Posts Tagged ‘Barend Buitekamer’
A twisted tale about how BlackMilk’s new short film, Anna, was born.
– by Barend Buitekamer
By a sheer twist of fate I somehow got drawn into BlackMilk Productions, after I was afforded the opportunity to have some of my de-compositions read at a sideshow event (Bloody Parchment) during the South African Horrorfest in 2010. I attended the screening of a short film they entered into the Horrorfest at the time. Needless to say, Regression was just as hauntingly beautiful as it was powerful and creepy. Frame by frame it was a work of art.
I have to point out that I’m very careful when I use the word ‘art’. Art is in the eye of the beholder, but very often and ironically, ‘creativity misunderstood’ is classified as ‘art’ by beholders destitute of any artistic insight. Maybe this was the case when a critic labeled Jornada del Muerto, also by BlackMilk Productions, as weirdo noir that belongs in an art gallery.
Regression was dark, macabre, surreal, and damn disturbing for a short film. Hence, it won the award for best short film at the 2010 Horrorfest, which came as no surprise. Its legacy lingered and it also set a high standard in the genre of short horror films. To make short films that linger long in the memories of those who appreciate them, is a form of art in itself. The actual film is the end result of intense focused creative energy projected onto the retinas, and then into the minds of viewers by an artistic collective.
The core of BlackMilk Productions is made up of four eccentric semi-sane individuals with a passionate love for filmmaking. They are: Estè Kira (Art and Production Design), Leon Visser (Director of Photography and Editor), Ronnie Belcher (Director, Writer and Sound Design), and Thomas Dorman (Director and Writer). Together they are a creative force to be reckoned with.
When I got news that BlackMilk Productions was working on a film for the 2011 Horrorfest my blood immediately started boiling with excitement. When they informed me that my involvement was required in the film my blood boiled over. Some drops landed on the script and some on the set.
Humbly maintain that I don’t deserve any credit for bloody smears or stains in the production ofAnna, but I was threatened with torture and dismemberment. Let’s face it, I can’t act my way out of a parking ticket or into a coffin. So, how was I to be or not to be the miserable and dodgy desk clerk of a creepy and ill-omened small town hotel? It was decided that I should just be myself and; or imitate the six legged resident evils indigenous to cockroach hotels.
By the way, to enhance the fear-factor a variety of insects were used in the production of Anna. This includes maggots, super worms, and hissing cockroaches. None of them were harmed or eaten by BlackMilk Productions. Food and catering on set was provided by Marie Lourens, who had the difficult task to satisfy the culinary needs of both vegetarians and cannibals. It was Marie and Nerine Dorman who convinced me to eat my first fish head at a BlackMilk fish braai staged for the collective. I just couldn’t do those eyes.
No army can march on an empty stomach, but no army of actors were needed to make Anna a memorable cinematic event of shock and awe. Instead, a select few was auditioned and eventually chosen for their commendable acting skills. They are: Jessica Miles, Alexander Hart, Shane Mullis, and Noa Shortridge. Without them the production of Anna would’ve been a mission impossible.
The story of Anna starts off when a lonely couple meets on a sunny day on a deserted rural road on their way to Cape Town. An unfortunate event leads them to spending a night together in a creepy small town hotel. A night of unspeakable terror lies ahead, as a cycle of pleasure and pain comes to a bloody conclusion.
Estè, who was responsible for SFX make-up, almost had her hands full (of real blood) to make sure there was enough fake blood on set to realistically enhance the film’s bloody conclusion. Her excellent skills as art and production designer really came into being, when she had to create an unsuitable environment out of an already unsuitable environment, and transform San Remo Guest House in Gardens into the Hell-a-Day Inn. San Remo is soon to become San Removed, because it was recently sold by its owner after becoming a decrepit haven for the desperate and destitute. This includes drug dealers and prostitutes. Whilst on set I overheard more than one argument turn into death threats, but in comparison with certain characters in Anna, the characters of San Remo were peace activists.
The outdoor scenes for Anna were shot on the long and winding roads in the picturesque outskirts of Philadelphia on the West Coast. I’m convinced that a few passing motorists and locals were perplexed by the bizarre events taking place next to the roadside. “No! There wasn’t an accident! No! We’re not shooting a Marilyn Manson music video. We’re just shooting an advertisement for tomato sauce! No! We’re not in any way affiliated with Ed Gein.” Get my drift?
Being on set with BlackMilk Productions has its dangers. One can easily die of laughter when Leon, Thomas, and Ronnie start telling their notoriously twisted mother-jokes. Then there’s also some innovative and sometimes funny props that become part of, dare I say watermarks, in BlackMilk films. In Anna there’s a BlackMilk beer label, a packet of BlackMilk cigarettes aptly named Coffin Nails, and a bottle of BlackMilk Bourbon. As part of the soundtrack, even a BlackMilk sermon was delivered by Reverend Ronnie for the twisted individual who came up with the idea of Vleisgenoot as the name of a porn magazine. That individual is me…
Anna’s soundtrack contains music by K.O.B.U.S! and, believe it or not, Charles Jacobie. In my opinion, this effect of contrast and potential is a Jungian principle that enhances both the visual focus and auditory tension of the film without diluting the energy of Gestalt.
Ronnie and Thomas took equal turns in skillfully directing Anna, but without the keen cinematographic eye and camera skills of Leon, the film would’ve had less of a visual impact. Anna has a more linear script than other BlackMilk films, and this proved to be not only a challenge for the directors, but also for the cameraman. Between Leon, Thomas, and Ronnie they managed to blur the lines of a linear script with just enough surrealism and atmosphere to accentuate the storyline, but not to reveal the plot. Estè added her touch by placing the actors in realistic environments; so that they could immerse themselves into the ambience and story of Anna.
The plot started when Ronnie and Thomas started writing the script on 15 July 2011, just before Jornada del Muerto was filmed. The shot list was completed by 15 August 2011. Filming took place on 27 & 28 August 2011 and the bulk was completed from 2 to 4 September 2011. Editing and sound was done by 17 September 2011 and the trailer was released upon an unsuspecting world. The plot thickened a week later when Anna was screened for the first time to cast and crew at an exclusive and very decadent event in Leon’s apartment.
And then, the plot got even thicker when BlackMilk Productions was nominated to make a short film for the shnit Real Time Competition hosted by shnit shortfilmfestival. Their film was screened and won the Real Time Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film.
I find it onrusbarend (disquieting/foreboding) that this BlackMilk film was called Onrusbarend. Onrus is a fictional town in one of my short stories, Barend is my name, and Anna is a sinister character in more than one of them. Somehow she seems to follow me… to haunt me. Anna will be screened at the Labia Theatre on Orange Street at the end of October 2011 in Cape Town during the South African Horrorfest. Anna will be there. She wants to meat… oops sorry… meet you.