South Africa’s R1-million movie

20 September 2007

Working together again after their comedy Crazy Monkey presents Straight Outta Benoni, South African film makers Brendan Jack, Thomas Ferreira and Ronnie Apteker have put together Footskating 101, which follows the adventures of Vince, a poor miner’s son, as he perfects the art of “footskating”.

The Footskating website points out that the producers had to make the movie on a budget of R1-million – an amount that would normally go into producing a decent 30-second television advertisement.

To conserve costs, the producers shot the entire movie using untested technology – a high-definition camera that uses memory cards instead of film, the footage of which they then downloaded onto a laptop – and an external memory drive for immediate viewing on set.

“And when we say set, we mean on the side of the road, or in someone’s house who had generously let us shoot for free, or in our production van that doubled as a stunt vehicle,” the producers say on their website.

“And having the footage readily available meant that we could go straight from shooting to editing. Then catch a few hours sleep, and then repeat the process until the shooting was complete.”

Editing was done using easily available video editing tools on an Apple Macintosh computer in a friend’s flat, while actors helped out with holding lights on set and moving equipment.

“You make a film on a million rand by pre-planning, asking favours, sweating, sometimes shooting from the hip . and when all else fails, by praying.”

Skateboarding without a skateboard

The movie follows the adventures of Vince, a poor miner’s son, as he sets out to save his small town from exploding and his family home from the government – all by inventing the new extreme sport of footskating.

The website punts the sport, described as skateboarding for those who can’t really afford a skateboard, as the only sport that Chuck Norris will “never be the best in the world at”.

The odds are stacked against Vince, as he has to find and train a team in a sport that no one has attempted before, go against his father’s wishes for him to work in the mine, overcome his fear of teams, contend with the town bullies “and maybe even find a girlfriend in the process”.

With time running out for him, his family and his town, and with the high-profile skateboarding finals in Johannesburg looming, Vince has one last shot to find his place in the world and reveal his dream for all to see.

SAinfo reporter

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