Two Jacques take the reins behind Collegiate film

Bob Eveleigh: Behind the Collegiate’s Girls’ High School production of the short film “As if the Rain Watched Over Her’’, is the story of the two Jacques.

Made in association with Afda Gqeberha, it will be released internationally on the National Arts Festival’s online programme tomorrow, Thursday 8 July.

And it brought together the two Jacques – Batista and Cloete. Jacques Batista is the drama teacher head of Collegiate’s Drama Department, who was the second-last winner of the Woodland Dairies Theatre Achievement Showtime Schools Award for his physical theatre wok on The Edge of her Earth in 2019. His supportive head mistress, Louise Erasmus, came up with the idea for an original film in this on-stage drought we are all presently experiencing.

The film idea agreed, it was further agreed that expert assistance was needed.

Where to go? Well, in many directions, but the most important being the film staff of Afda Ggebertha.

And so came about the association with Jacques Cloete, who just happened to be that body’s film whiz.

To translate Jacques B’s theatrical ideas onto screen, the astute filmmaker and lecturer, Jacques C, grabbed Batista’s idea with abandon, working with the schoolgirls with a passionate verve.

A visual storyteller, Cloete is particularly skilled at colour grading which he is applying to great effect during the editing process. Holding an honours degree in Film and Visual Media, he has a list of films to his credit including Katgriep, Small Steps and Headspace.

According to Jacques Batista, Cloete was an incredible mentor In the director’s chair, sharing all his skills with the learners. He was also responsible for adapting the original story by Jacques Batista and Caitlin Wiggill, another screen veteran, who contributed to the story.

Directed by the versatile Jacques Cloete, this new short film features an all-female cast of the school’s multi-disciplinary performers led by pupils Sophie Bradshaw and Ogiy’onke Oliphant.

Extending curriculum work covering Film Studies, Batista chose to conceptualise this work combining multi-disciplinary skills across genres of acting, dance and music cinematically.

The original score was composed by Shane Cooper, Standard Bank Young Artist recipient for Jazz 2013, and Francois Le Roux, best known for creating work for First Physical Theatre Company and his solo projects as HaMan.

Also contributing are musician Kendal Beadon and Debbie Walker, who wrote the original song, ‘Raindrops’, for the closing credits, and make-up man, Alexander Tabisher.

Jacques Batista did the choreography, and the costumes are by him and Amanda Ffoulkes.

‘As If the Rain Watched over Her’ was filmed on location in Gqeberha at the newly established theatre complex, Isithatha, which is fast becoming a venue for alternative theatre genres.

It will run on the National Arts Festival’s online programme from 8 to 31 July 2021.

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Bob Eveleigh