Collegiate film wins NAF Ovation Award

Bob Eveleigh: The short film, As If the Rain Watched Over Her, by Collegiate Girls High School in association with AFDA Gqeberha, has been awarded an Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival.

Directed by the versatile filmmaker, Jacques Cloete, this new short film, based on the original concept by head of Dramatic Arts at Collegiate, Jacques Batista, features an all-female cast of the school’s multi-disciplinary performers, led by pupils Sophie Bradshaw and Ogiy’onke Oliphant in the main roles.

Following the success of ‘The Edge of Her Earth’ at the 2019 National Arts Festival, the Collegiate Girls’ High School Drama Department returned to the festival with a short film on its online programme.

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

Part of AFDA’s creative outreach to facilitate collaboration with future female filmmakers, this project fulfils a close working relationship between AFDA Gqeberha and Collegiate Girls’ High School’s Drama Department.

‘As If the Rain Watched over Her’ traces a day in the life of a young wigmaker, Maria, whose internal conflict reaches a climax through the troubled relationship with her sister, Elizabeth.

As viewers, we are never certain which of the two sisters’ perception of reality we can trust as the lines between the real and dream worlds become blurred.

As the day unfolds, the precarious situation makes it unclear whether Elizabeth really exists while the restless Maria struggles to make sense of the world in and around her head.

Set in an anonymous space and time, the story is told by an all-female cast on a rainy day when the shadow side of the mind is chased by the past Maria can no longer keep secret.

Translating the theatrical ideas onto screen is Jacques Cloete, film-maker and lecturer at AFDA Gqeberha. A passionate and intuitive 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.

He was an incredible mentor In the director’s chair, sharing his skills with the learners and is also responsible for adapting the original story by Jacques Batista and Caitlin Wiggill. stage and screen writer, Wiggill has had success with her play ‘God is a Woman’ at Artscape. In addition, she wrote the screenplay for the television adaptation titled ‘Ander’ for broadcast on KykNet.

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, Kendal Beadon recently released an album ‘Senescence’ with the group High Water Bridge.

Adding to the soundscape is Debbie Walker who wrote the original song, ‘Raindrops’, for the closing credits.

Following extended research into various movement practices both locally and internationally, Jacques Batista’s choreography creates the dreamscape dimension through which we experience the lead character’s mind.

‘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 breaking traditional conventions.

‘As If the Rain Watched over Her’ runs on the National Arts Festival’s online programme from 8 to 31 July 2021.

For more details follow updates on facebook: #nafonline, #naf2021, #collegiatedanceanddrama


CREATIVE TEAM:
Concept: Jacques Batista
Producers: Collegiate Girls’ High School in association with AFDA, Jacques Batista, Kerry-Lee Allen.
Story: Jacques Batista, Caitlin WIggill
Director: Jacques Cloete
Choreographer: Jacques Batista
Screenplay: Jacques Cloete
Filming (Cinematography and editing): Jacques Cloete
Make Up: Alexander Tabisher
Costumes: Jacques Batista, Amanda Foullkes
Original Score: Shane Cooper, Francois Le Roux, Kendal Beadon
Original Song “Raindrops”: Debbie Walker
Musicians: Judith Parfitt, Debbie Walker
Vocalists: Kirstin Walker, Lonalunathi Qaba


Bob Eveleigh
Beveleigh@centrestage.co.za