Behind the scenes: Cape Town’s Happy

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Copy of ca p3 Shamiel Soni & Nicki Priem done INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Director of the the Happy video, Shamiel Soni, left, and producer Nicki Priem. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - It was a case of happy feet all over the Mother City when three local filmmakers decided to make a video to the soundtrack of music sensation Pharrell Williams’s infectious hit Happy.

Local directors Shamiel Soni and Tannan Woods, and producer Nicki Priem, were part of a production team that made their own music video featuring Capetonians dancing all over the city. And they did it in just one day, with no funding, and equipment donated by Panavision Cape Town.

They were inspired by Williams’s 24 Hours of Happiness campaign where fans from cities around the world were asked to submit their own videos to his chart-topping tune. It was also a celebration of International Day of Happiness on March 20.

Soni said he had decided to make the video after seeing how other countries responded to the challenge.

“I was online and stumbled across these videos – I loved seeing the craze spreading in places like Asia, North Africa, America, Europe and Australia.

“I was working on a film at the time and thought it would be a good idea if we did our own video for Cape Town.”

It took Soni and his team only 16 hours in a single day to get all the dancing footage they needed, starting at 6am on Muizenburg beach on March 9 and ending at 10pm in Long Street. Footage was shot in a variety of locations including Bridgetown, Langa, Woodstock, the Company’s Garden, Sea Point Promenade, the Bo-Kaap and the famous Charly’s Bakery in the city centre. Producer Priem said Cape Town was an ideal location for spreading a message of happiness.

“Cape Town needs something like this. Everyone else has done it and the message of happiness is being spread across the world. Everyone should be happy, which is a message we want to spread in Cape Town.

“This is a beautiful city and we wanted to show the actual Cape Town in the video, which is its people.”

There was no shortage of dancers as Soni and Priem had spread news of the project via social networks, family and friends.

Most of the dancers were not professional, but they were enthusiastic, and they turned up at every location. There was even an appearance by local comedian Siv Ngesi.

“When the camera was out and the music was playing, people just joined in on the spur of the moment. Like a woman in Parkwood who slid over a car and started dancing,” laughed Soni.

Priem said: “The people of Cape Town just brought it on that day. We had no money for the project, but to make it happen and get that number of people to come on a Sunday was amazing.”

The video, which lasts just over four minutes, was launched on YouTube on Monday and already has had over 100 000 views, which took Soni and Priem by surprise.

“Hopefully in the future we can get funding and do something like this for the whole of South Africa,” said Soni. - Cape Argus

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