Daniel Albertse on cinematography:
Selé M’Poko and Alessia Michielan on producing: Getting crews from outside the Congo, housing them, feeding them and getting them to work with people they couldn’t communicate with due to the language barrier, was the biggest challenge with this film. It’s really important when working on a film of this nature that you use an interpreter and producer from the place you are filming and give yourself a lot of time to prepare. Walk through all of the locations, meet everyone involved and make sure they are who they say they are. No matter how much you prepare, things will go wrong; especially in a place like the Congo. The industry is so new. It doesn’t have the infrastructure as most places do so you really have to do your research and bring as much of your own equipment as possible.
Neil Benezra on sound design: Dynamics are very important to my approach – I like to bring attention to the small details that are missed in many films today. For this film we took the approach of rotating between keeping it light hearted and creating tension while making everything sound big. This was an interesting project for me because it was so culturally different from most of the American films that I work on. We tried to be very true to the world around each scene and also bring a bit of character through each transitional shot by making some key sounds to go along with the imagery that moves from scene to scene. We also had a great composer, Henri Scars Struck, working with us right up until hours before the first screening.
I think one of the most important elements with a culture clash film is exposing people’s expectations and attitudes and playing on knowledge and belief. This scene really lights up as a result of Brandon being a proud African American and Jean De Dieu being an African person that thinks that everything will change once he has a lighter skin tone. There is an immediate misunderstanding and this sets the tone for the two characters to keep talking past each other. I think the major challenges in shooting this film lay in access to equipment and skill levels. There is hardly any equipment available in the DRC. We had to buy gear for this production and it’s all we had. In terms of skills, there isn’t really an industry in the DRC so everyone was learning on the job, which can at times be frustrating, but that being said there is an enormous amount of talent and an eagerness to learn. Compiled by Carly Barnes October 2015 | SCREENAFRICA | 27