SCROLL DOWN FOR INTERVIEW WITH WRITER-DIRECTOR HENK PRETOIUS
* BAKGAT! 2 not only had the biggest opening weekend but also the biggest week at the box-office for an Afrikaans language film. It outperformed the opening of the recent Afrikaans language hit JAKHALSDANS and also doubled the box-office taken by the first BAKGAT film in the first weekend and week. It also outperformed English Language opening weekends for hits like WHITE WEDDING and TSOTSI. In the second weekend the film is still playing strong and has now added another million Rand bringing the gross total to just over R2,5 million. BAKGAT! 2 is currently playing at a cinema near you.
On opening weekend Bakgat 2 has towered to just over R1,300,000 gross at the box office on 41 prints nationwide. Bakgat! did R638,064 gross in it's opening weekend which means that Bakgat 2 is 108% up on the first film.
The Afrikaans teenage comedy Bakgat! was undoubtedly the runaway local movie success of 2008 and with over 68 000 fans on Face Book alone, and increasing daily, such has been the demand for a sequel that The Film Factory has done just that; provided the much anticipated sequel that enjoys its nationwide release in less than 6 weeks time on 10 September 2010.
When asked about the success of Bakgat and the subsequent demand for a sequel, writer/director Henk Pretorius, stated; "I mostly feel grateful. Although it took about ten years to develop my craft as a writer and storyteller, I get up every morning wishing mechanical engineers or scientist would figure out a way to extend human life, so I can live longer and tell more stories. It's a huge privilege to explore your own head in public and although Bakgat! 2 is a genre specific movie, it was crafted with as much heart as I could muster. I am especially grateful to our fans and I assure them that I have done everything in my power to exceed their expectations with the sequel. SKER KWADRAAT !!!"
Executive Producer of Bakgat! 2 Danie Bester concludes; "Even though I am the producer of Bakgat! 2, I am also one of the biggest fans of the franchise. If you enjoyed Bakgat!, you are in for a real treat with Bakgat! 2. Henk has written a fantastic script, relevant to us as South Africans and superbly told. Our favorite characters are back and the situations they find themselves in are hilarious but also moving and endearing at times."
Bester continues; "Ultimately the film was made for fans and fans-to-be by a group of passionate and determined filmmakers who would like to see a sustainable and progressive South African cinema culture develop and blossom. Where our stories, culture and dreams are captured for prosperity by the magic of the silver screen we love so much.
Bakgat! 2 was a labour of love and we hope that it will find a large and appreciative audience that will support and carry sker to the world and beyond!"
Audiences will once again identify with the loveable characters of Wimpie, Katrien, Fanie and Japie, Liezl and Christie with Werner still up to his usual tricks, and a few other hilarious surprises thrown into the mix.
The story continues two years later where Bakgat! left off - the group of friends have now left school and are at University. Wimpie (Ivan Botha) is now the U/21 Rugby Hero and is presented with an international opportunity of a lifetime. He gets caught in a tug of war with his love for the game playing against the love of his life, Katrien (Cherie van der Merwe), who doesn't want to travel away from South Africa, as she's found her passion in teaching autistic children. Added to this are the comical antics of the other characters; Fanie (Andrew Thompson) struggles to get used to the new Christie (Ciske Kruger Botha) and Japie (Neil Sharim) is experiencing "size" problems of his own in his relationship with Liezl (Lelia Etsebeth). Muscleman, Werner "Killer" Botha (Altus Theart), joins the Varsity team and threatens Wimpie's place in the U/21 team.
Bakgat! 2 is jam packed with fun, a positive South African theme and a whole lot of surprises. The movie centres around "Will Wimpie or won't he?"…You'll just need to see the movie in September to find out.
In 2008 Bakgat! made household names of these young stars who all return as seasoned actors now to reprise their roles. Added to this strong cast are some wonderful new characters that have been introduced to add to the mix; Barry (Solomon Cupido), Borrie (Bradley Olivier) and Bruce (Bryan Hadwen) to ensure the hilarity doesn't let up for a minute.
The movie is strongly complimented by a dynamic score and powerful sound track that will once again feature the crème de la crème of local Afrikaans artists including; Die Heuwels Fantasties, Straatligkinders, Van Coke Kartel, Glaskas, Jax Panik, eF-eL and many others, whilst also adding a new slant for the sequel to include international artist Simon Schofield into the local music mix.
LOVE THEME SUNG BY SIMON SCHOFIELD
Following the incredible success of the involvement of music in Bakgat! the sequel will once again include the crème de la crème of South African music, featuring bands like SAMA winners Heuwels Fantasties. eF-eL, Glaskas, Straatligkinders amongst others. But it has been in the 11th hour that a major coup has been confirmed for this movie which will add a whole new exciting dimension and heightened awareness to this much anticipated sound track, by the inclusion of international rising star, Simon Schofield to sing the movie's main love theme.
The love theme was written especially for the movie by its composer Benjamin Willem. Entitled "You", it tells the powerful story of the loss of love and this love theme will once again play a pivotal role in the movie.
