AFDA, the major Gauteng-based film and television learning academy, has been active lately with shoots in the Johannesburg area.

Happiness on location in the Vaal
Using traditional motion picture film equipment and super 16mm film stock, an experimental film was shot recently and In Focus spoke to co-producer Nkosinathi Skaka.

"This is a story of a guy who loses his wedding ring and thus his wife leaves him because she thinks that he lost it while he was cheating on her. He realises that she represents his true happiness and the only way he can get her back is to find the ring. He therefore embarks on a journey, going through different time eras, in his quest to try and find the ring.

"The production is titled Happiness, and my co producer is Pontsho Tshabalala. The film, which was shot between 7 and 19 April, was shot in Orange Grove, Braamfontein and the Vaal.

"We had approximately 40 crew members on our production and we used a camera and lights from AFDA. The film was shot on Super 16mm, as it was essential that we understood the techniques of shooting on film as opposed to video tape. The processing took place at the Film Lab and the Telecine transfers took place at the Video Lab.

"The film stars Charles Marriott with Meike Stapelberg, Jay Anstey and Nomathamsanqa Pellem as supporting actors. The Director is Delon Bakke and the Cinematographer is Mthuthuzeli Edison Mchunu.

"We received assistance from the Gauteng Film Commission, who then also referred us to the JMPD (Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department) as we needed their permission and assistance for a road closure we required in Braamfontein.

"We were very happy shooting in and around Johannesburg, especially in Braamfontein, where we received a lot of assistance from Hotel Devonshire who allowed us to use their premises free of charge.  We were also assisted by the Braamfontein Management District, who aided us in securing locations and alleys in their area.

"South Point property management allowed us to use one of their buildings in Braamfontein, calledMelridge.  We also shot a few scenes at the Vaal, where we were warmly received and the community was more than happy to help us.  

"We had a lot of assistance from the JMPD, who were on our set for the entire duration of the street blockade shoot, and so we are very grateful for their help. We would also like to thank the staff and management of Orion Hotel Devonshire as well as Lebogang Molapo of the Braamfontein Improvement District and Dave Bakker for supplying us with the 1950's classic cars," concludes Skaka.

Happiness will be screened at the AFDA mini festival on the 13th June 2008, alongside 14 other 3rd year experimental films.