Thursday, 18 October 2007

Lesbian Suitcases, Welding Visors and Headless Cats

It seems like the Triomf production crew can finally take off their wellies and get some shooting done. It was also discovered that it is not beneath Triomf's director, Michael Raeburn, to get down on his hands and knees to coax a wayward actor (a dog who needed to be more vicious). This report came in from Alex Pearse late last night:

After three weeks of relentless rain, Jo'burg finally came aglow with the kind of scorching summer day it is famous for. Needless to say, the cast and crew of Triomf were more than relieved that the weather lottery looked to be ending and that the important job at hand could continue.

So it was smiles all round at 6:30, the damp atmosphere at breakfast having been replaced with some kind of enthusiasm (well, as much as is possible at that hour.)

It was good that spirits were high, such was the scale of the task at hand. With eight scenes to shoot and a host of actors and extras to coordinate, Day 20 promised to be one of the biggest yet. Just a quick glance at the props list - lesbian suitcases, cat without a head and Lambert's welding visor - tells its own story.

Recreating early nineties South Africa is a deceptively challenging task because unlike a period drama where everything needs to be recreated and the lines between what is real and what is not are very clear, the recent past and the present blur into each other, yet also include a number of very stark differences.

Negotiating this challenge has been a major task for Triomf's Art Department and today proved to be their day in more than one way: AWB campaigners on horseback, rag and bone men, a couple moving house - all meant wardrobe and props standby were working off their feet. It all came together nicely though, under Michael Raeburn`s fastidious eye, DOP Jamie Ramsay brought it all to life.

It wasn't all work-work though - the day had its lighter moments too. In particular, the crew's attempts to get Producer Natalie Stange's dog (playing the role of obnoxious neighbor Beer Guts' pet) to shake off its docile demeanor and play vicious (or at least bark), was something to behold. Not one to let his troops do all the hard work, Director Michael Raeburn got down on his own haunches and tried to coax an award winning performance out of the beast. (Notice the dog's nose sticking menacingly through the bars in between Michael's legs.)


With a glorious highveld sunset telling us the lighting department was about to stand down, First AD Grant Nale called it a day. With the shadows getting longer by the minute, we wrapped and packed, with cold beer, good wine and something other than the set's staples of chicken and rice on everyone's minds!

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