Director's Statement - Continued (back)
So the original short was born (LUCKY originates from the short of the same name completed in 2005.), it made its noise and pushed out further into a bigger story. I wrote the feature script on spec and once completed, I set out to raise the budget. Fortune played a big part in putting How Town Films and Out of Africa Entertainment together and needless to say, I was pretty lucky. The rest was hard graft, the sheer business of reworking the story and directing the movie to meet the demands of production.
Of course there were compromises. The biggest was shooting in Johannesburg rather than Durban for budget reasons. My producers convinced me Jo'berg could offer as much as Durban and more. And in the end I believe they were right.
The shoot was 26 days. We had an excellent cast and my approach was to ignore the script and open out scenes with as much improvisation as possible. I wanted scenes to feel energized and real and so set them up with big headers and long tails, always keeping an eye on what I wanted. The shooting style matched this. It was all hand-held often walking, sometimes running and invariably falling. My camera-man and designer set up a sense of chaos and looseness that was exhilarating at times.
Once wrapped, we edited for close to six months, mostly because we had no assistants or other support. It was just me and the editor doing a final-cut pro job done in my house as the kids played in the next room. Slow and painstaking, but we both got to know the rushes very well. The last creative stages were done in South Africa with a meticulous sound team who were foley artists one day and mixers the next. And of course the music, a beautiful score written exclusively for African instruments.
The final film is a remix of the short but bigger, more energetic and more painful. It was a big sacrifice for all involved, done on little money with never enough time. And as I say, for all the cast and crew and everyone else, it was a true labour of love.