and then things seemed possible.’

Miyeni called Lizelle de Klerk who agreed to come on board. “I was also introduced to Faheem Khan and Richard Mayes and it just snowballed from there,’ he says.

The script was heavily workshopped. Says Miyeni: “On the first day I told the actors about the idea I had, we rehearsed that idea and came up with what would happen next. After each day of workshopping I would then go home and write the next part of the script. The script was literally finalised on 23 September and we started shooting on 26 September.’

Miyeni was so committed to the project that he invested his own money. “Stolen Time took up every last penny of my savings. You cannot put a rand value to that.

“Our plan is to take the film to international festivals and we hope to find an international distributor. We will also talk to UIP and other local distributors to see if we can get a theatrical release in South Africa.’

He is confident that the film will do well. “We have a brilliant cast and the story is really amazing. My cinematographer, Carlos Cavalho, was exceptional and we had a tight, hard working team. I am amazed and in awe of everyone involved because making Stolen Time was an exceptional feat of organisation, dedication and hard work.

“As for the tone and style of the piece, I wanted the film to feel like it was happening in real time. I want the audience to leave the cinema feeling like they have lived in that commune with these characters for a night.’

SCREENAFRICA Print Magazine – November 2011 (view here)


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