Gloves Up – rethinking film production

“Truth is written on all our faces. We cannot allow what is happening today to control your tomorrow. In life we only live to tell the story.”

These are the words that open up the short film Gloves Up produced by Zola Brunner, founder of Beyond Her and newbie to eNCA, and directed by Galegake Rakgokong under the team name African Flag. This work was put together for the 48 Hour Film Project; a competition focusing on short film production. Zola and Galegake are part of a group of mobile journalists, or what she affectionately called “mojo’s”. Everything that they do, from putting together a story to dissemination, is done from their phones. So they came up with the idea of making their film for the competition a “mojo” project.

“It’s the first time for this project that a film has been produced exclusively on a mobile phone, right from shooting to editing,” Zola explained, “We thought, let’s be daring. Let’s push the boundary. We don’t know how it is going to be received. But instead of filming something on a huge camera and taking it to an editing studio, let’s do it on our phones”. There was only one other team competing in the newly introduced mobile category. However, African Flag were the only team to use phone apps in their post-production process, making their film one produced exclusively on a mobile phone. The idea was initially met with a lot of pushback, but Zola and Galegake insisted that it could be done. The production of Gloves Up was about challenging traditional ideas about what can be considered film and who can produce and direct this process.

Romance and martial arts were the genres they received, as well as the character name Jacob Chongo and a bar of soap as a required elements. With that they pooled some friends together and drove to Pretoria. With the seemingly mismatched genres of martial arts and romance, African Flag wanted to produce a film that would speak to women empowering themselves. The story is that of a troubled relationship in which a woman has experience in martial arts, but her boyfriend feels threatened by this. After he abuses her, she fights back, using the memory of her childhood martial arts lessons to defend herself. “The end result was being a movie about empowerment and knowing where you stand,” Zola expresses.

Zola explained that playing multiple roles in the production and post-production process was challenging but they “embraced being directors, producers, filming and assembling sound,” Zola explains. They filmed using the app Filming Pro and multiple other apps for audio and special effects. “We wanted to stress that people aren’t necessarily concerned about whether it [the film] is made on a phone. The main message is how you use the tools you have available. Anybody who has a phone and downloads the apps can create an opportunity and advance their skills”. Their film won the award for the Best Mobile Production.

 

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