SA women make their mark in internationally acclaimed short Escala

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Escala is a carefully-crafted US-made short film which boasts a 100% female crew and has been officially selected for six international film festivals since its world premiere in July last year.

Three South African women have been instrumental in the creation of Escala: editor Eileen de Klerk; co-writer Tammy-Anne Fortuin; and sound designer and music editor Reanne de Klerk. Escala is a multi-award-winning short film featuring SA actor Nick Boraine.

Last week, Escala was announced as an official finalist for the Utah Film Festival which means that it is a nominee in at least one award category. Categories were announced on Saturday, 9 March, and the film has nominees in two categories: Best Score (Miriam Mayer) and Best Editing (Eileen de Klerk). The festival awards will take place in Utah on 6 April and the team will be attending the festival.

Escala has been screened to rousing public and critical acclaim at five leading industry showcases thus far. It had its world-wide premiere at the LA Shorts International Film Festival in July last year which ranks among the most prestigious and largest international short film festivals in the world.

In September it was screened at the Tops Shorts International Film Festival. At the festival, the film walked away with three accolades: Eileen de Klerk was winner of the award for Best Editing; Reanne de Klerk won Honorable Mention for sound design. Winning the Inspiring Woman in a Film category was Jy Prishkulnik, who played Amalia in the film.

The year wrapped up in California with an official entry to the Culver City Film Festival in December. So far this year, Escala was screened at the World-Wide Women’s Film Festival in February in Arizona as part of the official selection. The film returned to Arizona to be screened at the Sedona International Film Festival last month. Next up is the Utah Film Festival scheduled for early April.

Escala tells the story of Amalia, a teenage violinist torn between tolerating the inappropriate advances from her music instructor and winning the competition of a lifetime to change the future for her and her father. It features South Africa’s Nick Boraine as Dereck; James C Burns as Gustav and Jy Prishkulnik as Amalia.

“The film is only 16 minutes long – so every frame, every gesture, every nuance counts. Oftentimes it is more of a challenge and far more intense to communicate a story in a few minutes, rather than the more typical format of a full-length movie or series,” considers editor Eileen de Klerk.

“Being part of this amazing production has been the most astonishing journey,” “The critical acclaim has been extraordinary, hugely affirming and quite unexpected,” she adds.

Reanne de Klerk concurs. “For us as South Africans working really hard to develop careers in the hugely competitive American film market, we are especially chuffed to have our film, and in particular our individual contributions to the film, being so affirmed by the global film industry.”

“It is reassuring that South Africans – and in particular South African women – can find their place in the global marketplace. Our experience and journey in South Africa have set us up to allow us to do what we love with like-minded creatives who have amazing skills, tenacity, vision and commitment to make great work.”

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