DIRECTOR SPEAK: Jaco Bouwer

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Jaco Bouwer

From theatre to film. Waterfront director Jaco Bouwer chats to Screen Africa

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOU AS A DIRECTOR? 

I studied theatre and have been a theatre designer/director working in various fields, from drama to opera to more performance-based work. In making theatre, I’m a believer in strong conceptual ideas and I think this aspect spills over into my work in film too.

DESCRIBE THE MOMENT, IF THERE IS ONE, WHEN YOU KNEW YOU WANTED TO BECOME A DIRECTOR? 

I think directing rather found me; I experience it more like an addiction.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? 

Deadlines. Coffee. Walking. People-watching.

DO YOU HAVE ANY LOCAL MENTORS? 

Local writers Stacy Hardy and Willem Anker.

TOP THREE FAVOURITE DIRECTORS? WHY THEM? 

  • Andrea Arnold: for her work with non-actors and her handheld documentary-like approach.
  • Michael Haneke: unflinching films capturing and portraying “reality.”
  • Claire Denis: taking on controversial subject matter in her open-ended, poetical works.

WHICH PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN? 

I’m in pre-production for a short film and busy developing a new feature film project in collaboration with a writer.

WHAT KIND OF CONTENT DO YOU ENJOY CREATING? 

Work that blurs lines between fiction and reality. Metanarrative documentary film essays.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CAREER CHALLENGE TO DATE? 

The Waterfront TV series, currently on kykNET and Showmax. Capturing an average of 14 pages per day was a relentless project.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? 

In theatre, there are many but feel I’m relatively new to film and only starting to explore possibilities and narratives in this medium.

IF YOU COULD PRODUCE AN AFRICAN VERSION OF A HOLLYWOOD CLASSIC, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Pretty Woman! No, I’m not a fan of remakes. There are enough original local stories that need to be told.

TOP THREE FAVOURITE FILMS OF ALL TIME? 

The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky; White Material by Clare Denis; Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOOT LOCATION? 

An African metropolis.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A BIOPIC? 

Gary Oldman

IF YOU WEREN’T A FILMMAKER, YOU WOULD BE…? 

An architect.

 

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Chanelle Ellaya
Chanelle Ellaya is the editor of Screen Africa. She completed her BA Journalism degree at the University of Johannesburg in 2011. While writing is her passion, she has a keen interest in the media in various capacities. Chanelle is an avid social media networker and a firm believer in the power of social and online networking. Between writing and tweeting, she finds time to feed her love for live music.

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