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While the sun was setting on a picture perfect day two of Silwerskermfees 2018, we caught up with Pierre-Arnold Theron, director of ‘Grys’, one of the 11-minute short films in competition this year.

Pierre-Arnold is no stranger to the scene, having been a performer and musician for many years, we asked him about his first experience as director and how he found the process of producing a short film.

How did you come to direct ‘Grys’?

I was originally asked to produce the film alongside my friend and colleague, Porra Van der Merwe. When I asked Porra (producer, Dirkie ‘Porra’ Van Der Merwe) who they have lined up to direct the film, he said that they didn’t have a director as of yet. I then asked if I could pitch my idea and vision of the film to them. Porra really liked my vision, and I was then officially asked to direct the film.

Pierre worked closely with the writers of the script – three students from the University of Stellenbosch’s Drama Department – and together they ended up with a script that sensitively illustrates the journey of a father and his teenage son mourning the loss of their wife and mother.

The film stars Geon Nel, Ben Albertyn and Luca Geldenhuys.

Pierre-Arnold Theron

This is your first time directing a short film. How did you find the experience?

Stressful but very exciting! It’s definitely something that I would love to do again. It’s stressful because, as a director, you must have all the answers. You have to be ready to make decisions and be able to justify why you made that decision. If the mentors and executive producers question you, you have to be ready to explain your reasoning and thought processes.

Despite the stressful aspect of being a director, I really enjoyed the process of it. I think everyone wants to direct a film at some point of their lives, and it is definitely something I want to do again.

When producing a film – be it a short film or full length film – having a dedicated production and creative team is essential. How was it working with your production team?

We had like, the A Team when it came to our creative production team. Everyone said to me that we are very lucky to have such an amazing team work on our film. They dedicated their time, lowered their usual fees (as we had a very limited budget) and were really interested in the entire process.

Porra (the producer) was my right hand man, and he really made this experience that much better, being there when I needed him.

Where did you shoot, and how long did you shoot on the film?

We shot in Stellenbosch. We were lucky enough to be able to use my Art Director, Le Fras Mouton’s house to shoot in. We shot the entire film in two days, and only had a few pickups thereafter.

There is also a little easter egg for viewers in the film. During one of the pickups I had to fill in, and in one scene when the camera pans over the side mirror of the car, it’s my face in the reflection.

What do you hope to gain out of your experience and showing your film at Silwerskermfees?

That it will allow me the opportunity to do this again! The exposure the Silwerskermfees gives you is amazing. Hopefully this will lead to future film endeavours and other opportunities.

You can check out the trailer for ‘Grys’ below. All short films making their debut at Silwerskermfees 2018 will be made available on Showmax in November.

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