Michael Gondry


Making your own movie may not be as easy as 1, 2, 3, but the Home Movie Factory takes you through the whole nine. On a budget. It is the brainchild of the Oscar-winning French film-maker, Michel Gondry.

That would be the guy who brought you Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

As a part of the French Season in South Africa, The Bioscope independent cinema in Joburg, in partnership with The National Film and Video Foundation, hosts the interactive exhibition that helps the ordinary Joe and a few strangers bond over making their own film at the MOAD Building in the Maboneng District.

The Home Movie Factory was launched in Jozi last week, and while Gondry was meant to be at the proceedings, unfortunately he wasn’t able to make it.

Having taken more than six months to plan, the Factory is open from 9am to 6pm and is free to the public until October 25.

So how exactly does it work?

Well, groups or individuals can go to the Factory (booking your space in the film-making process would be good, but isn’t essential) where they will be added to a team of five other people whom they may or may not already know.

The team then enters a room where they are to brainstorm their genre, the plot (with scene-by-scene guidelines) and required to choose the cameraman. Aside from the cameraman, everyone else will have to play a role in the production.

Following that, they may choose their props from a room full of wigs, moustaches, toy guns, festive clothing and other items you might need to pull off a film in a day.

The Factory is divided into different rooms that come alive with the touch of the first-time actors.

For instance, there is a taxi with raggedy seats that you all can pile into. Attached to the windows are big screens that show the moving picturesque landscape of the countryside and the city with the options to choose a night-time or day-time setting.

So the taxi stays stationary while the screens give the illusion of a moving vehicle and your scene may be played out in there. You can also shoot in a church, a doctor’s room, a lounge, a video store or a shack – complete with a Bible scripture emblazoned on a bronze plate.

The different rooms allow for realistic scenarios, including a real-life drop-top car that stands in front of a gigantic screen that depicts images that would be perfect as the backdrop to a car chase or a romantic moment shared between two lovers.

“The experience is the result,” said Clémentine Charlemaine, association manager of the Home Movie Factory, “so don’t worry if the film [you make] isn’t the best you’ve seen. You’ll have so much fun here that it won’t even matter.”

Once the film is shot and everyone is happy with it, only one DVD of the “home movie” will be made and this will be given to one person. The idea is that the rest of the group has to meet the person who was given the DVD to make copies, thus sparking a proper friendship with people you’ve only just met that day.

This is great, unless, of course, you end up not enjoying working with those particular people.

On the flip side, you can go to the Factory again for a second shot at movie-making made easy.

The French Season in South Africa continues until November. For more information, visit www.france-southafrica.com