The making of Darfur—the movie assignment
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Working on the Movie “Darfur” was an incredible opportunity for the youth of MylifE. We woke up early each day, still with sleep hangovers, to wait for Emile to pick us up with his heavy weight Bakkie. The streets were still peaceful from vehicles and we could drive undisturbed by traffic all the way to Melkbosstrand, most of us in the back of the car where the wind cuts through the edges of our ears. This soon changed, a luxurious Quantum was provided for us and the journey became more comfortable. There was always a sense of excitement in the vehicle because every day on a film set it was a new and opportunity filled day.
The Stoffberg farm which was our location was awesome, it was such a splendid view starting from the buildings where the movie base was located, the rambling dust road that we drove through and across a cattle’s fence to get to the set. The set was a beautiful Sudanese village, with thatched huts built of grass and wooden poles, most of the huts were identical grass walls on the inside and the characters who rolled as the village residence made such a great match with their well chosen wardrobe.
It was pretty much funny for us when you have watched movies all your life and have never had a clue as to how they are made, to see rubber dummies smeared in red paint to make it look like a blood which was also applied to some of the cast when the Janjaweed troops had anilated the Villagers. A horrible reality when you realise that this is really happening to our brothers and sisters in Darfur, and all we hoped for, was for this movie to bring awereness globally and effect a greator change.
The ground was sandy and it got to be everyone’s daily exercise to paddle through the stubborn sand, moving what was required to the appointed places. Flies were our daily intruders and there wasn’t no way to stop them, at the craft base they were like some phantoms whose hive has been broken and came out to attack. It was all good though, nobody got hurt on this artful remarkable masquerade.
In the movie, Six Western journalists travel to a small village in Darfur. There they meet a peaceful people whose lives are overshadowed by fear and panic of what their tomorrow would bring. The state sponsored Janjaweed militia have already destroyed several villages in the area, raping women and killing . Alerted to a band of approaching Janjaweed mounting vivid galloping horses and guns tightly gripped ready for slaughter, the journalists are faced with a difficult decision – leave Sudan and report the atrocities to the world, or risk their lives and stay in the hopes of averting a certain slaughter. It was a sacrifise that needed a heart and to cautiously act less they die just like the people they were hardly trying to save.
And to just watch the acts and came to realise that this isn’t just a merely fantasy of a movie, but a blood catastrophre that shadows a great majority in Sudan, it makes the heart ache and wish that this immidiately should be stopped somehow.
Anyway, everything was well organised and the work ran smoothly. Starting from the catering, a department that provided our food and refreshments to get us through the heat without too much perspiration. They had two Vans tasked at two different spots, one at the set and the other at base. The lighting team, I believe they were the toughest, they had these anaconda miniature wire cables, rounding up over the walls through the sand to wherever the power was needed. Some of the MylifE guys were part of this team which worked relentlessly.
The Unit, led by Emile and Daniel whose father owns the farm, a great man who oftenly visited the scene watching the make up, the two parties (Daniel and Emile) with some of the Mylife guys backing them up, was another important factor; they were responsible for making sure that the editors were in the shade in the midst of the scorching sun and providing water and other basic needs.
The main respected actors who featured were such nice folks to everyone who was around. Noah Danby, who has this hulky figure and every time and then boxing with the air, he was a remarkable chap with a good sense of humour that each individual enjoyed, he played as one of the hero side by side with David O’Hara, saving the villagers from the wrath of the Janjaweed troops but at the end of the movie got butchered. His wife Kristanna Loken, a very talented woman, she showed up crying at the last scene with three soldiers to see the burned huts and slaughtered villagers laying on the sand in pools of blood.
Billy Zane, he played a part as a journalist interviewing and extracting what the villagers were going through. Of the play, he was a man whose mentorship and ideas were uplifting amazing, most of the Mylife guys chatted with him and praised his understanding and respect for the project and willed that he’s abroad the ship.
Hakeem Kae-Kazim, one of the soldiers with the same figures, much compared to that of Noah Danby, he had quite awesome moves and this proves much of his nature, he really fits quite well in the camouflage, with his breast protruding of.
Sammy Sheik, the Janjaweed remarkable leader, he did very well though his natural temperance was totally of a good man and a leader, the costume he wore, a gown robe with a clothe wrapping around his face and the addition of the gun matched him splendidly enough to catch every attendtion around.
There are a lot of things that we’ve learnt, especially the way each department delivers what is expected of them and the way every character did his role and that contributes to a very productive team effort, to tell a story about the struggle of survival lived by people in Darfur, Sudan. We valued the opportunity that was given to us, and we would definitely take another opportunity like that with open arms.
MYLIFE WISHING———http://www.mylife.org.za/aboutmylife.htm or facebook group—Darfur – the movie
LOVE, PEACE AND LIGHT—-You’re welcome to join us on facebook
TO DARFUR, SUDAN