Cape Town – Hendrik Cronjé (7de Laan) both stars in and directs the new Afrikaans drama, Liewe Lisa which opens in SA cinemas of Friday, 15 February.
The film centres on Daniel (Cronjé) who is confused and concerned about his future. He’s graduating soon and will start his career shortly, but secretly yearns to do something else with his life. In his search for excitement, and insecurity about the future, Daniel loses his way.
When he comes to his senses, he meets Lisa (Elani Dekker), the daughter of an influential businessman. Against his better judgement, Daniel falls in love with Lisa.
However, his past mistakes catch up with him and Daniel sets out in search of a different life and meets Tom (Zane Meas) a simple fisherman. Daniel spends his days fishing and chatting to Tom about life and love. Tom reveals a different side of himself and helps the younger man fulfil his potential.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
Below a Q&A with leading man, director and writer, Hendrik.
What was the inspiration behind Liewe Lisa?
I started writing Liewe Lisa after watching The Graduate (1967). It sparked an idea, but Liewe Lisa turned out to be something totally different than the initial inspiration.
Where did the passion to tell this story come from?
I am walking around with stories in my head and I need to get it out so that I can move on to the next one.
Can you tell me a bit about the journey of bringing the movie to the big screen?
I didn't know where to start. After writing the script I didn't know what to do for a long time then I took the leap of faith and sent the script to Ster-Kinekor (Film Finity). Their response was positive and that made me believe that I can actually do this. I started looking for funding and that fell through a few times. That was hard. I just kept dreaming about directing films and that kept me going.
You are the director, writer and the lead actor – how did you juggle wearing all those hats?
I was so grateful for the opportunity to tell the story that I was working non-stop. Writing is separated from what happens on set so that's great to lie in bed and work on your own time. On set, I'm a director, till we start the countdown for action. I act my part in the scene and after the cut, I'm director again. All that matters is what you capture on camera. It is a hard mind shift, but it makes making films even more exciting.
And what were some of the challenges you faced doing the 3 above roles?
There are so many. The writing is to decide when you are done. With directing you have to compromise a lot, and it really bugs me when I feel my vision isn't portrayed as I intended. As an actor, it's to engage with another actor as an actor and not a director.
Did any experiences from your own life influence the character, Daniel?
Yes. Daniel, feels there needs to be more to life than just school, study, and work. He has an urge to follow his heart and I struggled with that theme for a long time myself. Stick to your responsibilities or follow your dreams. On the flip-side, my own experiences created Tom too. Especially whilst struggling to get the film made I was losing out on other opportunities because of my commitment to one goal.
When you were writing the characters did you have certain actors in mind? How did you go about putting the cast together?
I write with no one in mind. I see the character and then I look for the traits in actors. I will watch whatever I can to see which actors are out there, if I don't find them after auditions through agencies.
What were some of your highlights working on the film?
Seeing the characters I had in my mind in front of me. In their wardrobe, in their world. It was surreal.
What do you hope viewers take away from this movie?
I didn't set out to preach, but maybe it will remind someone of their passions and that you have to be careful because consequences follow you forever. There are no rules, just consequences.
(Photos supplied: Film Finity)