Says Benjamin; I submerged myself into the mindset of losing someone closest to me (my daughter). While the lyrics might be a little ambiguous, it's all about how difficult it would be to live without that special someone and how a specific song or a picture of her would remind me of all that she is and how I would desperately cling to that and probably live in denial, struggling to move forward."
Since the song was written a number of months ago, the stumbling block had been to find the right voice for this song that has such a powerful impact on the movie, Search as the producers did; they couldn't find the matching singer for the soulful melody. With the high vocal range, a number of female singers had been considered, but it didn't seem to fit the feel of the movie to have female vocals on the track, so the battle continued to find a male vocalist with vocal range.
Enter 26-year old, Manchester based blonde hair, blue eyed Simon Schofield with the velvet vocals.
Simon Schofield had been in South Africa earlier this year, when THE TWELVE TENORS travelled from Europe to perform at the JoBurg Theatre for a short season in February. Nightly Simon blew the audiences away with his dynamic vocals in hits like "We Are The Champions" and "Twist and Shout" and coupled with a strong stage presence, local audiences sat up and took notice of this vibrant performer.
Unbeknown to this, sitting in the audience at The Twelve Tenors one evening was one of the Executive Producers of Bakgat! 2, C.A. van Aswegen from The Film Factory, and the rest, as they say, is history - in that one evening the search for the vocalist for "You/I can't fly" was over.
Says C.A. "Simon grabbed my attention from the opening curtain; he has an unparalleled stage presence. Then he stepped forward and sang "We Are The Champions" and I knew I had found my vocalist; an incredible talent with an overwhelming vocal range, but I was unsure whether he would be keen in travelling back to South Africa to collaborate with us?"
But C.A. needn't have worried; he didn't realise at that stage that Simon had immediately fallen in love with South Africa and had already approached local industry representatives to see about possible collaborations in the future, in order to travel back to the country to perform here again.
Says Simon; "When C.A. approached me about singing a track for Bakgat 2, I jumped at the chance - what an honour! Every artist dreams of getting the chance to sing on a movie, and for me it was such a bonus to know that it meant I could return to the beautiful country of South Africa! It's the classic tale of being in the right place at the right time and the decision was a no brainer for me. The biggest problem though was trying to free up my schedule to make the return journey. But we managed, and now I am so excited to be travelling back to SA in May."
It's when reading Simon Schofield's CV that one realizes just what a coup this is for our local entertainment industry. At 26, this consummate performer's CV already includes many "roles of a lifetime"; from being in Peter Pan at just 9 years old, to playing the coveted role of Gavroche in Les Miserables at 10, to having his West End Debut in a lead role at 12 as Oliver in Oliver across from the illustrious Jonathan Pryce and so the list goes on.
Since the age of 17, Simon has been touring internationally non-stop, travelling to countries like Norway, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Dubai, UK, Venice, Monte Carlo, Portugal, Canada, USA and most recently New Zealand, Turkey and South Africa. He will be travelling to South Africa en route from Japan before heading back to London for rehearsals of a new show opening at Monte Carlo in front of HRH Prince Albert at the "European Television Awards" in June.
Television credits include being a guest singer and dancer on Al Murray's HAPPY HOUR, featured in CRIME WATCH, CRACKER with one of his favourites being PRIME SUSPECT alongside the inimitable Helen Mirren.
DANIEL DERCKSEN SHARES A FEW THOUGHTS WITH HENK PRETORIUS ON BAKGAT 2!
Bakgat 2 is creating quite a buzz before its releases. You must be excited about this?
Extremely excited, it feels like I am a little kid before a holiday. It's all I can think of at the moment.
Tell me about Bakgat 2. How did it happen?
I was on my way to New York when my producer, Danie Bester, convinced me that it was a good idea to write Bakgat! 2. In my head, the story was told, the zero became a hero, I was really scared to take the project on. After I committed I wrote three completely different scripts, until I figured out what I wanted to do with the film. It was the hardest script I ever wrote and up to date, the one I am most proud of.
Was it a difficult journey from page to screen?
This part was ironically easier. We had a little more money and I was a more experienced. Most of the crew that worked on the first one, came on board again. We had a slightly bigger crew of course, but everyone on board had one defining factor: They all love Bakgat. Thus they gave it their absolute all and I think everyone had a really great time.
You were on the verge of leaving for the States but decided to remain in South Africa. Tell me about this?
I love South Africa so much it hurts even to think about leaving it. It was an impulsive decision to go to New York, I travelled there once and it felt like home. Everyone that knows me always tell me that I will be at home in New York, but it has to wait. I am still doing at least two more films in SA and who says you can't have more than one home anyway?
You seem to be visible as a writer on television, on stage and film… do you have any preferences?
I love the science in film. I love the money in television and I love the organic feel in theatre. I definitely prefer film, because my stories can ultimately reach more people, but all writing is equally hard and if you keep at it, equally fulfilling.
What can audiences expect from Bakgat2
Belly laughs, with a more original story, wrapped in a positive South African theme.
What do you hope audiences will get from Bakgat2?
