A local horror movie, written by a Bo Kaap resident, which was listed on Forbes’ list of Top Ten Horror Films of 2021, opens to local audiences this Friday.
The movie has already shown in 20 countries around the world.
Gaia, made in the Tsitsikamma forests, also won a number of awards at the recent Silwerskerm Film Festival Awards. Among these were best screenplay, best director Jaco Bouwer, best makeup and hairstyling (Sulani Saayman), best sound design (Tim Pringle) and best editing (Leon Visser).
Writer Tertius Kapp, who attended Jan van Riebeeck primary and high schools and lives in Bo Kaap, told Atlantic Sun Gaia was an “ecological horror”
“The inspiration came from several sources, the climate crisis as well as some biblical references too,” he said.
The movie stars Monique Rockman (Gabi), Alex Van Dyk (Stefan), Anthony Oseyemi (Winston) and Carel Nel (Barend).
“People think of Gaia as a loving earth mother, but in this case it’s a vengeful mother. It’s about a father and son that lives in the wilderness and the protagonist is a park ranger that discovers the strange beings that live in this forest,” explained Mr Kapp who holds a Creative Writing Master’s degree from Stellenbosch University.
“It’s a horror film with an intelligent undercurrent and it’s shot beautifully, so there’s beauty in this horror.”
The shoot started in March 2020 and concluded in July so the actors and crew experienced different weather over this time period.
“It was difficult in this location, the weather is unpredictable, the bugs, the terrain, and carrying all the equipment so that was a challenge,” said Mr Nel, who also starred in Raised by Wolves.
“It’s classified as a horror but I would add that it leans to a magical thriller with elements of horror,” he said.
“I approached it as a human living in a forest and yes there are situations that are horrific when things attack them. The organism in Gaia reminds me of Covid, something that is threatening humanity and the character I play sees the destruction of the earth and questions what he should do.
“It’s very important to understand why this character does what he does and I hope in a way the audience agree with him. I know people are concerned about climate change, so this character speaks to that understanding.
“Movies should not force you into a way of thinking and this movie will make you ask questions, make you think about your beliefs, the conservation of the earth, so it will definitely challenge you to ask questions.”
The movie showed in 20 countries last year and won the SXSW Zeiss cinematography award as well as the best international feature at the Trieste movie festival in Italy.
“We have the capabilities in this country with our crews, directors, writers, producers and actors to compete internationally and to make stories for the rest of the world to watch,” Mr Nel said.
There will be a limited showing at the Labia theatre from Friday April 22, as well as on DSTV’s Showmax channel.