Your new movie Tokoloshe
- The Calling - in a few words, what is it about?
Tokoloshe and its relevance to South African audiences.
adress the elephant in the room right on top: Tokoloshe
- The Calling references Stanley Kubrick's The
Shining quite a bit - so why is that (other than because it's one
of the most iconic horror movies ever and pretty much everybody's
is an homage to my favourite director who spanned so many genres. I
got to produce a film with his DOP from Eyes Wide Shut down here in Africa, Red Dust.
Other sources of inspiration when writing
- The Calling?
– think about it, a 3 hander in one location!
What can you tell us about your
co-writer Arish Sirkissoon, and what was your collaboration like?
is a master of promoting and selling, but more than that he never gave up
on the film and always insisted on a positive spin.
talk about Tokoloshe
- The Calling's approach to horror!
we have a fantastic character – the Tokoloshe – which still scares the
hell out of many South Africans across our very diverse cultural
A few words
about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
had a minimum budget. So how to make the best of what you have available!
I’m not a horror fundi but have worked with some Italian directors and
producers when we made Ghost Son.
can you tell us about Tokoloshe
- The Calling's cast, and why exactly these people?
are all people I know, some are students of mine and some are
colleagues of mine.
of course also have to talk about Tokoloshe
- The Calling's super-creepy main location for a bit, and what was
it like filming there? And did you dream up your film with this specific
location already in mind?
I had used these locations for another film of mine and even then knew I
would at some time be back there. The house was left completely intact
some 60 years ago, clothes, books, cutlery, photos, everything, we did not
bring in a single piece of set dressing. It has its own dungeon and in places
is filled with bats – crying out for a horror film to be made. The large
mural is in fact a painting of the original white owners.
A few words about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
relaxed atmosphere. It is the first film in my career which spans over 40
years that I did not have to answer to anyone other than myself. Each
shooting day brought its own problems and we as a very small tight crew
would deal with them in a very cool and sometimes experimental way. I met
the cast as we went along and as people became available. On some days the
cast were not available so we would work the narrative with what we had to
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of Tokoloshe
- The Calling?
It’s had very mixed reviews. I made it as part of my Master’s Degree
and was not even sure if we would get a release, but the film has exceeded all
of my expectations.
Any future projects you'd like to
I work as a line producer (gun for
hire) and have a few projects lined up – I would love to do a Tokoloshe
- The Calling follow up and have been in touch with a few financiers.
What got you into the filmworld to begin with,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I sold ice creams at our local cinema when I was
at school – I would watch the titles and decided that at some time I
would have the biggest title! I did eventually go to film school in
London and returned to South Africa to pursue my love of telling South
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Tokoloshe
- The Calling?
I am more recognised as a producer
and often work as a 1st assistant director on the bigger
pictures – District 9, Red Dust, Long
Walk to Freedom. As a producer I have made many South African films
which have won international acclaim – Wooden Camera, Taxi to Soweto,
Chiken Biznis, to name a few.
Hailing from South Africa, what
can you tell us about the film industry there, and how easy or hard is it
to launch a project like Tokoloshe
- The Calling?
We have a very buoyant industry both locally and internationally. Many
foreign films are produced here as we have world class technicians and
equipment – our rather weak local currency also has a huge impact on
“bangs for bucks”. Tokoloshe
- The Calling as I said was my masters film so I was
able to call in many favours.
How would you describe yourself
as a director?
Interesting – I work very
impulsively and hate sticking to the written word. An old Israeli producer
friend Mati Raz used to say “Richard, it’s not written in stone.”
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Most of them – it's flipping hard work getting a film
... and of course, films you really
None really, I just don’t go and
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
I am just
so happy that not everyone had the opportunity to tell me that I had not
captured the African landscape – fuck, just because we live in Africa
does not mean we have to keep making films with bare breasted women and
with white men swinging from the trees.
Thanks for the