(Maintained by IFFK Media Cell)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

IFFK: Interview with Mr. Brett Michael Innes

Q: Sir, you’ve worked as a documentarian, photographer and after working with various NGO’s, do you think all the experience has influenced your style of filmmaking?
A: Absolutely. I think the places I’ve been into, whether it’s warzones or malnutrition clinics, it changes you as a person and it informs how you see the world, which as an artist you always draw from that place. So, it definitely influenced this movie specifically and just me as a person.
Q: Would you mind telling us about the NGO’s you’ve worked with before?
A:  Yeah. There’s an NGO called ‘Joint Aid Management’. They’re involved with food and water relief in South Sudan, Gola - Mozambique in South Africa and then the others were just smaller orphanages.           
Q: ‘Sink’ is your first feature film and it’s been a breakthrough in South African film and it has been screened at various film festivals. Could you tell us how you got the idea of making a film like this?
A: I think, for me a lot of it comes from experiences I’ve had, travelling into non-profits and then just being in South Africa, seeing the world that I’m reflecting is one that I see every day, so it’s describing the world around me as opposed to making it up.
Q: Is this your first experience at the International Film Festival of Kerala?
A: Yes it is.
Q: How was the experience of watching your movie with the audience here?
A: I’ve had an absolute blast. I actually put on facebook as like ‘You’ve never watched a movie until you’ve watched it with an Indian audience’ because, there’s an appreciation for cinema and enjoyment which most of the places I watch movies, people are a lot more reserved and they don’t interact with the film, but here, the last few film’s I watched, you really sense the audience enjoying the art  
Q: Have you had any previous experiences in India or with Indian film?
A: No. I know Monsoon Wedding, Mira Nair’s. She’s great. We get a lot of film in South Africa. A lot more of the Bollywood genre, so, a lot more musicals. That kind of thing. But, the closest I’ve been to India to Nepal, Kathmandu but in terms of geographically it’s the closest I’ve been. So, it’s the first time for me. I’m very excited to see what dramas, thrillers other kinds of films you guys make.
Q: Does the implementation of policies or drives to eradicate poverty and those which would help the African people happen without hindrance?
A: It happens, but we have 30% unemployment rates. So, that is a big deterrent. We also carry a lot of scars, wounds and baggage from the previous apartheid regime. So, the correction of the imbalance of poverty and access to wealth, which happens according to class, which happens according to race, language…it’s only 20 years into democracy so, still we are figuring out how to do that. I think strides have been made but, there’s a lot more that needs to be done.    
Q: In India, censorship is followed. What about the freedom of creativity you get in Africa?
A: We have absolute freedom to create anything political, anything…whatever the sexual identity or violence, we have no censorship.  
Q: So, there was never a political intervention in creating films in Africa?
A: Nothing at all. You honestly can sell something quite provocative and you’d be allowed to.
Q: Sink deals with the lives of 2 female characters. Based on this, how would you link them with the status of women in Africa?
A: I think it reveals the class system which is regardless of male and female. So, the wealthy employers and the poor domestic workers. I think, with the status of women, it shows two very different stories. The idea of one woman who struggles with infertility, she’s a businesswoman, she’s strong, she’s used to having her life in control, she’s empowered and then, one who’s completely un-empowered and who loses her child.     
Q: Everyone has found this film to be really intense, even emotionally. Was it your intention to make it really intense?
A: Absolutely. I really want people to be moved. If you came out laughing I would’ve failed. Oh boy, and that would’ve been a failure as well.
Q: What about your future plans and projects?

A: I’ve written 2 scripts. The third one, I haven’t completed yet but, producer’s obviously packaging them at the moment. So, I’m waiting for them to tell me when everything’s in place with the money and then we’ll start making the movie. I’ve been writing a lot this year. So, been busy. 

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