For the few South African film makers who have ventured into the captivating yet demanding genre of science fiction, the risk has paid off. District 9 for example was an amazing feat of the imagination. Now a new short film, set in deep space, is in the works and I could not wait to find out more. Written and directed by the uber-creative Louis Minnaar, Siklus tells the story of a man desperate to save his dying wife only to get caught in a never ending cycle. Starring well-known South African actor Neels van Jaarsveld and the talented Reine Swart, Siklus promises to be the short-film worth waiting for. I spoke to Louis, Neels and Reine about their involvement in the project.
Teaser/Introduction Of The Afrikaans SciFi Shortfilm Siklus
Where and how did the idea for Siklus originate?
Louis Minnaar: I have always wanted to do a science fiction short film. I grew up with a lot of science fiction in my life and around the end of 2014 I started coming up with possible ideas for a story. From there I started working on the basic plot which I then sent it to Beer Adriaanse who wrote the screenplay and that's how it all started.
How did you first get involved with the project?
Neels van Jaarsveld: I saw it on Facebook. They had an online auditioning campaign. It's a wonderful way of auditioning and I hope more production companies are going towards this route. You don't have to sit in traffic and be all sweaty and wrong state of mind when you rock up to the audition. Here I could prepare the script and give it my best shot. It looked like a wonderful opportunity and I was seriously holding thumbs that I would land the part. It was nice to know when we got to the second phase of auditions that I could have another shot, so it was great when I got the call. Also it's wonderful to know I have Reine who is an amazing actress, co-starring with me.
“...It was quite difficult to prepare for this character because you want to make him unique...” - Neels van Jaarsveld, lead role in Siklus
Tell me about your character?
Reine Swart: ELI is very, very sick and her husband is trying to save her life. Because he is so focused on saving her, he is not spending a lot of time with her anymore. I just think that they are wasting time because they are drifting apart and not living in the moment anymore. I think that is why ELI is actually dying, because of heart ache. It is a beautiful story and it symbolizes a universal thing that happens to human beings, we spend so much time in our jobs that we stop appreciating the person next to us. My character is very strong in a way, it is a very tough journey to go on into the unknown but she is tough and I respect her for that.
Why did you decide on just the two characters?
Louis Minnaar: I like the idea of using only two characters and doing a more focused story and keeping it contained. I wanted to create something really simple, for the performance to breathe in a way. The same with the set, I wanted to do something quite contained. I wanted this idea of an enclosed space with two characters and something a bit more intimate.
“...I wanted to create something really simple, for the performance to breathe in a way...” - Louis Minnaar, writer and director - Siklus
What has the experience been like so far?
Neels van Jaarsveld: Today is our second day of shooting and it is fantastic. I must admit it has been one of the most professional productions I have ever worked on in my entire career. It is also a wonderful idea and concept. What is amazing about it is to see ideas come into fruition and seeing people go into every little detail. Every button on the space ship, everything. From the DOP to the camera men to the equipment they use, the whole production is fantastic.
You spoke about keeping the set quite contained, who was involved in creating the set itself?
Louis Minnaar: I designed the set, that had to be part of the process because I had to keep the budget in mind. I have some experience with set design so while writing the story, I would think about the environment and the way I wanted to block everything out. From there I gave the set to Corné Roodt from Verita Brand who constructed the set after which we dressed the set and I built the props.
Tell me about your experience on set?
Reine Swart: Louis is very thorough and he knows exactly what he wants, he is very prepared. I felt very safe and could really play my heart out because he wasn't vague in any way. Working with Neels is a big honour for me because he is such a great actor, one of our best I think and I was very excited to work with him. There is so much happening on set between Louis, myself and Neels. There is this powerful story and you can really play with different emotions because when you leave earth, you are leaving everything behind. It is so beautifully contained and it has been an amazing experience.
“...it is a very tough journey to go on into the unknown but she is tough and I respect her for that...” - Reine Swart, lead role in Siklus
Who is your character and how did you prepare?
Neels van Jaarsveld: I play a character called Daniel who is on a mission to save his wife. He has learned of someone who can save her but for this they need to go into space. What happens on this journey is that he gets sucked into a cycle that keeps on repeating itself, almost to the point of desperation. He needs to make a decision of going through the wormhole, going through the unknown. I think it is a little bit like life really, you need to go through the unknown to be able to see what is on the other side. It was quite difficult to prepare for this character because you want to make him unique. I think what was cool for me is that I just followed my heart. I have to save my wife, I have to be kind to her but we are still in space where things go wrong. It is a foreign space I am finding myself in and seeing my wife deteriorate as he goes along. It is this frustrating cycle that keeps on repeating itself and he can't really make sense of it all. It is a very challenging part but I think that is what we as actors like, hopefully I have done the part justice.
To make this short film happen, donations are still needed to conclude the post-production process. To contribute, click here: SIKLUS DONATIONS