Classic horror film wins Best Film at the Cape Town 48-Hour Film Project

A classic, black-and-white, Hitchcock-style horror film centring on a group of friends at a book club and set in the South African National Library won Best Film at the Cape Town 48-Hour Film Project this year.

Director Bauke Brouwer attributed the win to the Narrative Truth team which stayed true to their initial vision, as well as to the ensemble of professional actors and sound design team that pulled it all together.

“I wanted to make a black-and-white sort of Hitchcock kind of film, so the fact that we drew horror worked well with that. You just have to find your vision and your approach and stick to it. That’s the sales tool you use to get your team on board,” explains Brouwer.

“On the Friday night the writer and I worked on the concept of the film, then we called in the actors and we said: this is the story. And they created their own characters and their own motivations,” he continued. “I think it was only really right at the end when I saw the sound design, that I realised that we had a very classic horror film … and I realised we had done something quite good.”

The 48-Hour Film Project is the biggest international short film competition. It demands that teams write, direct, and produce a four to seven minute short film in 48 hours. The competition takes place in 140 cities throughout the world, and the winners in each city meet in Atlanta for Filmapalooza, where the top ten films are chosen for screening at Cannes Film Festival Short Corner.

This year at the Cape Town event, which was organised by Bench Films, 31 films competed for the awards. As well as clinching best film, Bookclub also claimed awards for Best Make-up, Best Costume, Best Original Score, Best Sound Design, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Director and the Audience Award.

Brouwer says sound preparation was key to the success of the film. “There are a lot of meetings you have with your team beforehand so that come shoot day it just happens very organically based on what you’ve chatted about in the weeks previously. That preparation is so key.”

He says he hopes the award will lead to future collaborations and more films. “Like every other filmmaker I would like to make a feature. Competitions like this allow you to develop relationships and build up some respect in the industry.”

Also featuring in the awards list, was Soft Landings, a family orientated picture that cast a young boy in a supporting actor role. Soft Landings won Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Vfx and Motion Graphics, Best Writing, Runner-Up in the Audience Awards and Runner-Up in Best Film.

“The best part was realising how much you could film in such a short space of time,” says Linsen Loots, who co-directed Soft Landings with Dewet van Rooyen. “There is that surprise and almost wonder after the two days when you see just what you’ve pulled off and how awesome it’s turned out.”

Fantasy film Renascence scooped second Runner Up in the Best Film category, Best Production Design and Best Actor (female) in a Leading Role. Says Bianca Simone Mannie, who claimed the Best Actor Award: “You can get a lot done in 48 hours, more than you thought you were capable of. You have more capacity than you think you have and you are able to confront your fear. There is no time to be afraid or do it badly.”

“In the process, you realise that you are created to express stories, and it’s a natural gift and when you actually go ahead knowing that, it all gets done.”