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.

location
location

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.

Bruce
Bruce

The first day we spent checking the light and scouting for where to shoot.

Koppie
Koppie
Bedroom Crew
Bedroom Crew

Bruce is a professional stills photographer.

knox2
knox2

Robyn and Colleen are highly talented sisters.

41b
41b

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.

Another hot day
Another hot day
Full Moon
Full Moon

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.

Candle-light
Candle-light

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.

Night swimming
Night swimming
Water-shot
Water-shot
Christia and Jzadir
Christia and Jzadir
Jzadir and Scot
Jzadir and Scot
Natural Light
Natural Light

With the exception of 1 LED panel, everything was shot with natural light, because it's much cheaper, quicker, and looks more... natural.

comet
comet

Spot the real shooting star in the background.

Bed
Bed

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...

Parabatus Granulatus
Parabatus Granulatus

...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.

Cliff-side
Cliff-side

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.

As we shot it.
As we shot it.
Sunday
Sunday
Director
Director

Christia as a Bond girl, and my uncombed hair.

Boat
Boat

The base of the koppie is only accessible by boat, meaning gear and crew had to row across.

Swim
Swim
Robyn
Robyn

It's amazing where you can squeeze a sound-person.

roadsude
roadsude

The clouds gave a great look, but made filming and editing tricky, as the sun kept disappearing, and the light shifting.

Star
Star

I wish I could have used this in the film.

Gareth
Gareth
Almost the entire cast and crew
Almost the entire cast and crew
Carla
Carla
Lee
Lee
Anne
Anne
Nic-&-Jonny
Nic-&-Jonny