A locally-made movie has been chosen out of over a million entries to compete in this year’s Cannes Festival, in the short film category. It was written and produced by Durban-based Janet van Eeden, a scriptwriting lecturer at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance.

Called A Shot at the Big Time, it’s the story of van Eeden’s brother who died under mysterious circumstances after being called up to national service back in 1979.

“I’d never been able to forget Jimmy’s tragic life, and after being challenged by film and theatre critic, Robert Greig, to write about my own life instead of writing plays about literary greats, I finally had the courage to put pen to paper and tackle one of the saddest experiences of my life,” she told Artlink.co.za.

It’s not just the movie itself that’s so fascinating, though – just getting the movie made is a story all of its own. Despite van Eeden’s initial failure to fund the movie via Indiegogo (a crowd-sourcing platform), she encountered so much support along the way that she decided to shoot a short film instead of the feature-length movie she originally planned.

She also found actors, a director and another producer, London-based Magda M Olchawska in the course of the Indiegogo campaign. Her lead actors, Brad Backhouse (Jimmy) and Sean C Michael (antagonist Van Staden), auditioned online, which goes to show what can be achieved with creativity, determination and connectivity.

The movie was shot in 2012 and debuted at the Durban Film Festival in July 2013, winning an eThekwini Film Award later that year.

The Cannes Festival runs from the 14th to the 25th of May 2014, and A Shot at the Big Time will be represented there by Olchawska.

The press trailer for the film is below.

In other good news for the South African film industry, full length heist thriller iNumber Number is due to open in local theatres tomorrow. The film, directed by Donovan Marsh, was accepted for the Toronto Film Festival last year and as a result picked up an international distributor in XYZ Films. It’s unusual in that iNumber Number is a South African action film shot mostly in vernac.

According to Marsh, iNumber Number has been optioned for a US remake. The director is also down to work on the adaptation of Lauren Beukes’ alt-reality Joburg novel, Zoo City.

[Image Credit – Val Adamson via Artlink.co.za]
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