The Flyer is the uplifting story of a young coloured kid saved from the mean streets of Cape Town by an old trapeze great, and indoctrinated into a gravity-defying world - trapeze flying! But the flybar between success and failure swings in the balance as his past and present collide to dramatic effect.
The story is a simple one of a boy's journey from the ghetto to a realisation of his true potential. It is also about the choices we have to make both in childhood and adulthood. What makes the film potentially unique, is that it is set around the world of Flying Trapeze, a world I was once part of.
I want to capture rhythm, movement and energy in a film about passion, danger and Flying Trapeze. To reveal the relationships and inner tensions between characters I will adopt a simple shooting style. The spatial distances between the characters and their movements around each other will keep their tensions and motives alive for the viewer.
Sequences will be covered through simple set pieces which allow for various movement of the characters as they circle and move around each other. The camera on tracks and semi-circle tracks will keep both characters often in the frame, keeping them in touch with one another as if by an invisible elastic band. Anders circles Kier, Kier circles Anders. Kier moves to the rig and climbs. The camera goes with him, tracking upwards and below we see Anders watching. We must always be aware of where the character is coming from and also where he is going: what does he have to lose.
This circling and moving camera is essential to the way I see the film. This same movement intensifies as we cross into the other zone, the one of freedom and flight. Moments of contemplation and melancholy of the boy Kieren will be achieved by extreme close ups and carefully composed images. These themes of waiting and watching will be sharply contrasted with sudden and developing movement.
Extreme close ups will also capture the moments of adrenaline, in Kier's eyes we see his energy coiled and ready to explode, the instant before flight.
Time and place and context are very important. Wide shots will place our characters in their city and streets of Cape Town, and in the old factory where the Trapeze Rig is always suspended. I will use silhouette, evening and morning light and harsh sunlight penetrating through old cracked windows. The landscape of this movie will be industrial and visually dramatic. It will not be too pretty. We will be looking at factory land, railway lines, alleys and under the dark bridges. We fly over and under the freeways and Table Mountain always lurks in the background.
The colours of the film will be drained to blacks and browns. Light will be gentle, on faces and interiors, contrasting softly and fading towards the darker interiors and corners. We will use 35 to 70 mm lenses to accentuate depth of field. Shadow and light will texture faces, rather than the use of soft focus lenses.
My goal is to create a visual and dramatic journey around the subject of flight, through the eyes of the Kieren Jordaan.
Filming flight opens many opportunities for a movie; it invites a close interaction with camera technique and musical composers. I hope to create a musical score which is integral to the film and which leaves a long-lasting impression in the viewer…a powerful audio-visual experience.
Real Trapeze Artists will perform the aerial sequences, the quest for the Quadruple Somersault. The actor playing Kier will have to learn the basics, like swinging onto net, climbing the rope ladder, reaching for the fly bar. He will also learn all the rituals of the sport, like the warm up exercises, tying on white wristbands and rubbing resin into the palms of his hands. He will also be connected to a safety harness to achieve close up details for the narrative. The story of what happens in the air, the success or failure of it, is essential to our involvement with the story. But he will seamlessly be linked to a stunt double when it comes to trapeze.
Trapeze will be filmed from various low angles and wide angles. Views from under the net will capture the intensity of some of the accidents. We will film from the ceiling looking down. We will also employ various technical advances which cameras now are able to do. A camera attached to the Flier to give the audience the feeling of flight. We will run a track along the flight path so that we can run with the Flier and move with him into the air, to the catcher and back again to the pedestal. Spinning bodies will come in and out of frame. Close ups of eyes and hands and torso. Figures crouched like a baby in the womb, spinning through space. Use will be made of extreme slow motion photography and sometimes film will be speeded up. I want to put the viewer into a new world: the landscape of Flight. This world is nothing like the one below. Time sometimes stands still. Adrenaline controls you and even pain cannot be felt until you get back down to earth.
Director - REVEL FOX
Revel Fox obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at Cape Town University. He then worked for Keith Anderson as a Trapeze Flyer. Revel went on to study film directing at The National Film and Television School in England. While in England he wrote, directed and edited a number of films including "Practice Piece" which was selected for screening at the London Film Festival in 1980, while "Sister" won the Special Jury Prize at Tours in France in 1983. Revel was selected to direct "Private Lives", a documentary about immigrants living in London by Thames Television as part of a series featuring new independent directors. He also worked as an editor cutting documentaries for BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and The National Geographic.
Revel returned to South Africa in 1994 and directed documentaries, dramas, commercials and music videos. He directed 250 episodes of youth drama, "Backstage" for ETV. He has also directed a number of live music concerts, which include the North Sea Jazz Festival, Ringo at the Pretoria State Theatre for DVD, and "Evolution", a music series for SABC1. He has directed a number of documentaries about musicians including Jimmy Dludlu and Busi Mhlongo. The Flyer marks his feature directorial debut.
Writer - PHILIP ROBERTS
Philip has more than twenty years of international experience in the field of film and television.
He has worked as a Screenwriter and Director, as well as operating camera for documentary and has also taught film in institutions in Europe and Southern Africa. In recent years, he developed curricula for shot and long film courses for Unesco Regional Film and Video and has devised and coordinated screenwriting workshops for the African Script Development Fund, the University of Namibia and Zimbabwe Open University.
Philip previously worked as a television journalist for international companies like associated Press Television News, CNN and WTN in the field of current-affairs reporting. He also worked in corporate television for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and for United Nations Television in New York amongst other and recently completed a programme on the History of the Pan African Congress for the SABC.
Philip co-written two feature films scripts commissioned by the British Film Council and had one film selected for the 1996 Director's Fortnight of Cannes Film Festival. He has worked as Script Editor for a number of NFVF and SABC funded scripts by first-time South African writers.
As Director, Philip has been commissioned to shoot a variety of television commercials as well as multi-camera television coverage of concerts, sporting events, music promos and documentaries.