A neo-western about an older brother’s struggle to overcome powerlessness in a South African Township. His relentless quest to confront the kingpin of the ghetto intertwines with his little brother’s urge to follow him, unraveling this story of endemic violence, revenge, and injustice.
On Friday 18 October, I was privileged enough to attend the premiere of Bullet For Bafazane, a Western set in a township, produced by some of UCT’s finest film students.
Walking into The Labia, there was an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation as friends, family members and fans gathered outside the entrance, eagerly waiting to be let inside. Dressed in our fanciest cocktail outfits, we walked into the theatre to pick our seats with a sense of pride. Out of the five final year UCT films, Bullet For Bafazane was the first to be shown. As soon as the title popped up onto the screen, the crowd erupted into applause, cheers and whistles, and we were not disappointed by the outcome of the movie.
To be completely honest, I am not the biggest fan of films set in South Africa. However, the storyline was gripping (thank you Candice Land for your beautiful script writing) and hearing about what it takes to put together something like this made me appreciate all the details that were thrown in (thank you Megan Bense for your production design).
The film was funded by various contributors who found out about Bullet For Bafazane through Indie Gogo. Have a look at the fundraising campaign by clicking here.
After watching the film, I thought I’d get a little bit of background information from Megan Bense (the production designer) and Candice Land (the script writer).
What exactly does a production designer do? Is it really as fun as I’m imagining it to be?
Megan: So a production designer or PD’s role is to create what you see on the screen: the colour schemes, the props, wardrobe and setting all need to work together to create a visually appealing space that corresponds to the director’s vision of the film!
Since you filmed this movie in a township, were there any scary moments where you genuinely feared for your life?
Megan: Yes! I got chased by a dog and landed up balancing on the lid of a very unstable dustbin and being stuck in the graveyard until 8 at night was very scary.
What was it like working alongside the actors? Did they have any diva moments?
Megan: The actors were brilliantly authentic. We did a method of street casting where you get actors who are from the communities.This helped our film’s authenticity but at the same time it was quite challenging to communicate our vision to them because it was such a new concept!
What does the future hold for Bullet For Bafazane?
Megan: The future for Bullet is bright I hope. We are aiming for some international festivals so we’ll hold thumbs and hope it goes where it deserves to.
I also got some feedback from the wonderfully talented Candice Land, who wrote the script for the film:
You were given the concept “a western in a township”, so other than that, what inspired your script?
Candi: I watched a lot of Western movies to find common narrative threads and motive for action i.e. what evoked a reaction in the characters. I then tried to apply it to a South African context. I thought about different situations and which evoked stronger emotions. From there I brainstormed a rough idea and bounced ideas off with Dylan (director and writer). He helped chisel and spark ideas.
Did you find it difficult writing about something as deep as crime/violence in South Africa?
Candi: No. The only difficult part was considering how the specific culture would talk and I’m not always comfortable writing horrific language. I feel like I’m trying to be something that I’m not. But the goal of a screen writer should be to evoke an emotion from the audience – no matter what the emotion is. So one gets used to digging deep and feeling for themselves.
What sort of things do you usually enjoy writing about, and what kinds of scripts can we expect to see from you in the future?
Candi: Haha. I love to write about things that are an escape from my reality. Let that be complete fantasy with dragons and fairies or something more simple like a humble man in Notting Hill (intentional reference to the film). My current project is a new fantasy/sci-fi series about a tribe of gypsies that lead a rebellion against a controlling empire.
Director: Dylan Bosman
Cinematographer: Daniel Walsh
Producer: Thaakirah Behardien
Editor: Themba Mfebe