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Robert Rodriguez’s Tips for Production Value

Robert Rodriguez’s Tips for Production Value

Robert Rodriguez. The name behind blockbuster hits such as Desperado, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, and Sin City, it is a name that is synonymous with success in the film industry. But the story of Robert Rodriguez is a rag to riches tale, and a fascinating one at that. At just 23, Rodriguez wrote, directed and produced the now industry famous and record setting cult classic El Mariachi for just US$7000, money that he earned himself from a stint in a research lab as a test subject for cholesterol medication. And lucky for him, his risk paid off. Columbia Pictures loved the finished film so much that they bought the American distribution rights, and El Mariachi went on to bank US$2 million at the box office. How did Rodriguez accomplish such a feat on less than an average Hollywood film’s daily catering budget? As a filmmaker looking to cut costs on your production (without compromising on quality and production value), Rodriguez has three pretty interesting tips for you:   Zoom, Don’t Cut Since time is usually your most expensive and limited resource, Rodriguez suggests that you shoot your medium shot of a scene, then zoom in and get your close ups/additional shots from there. This gives the illusion of a whole new set-up, but cuts the time it takes for an actual reset (provided the images are not juxtaposed immediately next to each other in the edit). The less time spent on new setups of course means there will be more time to assure the highest quality is achieved on each setup, which translates directly into higher production...
RSA and Kenya Sign Co-production Treaty

RSA and Kenya Sign Co-production Treaty

Two years ago at Cannes, South Africa and Kenya signed a MoU and are now working towards taking their film making relationship up yet another notch. During Discop Africa which was held this year in November in the city of Johannesburg, delegations from these two countries were deliberating over how both could reap benefits from a partnership between them and how resources and distribution resources between the two nations could be tapped into. The aim is that both countries can benefit from what the other has to offer. South Africa currently has eight co-production treaties running, but an agreement with Kenya will be the first treaty with another African nation. It’s hoped that this would set in motion greater co-operation between other African nations as well and that it will allow the continent to begin consuming what it produces within itself instead of what comes from abroad. One concern that the delegations addressed was the fear that since South Africa possesses over the continent’s most advanced and developed film industry, that it might create a Big Brother situation, where the more advanced South African industry ends up dominating and controlling their Kenyan counterparts. Terrence Khumalo of the NFVF (National Film and television Foundation) stressed that this would not be the case and that the point is not for the South African industry to impose itself on Kenya, but for South Africa to learn from Kenya instead. Khumalo added that the South African delegation was very taken in by the how successfully Kenya had implemented DTT transitions that opened a plethora of new opportunities for its local content creators, and...
Ozonna – Believe It To See It

Ozonna – Believe It To See It

On the 16th of October 2015, eclectic pop sensation Ozonna Soludo released his brand new EP with music video entitled, Believe It To See It. The 21 year old singer, was born in Nigeria but moved to London at a very young age and now resides in NYC. His music brings together a world of sound, which testifies to his intercontinental cultural background. The music video was directed by sought after American director, Blake Farber who is best known for his work with Beyonce. Believe It To See It, is one of two music videos which Ozonna and Blake decided to shoot in South Africa. Mannequin Pictures produced both videos, whilst sister company Mannequin Films facilitated the projects. Believe It To See It was shot just outside of Johannesburg and made use of a rural African backdrop along with professional Zulu dancers in order to capture Ozonna’s African influences and energy.   With an explosion of instrumentals as well as pop, dance and tribal rhythms this project came to life with the help of Grammy Award-winning producers Scott Jacoby and Jimmy Greco. It is without a doubt that this youngster is taking not only the US but the world by storm and we look forward to collaborating on some more projects with him in the near...
Mannequin Films Goes to AFM!

Mannequin Films Goes to AFM!

Mannequin films will be traveling to AFM this year to promote two of its film in development; House of Darkness and Victoria Falls. House of Darkness is an African horror story written by local talent, Marc Bloom. The story follows a father who accepts a surveying position for the summer and brings his family to a remote part of Africa, unaware of an evil presence. This all American family is weighed down by a series of evil and terrifying phenomena, brought on by the Tokoloshe that haunts their house. The story has hair-raising potential and is just awaiting the right investor to turn it into the Hollywood horror it is meant to be. Victoria Falls is a Nicholl Fellowship award winning screenplay, which has been honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The story is set during the 2001 Zimbabwean elections. With the country on the verge of civil war and facing possible white genocide, we follow a black farmhand who was raised in the white African world, who sets out on a journey of struggle, loss and hardship as his loyalties are ultimately tested.With the heads of some of the world’s most esteemed production houses attending festival and many international companies already aware of this remarkable screenplay, there is no doubt that Victoria Falls might capture the attention of potential investors.   Visit the AFM webpage at: http://americanfilmmarket.com/about-afm/   Mannequin’s suite details are as follows: The Zuma Conference room, Loews Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA...
Financial Incentives to Filming in South Africa

Financial Incentives to Filming in South Africa

The South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offers various incentives to filmmakers if their films meet certain requirements. There is the Foreign Film- and Television Production Incentive, which aims at bringing large scale film- and television productions with large crews and budgets to South Africa. The goal of this incentive is to contribute to South Africa’s economic development, film industry and international profile and visibility. The benefit of this incentive is the uncapped, 20% rebate of Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) that it offers. Productions that have a QSAPE of at least R12 million can qualify for this incentive, on the condition that the production is owned by a foreign entity and that a minimum of 50% of principle photography is completed in South Africa over a total period of at least four weeks. There is also the South African Film and Television Co Production Incentive, which provides financial support for South African production companies and official treaty countries, which include Germany, UK, Italy, France, Canada and Australia. This incentive offers a rebate of 35% on a QSAPE on the first 6 million Rand spent and then drops to 25% on the remainder of the QSAPE spent thereafter. In order to be eligible, the total production budget must be at least R2.5 million. Also, at least 50% of principle photography must take place in South Africa for a minimum of two weeks in total. Eligible formats are: feature films, telemovies, television drama series, documentaries, animation and short form animations. An applicant must be a Special Purpose Corporate Vehicle (SPCV) incorporated in the Republic of South Africa...
South Africa’s Deserts: Diverse and Beautiful

South Africa’s Deserts: Diverse and Beautiful

Another reason to shoot a film in South Africa is our marvellously diverse natural environments. Deserts, rainforests, savannah’s, grasslands, prairies, beaches, mountain ranges, canyons, picturesque valleys… whatever you need for your film, South Africa is bound to have it. Our desert biomes vary extensively in their appearance. We have three unique desert regions with their own distinct looks, flora and fauna:   The Great Karoo: The Great Karoo is a vast semi-desert dotted with iconic flat hills and windpumps, situated in the west of South Africa, mostly within the Northern Cape province. An arid region with distinct rocky, shrub covered plains and small hills the Karoo can easily double for arid overseas environments like the New Mexico desert. Within the western parts of the Great Karoo lies the famous Namaqualand, which becomes covered in breathtaking fields of flowers during the spring months.   The Kalahari: The Kalahari is famous for its red colour and mix of sandy plains and arid savannahs littered with dead trees and animal skeletons. The Kalahari lies in South Africa’s Northern Cape province and crosses the borders with Namibia and Botswana. The red colour makes for magnificent sunset photography.   The Richtersveld: The Richtersveld lies in the north westernmost parts of South Africa and spans across the border into the south of Namibia. The Richtersveld has its own very unique eco system, with various species of desert flora found nowhere else in the world. A mountainous, rocky area dotted with “half-mens” and quiver trees, the Richtersveld resemble places such as the Mojave desert in the USA and parts of the Moroccan...