Prestigious award for Toti producer

2015-08-05 06:00
Photo: supplied
World-renowned film producer from Amanzimtoti, Richard Green, recently won the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry.

Photo: supplied World-renowned film producer from Amanzimtoti, Richard Green, recently won the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry.

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WORLD-RENOWNED film producer from Amanzimtoti, Richard Green, recently won the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Lifetime Achievement Award for his c ontribution to the film industry. Green has been in the industry for 40 years and is known in South Africa as the producer of Spud, starring John Cleese.

“I am a producer, I breathe it, I live it. My passion drives me, money­ has never driven me,” Green said.

His passion for films started as a young boy, “selling ice creams and cigarettes on a tray in a cinema in the Strand. I always had to wait until the titles came up and I said to myself that one day I will carry one of those titles”.

He says there is nothing more rewarding than when you walk onto set on the first day of a shoot. “You look around and 200 people are there because of you. Wagons­, cowboys and horses and you say ‘roll camera’.

“The other beauty of the game is that you never know where you will work next, Ouagadougou, Kosovo­ or maybe Kuala Lumpur.”

While he loves the Cannes Film Festival, his biggest success was at the Berlin International Film Festival where he was awarded the Crystal Bear for The Wooden Camera. His film Chicken Biznis earned him the Grand Prix in Montreal and best film at the All African Film Awards. He has also produced films in Poland and London, but says his most memorable moments have been the ability to travel with his wife, Debbie. They have been married 30 years and have four children. “It is probably the longest-lasting successful marriage in the film industry. It is a hard push, six days a week and you never see your family,” said Green.

For this reason, Green took up the position as head of AFDA Film School three years ago. The first group of students are graduating at the end of the year. Showing his ability to pass on knowledge, his students won Best Student Film at the filmmaking awards.

Green has produced films in many countries. He recently shot Krakatoa, which is about the “biggest bang” in history­, recreating scenes from Indonesia­ on the Toti beach front.

He says being a line producer suits him at the moment. “To make films for other people and they pay me, but then you are a hired hand.”

One such interesting account was when a producer phoned him and asked if he could assist with a film in Johannesburg, which was in trouble. “They said they would need me to be on set in Soweto at 6.30am the next morning. I did not even know the name of the film and I was handed a mega phone, a radio and a script marked ‘project X’ and was told to start filming. The first scene was shooting a dead pig through a shack. The film was District 9.”

His latest venture is a film called Coded which will be launched on new media platforms.

“A Toti company, Volt, owned by John and Ashley­ Lewis, helped me shoot the promo for the production, a science fiction film to be shot in Durban. The film is one of the first in the world and certainly in South Africa, to be using binaural sound, which means virtual reality 3D sound. “Using headphones to get the effect of the binaural sound and because it is so immersive, one can watch it on any screen. It will therefore be launched via new media platforms, rather than theatre.”

On the night of this chat, Green got a call from a studio in Amsterdam. He turned it down because his family comes first he said.

There is nothing more rewarding than when you walk onto set on the first day of a shoot. You look around and 200 people are there because of you. Wagons­, cowboys and horses and you say ‘roll camera’

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