Home movie factory opens in Jo’burg

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SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: The Home Movie Factory was launched at MOAD in Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct on 30 August, where it will be open to aspiring filmmakers free of charge from 1 September to 27 October.

The unique interactive exhibition, which has opened in Paris, New York and Rotterdam, forms part of the France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013 and was developed by award-winning French director Michel Gondry, inspired by his 2008 film Be Kind Rewind.

Home Movie Factory Association Manager Clementine Charlemaine said there are a few things potential visitors should know: “It is the experience that is important, not the results – you’ll have so much fun it won’t matter what the result is anyway. And the purpose is to bring people from different backgrounds together as a community.’

The free exhibit is aimed at groups of up to 15 people, and anyone from age six upwards with an interest in filmmaking is allowed. Project manager and creative director Arya Lalloo explained that groups get three hours in which to conceptualise, plan and shoot their movie on a Sony CX560 “handycam’, before it is screened for them at The Bioscope.

The planning is done according to a special formula and spread sheet created by Gondry. The fun, interactive sets include a bedroom, kitchen and sitting room, a cafe, a street hairsalon, a township scene and a taxi. In some scenes backdrops can be changed from day to night or from city to country scene with the pull of a switch. Lalloo noted that the Factory was already fully booked for its first weekend.

Co-owner of The Bioscope Independent Cinema Russell Grant explained that the story began in early 2011 when he and co-owner Darryl Els started having a conversation with Nicolas Doyard from the French Institute in South Africa (IFAS), who dreamed of bringing the Home Movie Factory to South Africa. “That was followed by a nerve-wracking meeting with Michel Gondry in Cannes, before he agreed that we could bring the factory here,’ said Grant.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa is one of the key funders of the exhibition. NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi noted that it was a privilege for the NFVF to be a part of the project and the development of the film industry. “It’s exciting because it’s a beginning towards a new future platform for young, aspiring filmmakers to have a first shot at making their own films, and a step towards telling their own stories.’

General Commissioner of the France South Africa seasons for France, Laurent Clavel, added: “We hope in the next two months as many schools, non-profit organisations, aspiring filmmakers and journalists as possible come here to experience the making of a movie from A to Z, which is what this is really about.’

He noted that he couldn’t belief the sets had been put together in only a months’ time and thanked the “fantastic team’ responsible for it.

Doyard concluded: “The Home Movie Factory is a real proof of my love for our city Johannesburg, its inhabitants , their way of life and their environment. I’ve been living here for four years and I’ve always been proud of being a Jo’burger. The Home Movie Factory was a dream, and it has now become a reality.’

Set dressing was done by The Art Department and set construction by Setbuild under set construction manager Brendan Copestake.

Bookings are available online at www.facebook.com/thehomemoviefactory

Report by Linda Loubser

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