We are always in the process of chasing a dream and never quite satisfied with where we are, I hope that when audience members walk out of the theatre they feel satisfied, for at least one night, with where they are and what they have achieved in their lives. Serenity, I suppose.
Looking at the success of Bakgat and the hype of its sequel, it is clear that you have a good understanding of your audience and give them what they want?
One of the tricks in making a successful film, is never to underestimate the process. You have to pour your heart and soul into every beat, else you will be selling your audience short. And a collective conscious always sees through lies and cheap tricks, too many of those will sink your ship.
Can you ever separate the writer from the filmmaker?
Story is story is story. Everything else is just a medium to make people feel. So no, I don't think so. Although I am quite use to wearing at least three 'caps': THE WRITER'S CAP is a little self indulgent and very observant. THE DIRECTOR'S CAP is obsessed with entertaining an audience and THE INVESTOR'S CAP: Do I believe the film will make a profit or not and why?
Bakgat 2 is incredible sexy, with lots of eye candy for guys and girls.. your views on this?
It's what the genre asks for. I spend a lot of time writing a script and most of that time is spent trying to balance originality with convention. It's an extremely difficult balance for me to get right and I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to get it perfect. Although I already know that perfection doesn't exists when it comes to something as emotive as telling stories.
The script sizzles with some precious Afrikaans sayings that underlines the beauty and richness of the language (which translates well in the subtitles). Where do you find your rich and very funny dialogue?
Most of the 'sayings' come from random conversations with strangers. My cell phone is filled with unique sayings I hear people say in bars and restaurants. When I was busy writing Bakgat I tried hanging around the core market of the film in an attempt to figure out how they think and what words they use to describe stuff. I even went to play rugby for Wanders Rugby Club, to understand the inside of the game better. After I got tackled, by two huge guys, my understanding of the game was restricted to watching it on television.
The film is romantic (from first time love to old love). Are you a hopeless romantic?
I never understand why people call romantics, hopeless, especially when they get the girls... ;-)
Which of the characters are you in the film (if any)?
I am all of them. Even Katrien. Which sounds weird, I know. But I believe you can only understand someone if you can spot their attributes in yourself. Bakgat! 2 is more character driven than Bakgat! 1 and I therefore had to spend more time with my diary and my understanding of people.
It is interesting how you almost satirise the shock treatment scenes, with Steve Hofmeyer delivering a delightful tongue in cheek cameo. This must have been fun shooting?
Steve is such an awesome guy to work with. I have tremendous respect for everything he has achieved as an individual. It was great. We did play a little with satire in these scenes, mostly because it gave us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves (the core Afrikaans market, that is) The line: 'Hy is 'n heilige man', always gets a laugh and it's really interesting to try and figure out WHY…
Your favourite moment in the film?
Just before the end credits roll, there's a few quiet moments in the sound design and score, at the premier the packed cinema was absolute quiet in these three brief seconds. This was when I knew all my other favourite moments was strung together correct to ensure this engagement in the end. This was my favourite moment, by far and the biggest compliment the audience could offer me.
Your choice of music in the film strongly underscores the emotional journey of the characters?was it a difficult choice to decide on the music?
Not at all. CA van Asweggen decides it for me. Ha ha ha. CA is my editor and one of the executive producers. I trust him to know what's best for the film and he always manages to exceed my expectations. I love the music he chose to cut the film on and I often play the soundtrack in my car.
Who is the real Henk? The man behind the visionary?
I am a workaholic, that seldom leave my room or office. I am the job. That's the irony of doing what you love, you become it. Sometimes I miss being back as school, where I hated the work and when I was done doing my homework, I truly relaxed.
There seems to a boom of local films at the moment..your views on the local industry?
A lot of people ask me if this or that film is my competition for me... My answer is always the same. Bad films are the most competition to me. Films that people don't want to see, kills the industry because it creates consumer apathy. If you make a film, please have a market in mind and spend enough time on your script. Make a great film, so I can catch a ride on your back and let's build an industry together.
How can new writers contribute to the growth of the industry?
By writing. And writing. And writing. Until they have the ability to create something people want to watch. Also please know the rules, before you attempt to break them.
If you could write the ultimate South African film without any budget restraints, what would it be?
I am already busy writing that film, I will tell you in a year from now.
What motivate you as a writer and filmmaker and where do you find your inspiration?
I think a lot, yet I carry my emotions on my sleeve. I live life in a very venerable state and try to record everything that happens. I also try to imagine the world from other people's perspectives and these observations inspire me to understand the truth of a character. But my understanding of comedy comes from my love for science and maths, I think.
Any advice for budding screenwriters and filmmakers?
Get up early and work an eight to five job, five days a week. The only way to turn a dream into a goal is to make it as tangible.
How does it feel living you dream and sharing your passion with the world?
I am very grateful that I have found something that stimulates my mind in every conceivable way. It's a huge privilege to be able to make people feel and I to wake up every morning with a sense of direction and purpose.
I have a lot of plans. One of them is making a film that breaks into the international market, ASAP!
Copyright © 2010 Daniel Dercksen
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