Linden director on her film Meerkat Maantuig

Meerkat Maantuig actress, Anchen du Plessis watches writer and director, Hanneke Schutte, on set of the film's shooting. Photo: Dehan Janse van Rensburg

A Linden director’s film, Meerkat Maantuig, has been accepted to screen at 12 international film festivals before its official screening in South Africa.

The film releases in South Africa on 16 March, and the Times caught up with director Hanneke Schutte who lives in Linden about making films as a woman.

Schutte explained that she has been living in Linden for the past nine years.

“I love living here! It feels like you’re living in a small town,” she said.

Schutte explained that she has been in the film business for the past 12 years. She said she started off in the advertising industry before she switched over to film.

“It was a long, hard road and I had to write many scripts before I finally got to make my first film,” she said.

Schutte is one of the few female South African directors. She explained that breaking into the industry has been challenging but she tries not to focus too much on the difficulties.

“I try and create my own opportunities by writing constantly, entering script competitions and getting my work out there. You have to hustle and work hard to get to a place where people take notice of your work,” she said.

When asked if she feels that she’s paving the way for other female directors, she said she hopes she is and said that she surrounds herself with talented females throughout her filmmaking process.

“I think as soon as we see more females in those positions, it shows us it’s possible. Our first assistant director was female, one of our editors was female, our sound designer, as well as our musical score composer, were female,” she said.

Schutte said she tries to give women the opportunities they need to get ahead in this industry.

 

A character in Meerkat Maantuig, Bhubesi, is described as brave and full of life. Photo: Dehan Janse van Rensburg

Regarding the film, she said it was inspired by an Afrikaans novella, Blinde Sambok by Riana Scheppers. Because the book was short, Schutte had to add to the story in order to create a cinematic full-length feature film.

When asked if there was a bit of herself in the script and by extension the film, she said it was important to imbue the film with her own vision and personality.

“I changed some of the characters’ names to my grandparents’ names and I added some quirky elements in that represent my tastes and worldview.

“I also wanted the film to leave people feeling inspired and really thinking about the fears in their lives that are holding them back from achieving great things.”

 

She added a maantuig (moonship) to the storyline and set the film in the forests of Magoebaskloof in Limpopo so as to create a magical, almost fairytale quality to the film.

The film took five weeks to shoot – one week’s shooting took place in Krugersdorp and four weeks in Magoebaskloof and will be screened in cinemas nationwide.

ALSO READ: Linden’s film buff on his latest offering   

  AUTHOR
Roxy de Villiers
Journalist

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