Daniel Dercksen shares a few thought with producer Anton Ernst
Tell me about surviving evil? How did you get involved in the project?
I was introduced to David Pupkewitz, the producer and owner of Focus Films in the UK and he presented to me this amazing scary movie project. We then decided to do this under the UK/SA co production and raised the funding through multiple sources in South Africa, the UK and the USA.
What drew you to the project?
The storyline, it is like bear grylls gone bad. It is mystical and scary. I think we can all relate to myths and scary stories and this movie is based on the aswang myth from the Philippines.
Tell me about Durban doubling up for the Philippines, was it a difficult process?
No, South Africa is blessed with amazing locations and Durban provided us with exotic and tropical locations that could be any paradise island in the world!
You have gathered a fantastic cast?
Yes, we are very happy with the cast and think they all compliment each other very nicely. Billy Zane is one of the most recognisable names in the world and everyone remembers him as the villain in the most successful movie of all time 'titanic'. Natalie Mendoza is a star in her own right and was in the blockbuster 'the descent' and 'descent 2'. Colin moss needs no introduction and i believe that his fans and all fans of movies alike are going to be pleasantly surprised with his performance as the quirky 'Dex'. Christina Cole is from the united kingdom and she has played in movies like 'Casino Royale' and is considered to be one of the brightest up and coming stars in Britain.
Are you a fan of horror movies?
I'm a fan of all movies and that includes horror pictures. Movies like 'Scream', Nightmare on Elm Street and 'Final Destiny' are some of my favourites. I love movies that capture the art of suspension of belief and some horror movies are very good at achieving that. I think our movie is a combination of adventure and horror.
How did your career in filmmaking start? What triggered your involvement?
I started out in production and gradually moved into the financing side of filmmaking and ended up producing movies of content i love.
South Africa seems to be a favourite destination for international producers. Why do you think this is?
South Africa has amazing locations and some of the best technical crew and infrastructure in the world. Also we tend to have a favourable rand/dollar exchange which makes it an attractive proposition for any producer that wants to make quality pictures and get plenty of bang for their buck.
Your views on the film industry in South Africa?
It tends to be a bit fragmented and it sometimes appears that we are not all pulling in the same direction. It is heartening to see a lot of good youngsters coming through and i am pleased to note that I'm getting less and less political stories crossing my desk. We now seem to want to tell stories for all South Africans and by that i mean we want to tell commercial stories for everyone to enjoy. Good scripts remain our biggest problem and i feel we need to place a lot more emphasis given to script development.
I feel that the young filmmakers coming through the film schools need mentoring in terms of the business of film - most of them are quite capable of shooting a movie, but very few are able to raise finance for a film and that is a huge issue.
How difficult is it to get your film made and distributed in South Africa?
I think it is more difficult to get a film made than to get it distributed. Ster kinekor is an ardent supporter of the local movie industry and go the extra mile to assist local filmmakers. I would like to see others following their lead.
Is Surviving Evil heading for the international market?
We selling the film through our international sales agent, fries films and several markets have been sold overseas. The premiere in South Africa on the 10th is the world premiere though!
What do you hope audiences will get out of watching surviving evil?
I hope that this movie will enthrall audiences in much the same way as what scary stories told around a camp fire would. Surviving evil is loads of fun, full of adventure and perfect fare for the teenage market.
Any comments you would like to share?
South African films have often been maligned and I think that if we continue to make entertaining films we will change this perception. Our intention with this film was to provide audiences with pure entertainment.
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Copyright © 2009 Daniel Dercksen/ The Writing Studio