The making of Girl From Nowhere
Girl From Nowhere was a micro-budget production, filmed in two weeks, in the Cedarberg mountains. The film was produced and funded by director Mark Jackson, who also wrote the script, drew the storyboards, filmed it, and edited it, making this a unique production and perhaps can rightfully claim to be an example of 'South African Auteur Cinema'.
An interesting aspect is that location was without electricity, so the film was shot almost entirely in natural light. Night scenes were lit by firelight and paraffin lamps, with only one LED lamp as backup.
The Cederberg area is famous for its starry skies. In the outdoor dancing scene, a real shooting-star can be seen in the background. Daytime temperatures were sometimes well into the 40's (celsius), adding to the challenges.
Our location on Petersfield farm. Citrusdal is very close, but hidden by the hill. This photo was taken in August 2013. We started filming in January, after a fire had swept through the area, burning much of the green vegetation.
The first day we spent checking the light and scouting for where to shoot.
Bruce is a professional stills photographer.
Robyn and Colleen are highly talented sisters.
41 degrees, in the shade, at 5pm. Welcome to the Cedarberg in mid-summer. It set the mood, but created challenges – actors could only be in the sun for 15 minutes, and we worried about their skin tanning or burning. I had sweat in my eyes looking through the viewfinder.
We timed the shoot to co-incide with full moon, so we'd have maximum light. We were incredibly lucky with the weather - it rained for a whole week just before we started.
There was no electricity on location, and we could't afford a genny truck and extra crew, so the film was lit by paraffin light.
With the exception of 1 LED panel, everything was shot with natural light, because it's much cheaper, quicker, and looks more... natural.
Spot the real shooting star in the background.
It was while shooting this scene, that Gareth correctly pointed out that the paraffin lamps were a serious fire hazard. When I went outside in the dark to get a fire bucket...
...I stepped on this little guy. So I jumped in the pool to alleviate the stinging. Gareth took this photo, and then the creature ran (very fast) towards me and jumped in the pool. And disappeared (it was a rock pool). The next day no actor wanted to swim (because scorpions can survive days underwater) This happened to be a deadly poisonous guy (google it). On the farmer's advice, I was rushed at midnight to the local clinic, who insisted I stay. And so we lost half a night/morning shoot.
We shot this on the edge of a 'koppie' (small hill) without safety lines or insurance. But it does look much higher in the movie, thanks to a wide-angle lens.
Christia as a Bond girl, and my uncombed hair.
The base of the koppie is only accessible by boat, meaning gear and crew had to row across.
It's amazing where you can squeeze a sound-person.
The clouds gave a great look, but made filming and editing tricky, as the sun kept disappearing, and the light shifting.
I wish I could have used this in the film.