Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Interview with filmmaker Willem Greeff

The Impervious Soul will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
From early childhood, I became extremely obsessed with films. My parents were kind enough to allow me to watch (basically) any type of film to emerge myself into. Composition, scoring, and foley started to fascinate me (even though I couldn’t explain it at the time). In my teenage years, I started researching (and experimenting with) each component of film making. After graduating from high school, a friend (in Johannesburg, South Africa) introduced me to the practical side of the industry, and that’s how I got my first role in front of the camera. While being on set I memorized (stole;->) ideas/methods of vital components to make my own films even more scintillating to behold! I’m obsessed about telling my own stories and I want to give unique flares to the imagination! 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
The first time I watched Good Fellas by Martin Scorsese I was blown away by the way he portrays living the lavish lives of gangsters, the thrills of flashy cars, and big houses! Coming from a small town I wondered where those lavish gangsters were, so I started to create those characters and imagining how they would live and operate, not in big cities, but with the backdrop of a small town. The characters (Gordon Conway and Collin Andrews) wanted to make something of their lives, and from there the story just flowed into an 80-page script…and then 100 pages! Sadly, I had to cut back the story to be able to make the full feature film. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
One of the scenes involved fighting in a field at night on the side of a busy road in the town, and many passer-by’s were under the impression that it was a real fight and they called the police to investigate us! Luckily (typical small town) the police knew us and immediately realized what we were busy with! 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
We have three screenplays written and ready to go; the first one is called “Uncut” and runs parallel with “The Impervious Soul”, staying in the same genre of crime and drama, but with a heavier dialogue content. The production team usually tries to write stories of a lighter nature within the genre, but always ends up being weightier material, partly because most of us come from non-affluent backgrounds, we filter the story through reality. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
JUST TELL YOUR STORY. Stop making excuses as to why you cannot make a film. The need for perfection is pointless. I see too many people today is obsessed with the title “Filmmaker”. Just shoot. That’s it. Most of my film was just us trying to figure stuff out. Most of our locations were found on the day of the shoot. Most of our dialogue was improv. I honestly believe that anyone can make a film if they are willing to trust themselves and just go for it. The movement and manifesto are seriously the rules I live by when making films. 

*How has your style evolved? 
Most of my earlier work was very static. Something that is probably fine, but you always want to see how you can improve. I needed to find a way to act and get the camera moving. I am a massive fan of using a skeleton crew when making films, but this comes with its challenges. A major evolution in my work has to do with creating a back story for my characters. I found that most of my earlier work there was not a strong back story, which in turn made it difficult for the audience to relate to the characters.