DIRECTOR Etienne Fourie loves telling stories, and since he really loves films it seems a natural fit to combine the two.
The 26-year-old’s debut feature, Die Windpomp, opens on circuit on Friday,
capping a heady almost two-year process of turning his fourth year short film (as he graduated from Afda) into a full-length feature.
While he was involved with making the poster, he has left the marketing strategy to ZenHQ (the production company headed by Chris Roland, who bankrolled the feature), having spent more time worrying about the actually making of the film.
While he agrees that making films is a business with specific targets, he’d also like to think that it should be first about telling stories in a truthful and sincere way, which is what the potential viewers will respond to.
Still, he needed a focus and in truth, he says, he made Die Windpomp for his two older sisters.
“The one is this fun party girl, she has such a good sense of humour; such a fun person to be with. The other one is this incredible classy lady and she loves the romance and the smell of books, and good wine.
“I really wanted to write a story, and that’s where the short story started that both of them would like. “I think that’s why it’s hard for the marketers, because it’s aimed at both younger and older audiences. When you say that to people – ‘any person can watch this film’ – they think you’re lying,” said Fourie.
The Jeffrey’s Bay-born Capetonian is just full of ideas for other films, and that’s not even drawing on some of the novel ideas he has lying at the bottom of the drawer that no one else has seen yet.
He would like to eventually adapt a novel, which doesn’t have to be his own, but for now he’s got to get his own ideas out of his head first.
In Die Windpomp he deliberately created a very hyper-stylised feeling when the main character walks into an old age home for the first time, drawing on his own personal experience.
“When I’m walking into my grandma’s house, there’s always one or two things that sort of jump out at you,” he said.
Fourie started off as a painter before he got into film-making, and describes himself as obsessive compulsive about details to the point where he toyed with the idea of symmetrically framing every single shot in the film (which he didn’t do because it would’ve been too unsettling).
“The symmetrical framing only applies to certain characters in specific situations,” he assured.
“That’s where all this stuff comes from though, the quirky gnomes… I wanted to create an entire world that is very familiar to us as South Africans but then heightened, more colourful and filmic, and crazy.
“Because that’s always interesting to watch.”
He doesn’t look to a specific director for inspiration, rather holding on to specific moments in different films which appeal to him.
“It varies quite a bit. I like the classic stuff. I’m not cool enough so that Quentin Tarantino is my favourite,” he chuckles.
Fourie describes one scene in The Jacket (2005) in which Keira Knightley is sitting in a bathtub, smoking a cigarette.
“It’s just this very simple set-up and the beautiful thing to me, and that’s something I always try for, it’s a very peculiar mix of emotions, it’s not something you feel in everyday life.
“That’s the point of watching a movie, you want to experience something you don’t experience going to Pick n Pay to buy bread.”