Media: students confront reel life

2010-05-03 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S buildings and streets will be movie sets for University of KwaZulu-Natal honours students in media studies as they shoot and direct their own films in the coming weeks.

The syllabus requires each film student to fund and direct a 10-to-15-minute mo­vie with a cast and crew.

The students have been working hard at raising the production finance. The films cost an average of R3 000 each to produce.

“The more money you have, the better your film can be,” said Alex Patrick. “We need to pay for costumes, set design, props, and the big thing is we need to feed the cast and crew.”

Patrick said the film crew — who will fulfill roles like directors of photography and sound and lighting assistants — are classmates who will assist one another free of charge.

“But we have to feed them; they work for the food,” she said.

Shannon Milojkovic, another student director, said raising the funds is proving difficult. “We’ve made most of the money from handouts from people in Pietermaritzburg; they’ve been great.”

Milojkovic is making a Christmas film called A Silent Night, which follows the unlikely friendship of two children; a rich boy from the suburbs and a poor boy from the township.

She will shoot her film in Leigh­ton Street in Pietermaritzburg and at a toy store in Howick. “People have been great in letting us use their spaces,” she said.

Patrick has chosen to shoot a period film called The Good Wife, based on a Katherine Mansfield novel and set in Victorian times.

Fortunately for Patrick, the city has many Victorian buildings and she has chosen one in Prince Alfred Street to use as her set.

Each class member has been given just three days to shoot their film, which will be assessed at the end of May.

While the task promises to provide excitement for the students, Milojkovic said it is a stressful time too. “Your time management has got to be perfect. There are so many people to look after, and until your film is shot, your nerves are shot,” she said.

If you would like to help the UKZN film students, you can contact Alex Patrick at 082 718 1206 or Shannon Milojkovic at 083 596 9636.

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