Rollahila - FILMTALK with Claudia Noble-Areff !

Updated: Oct 6

Claudia Noble-Areff on Set

Efefiong: Welcome to Filmtalk, a We entertainment production. My name is Efefiong Akpan. I launched my international script writing service with her motivation. Thirteen years later, after establishing a company in 2009, she is an award-winning director and producer in her own right. She recently produced an award-winning television miniseries inspired by the NAACP, Association of Coloured People.

That gave an award to a book titled Nelson Mandela’s Favourite Folktales. This reflects the eternal desire to make African filmmaking folklore stand out; motivated especially by late Rollahila, Mandela’s native name… which means spin or shake the branches of a tree. indeed, he did through his lifetime. a Mandela said,

Ít is my wish that the voice of the soldier would never die. That all the children of the world may experience the wonder the wonder of African stories…

…which basically used to be moonlit, in village. I don't even see it happening now; but I know that when I was a young person a young boy, we should have moonlit storytelling by elders. So today on film talk is Claudia Noble-Areff, an attorney, producer and director.

So, you're welcome!

Claudia: Thank you very much and I’m privileged to be here tonight.

Efefiong: I'm basically going to be talking about your mini tv series, which is very interesting. It will underpin pan-African folklore filmmaking, which would make Mandela very proud in his grave. I’m very sure of that; so while talking about your philanthropic strides, I suspect you're doing better protecting your intellectual property or movie assets as an attorney. Is that true?

Claudia: Rregretfully false! You know what they say, the mechanic’s own car is always broken; similarly knowing the injustice of our legal system and being an attorney, one does not always take proper care of own legal affairs. You're always worried about your clients matters.

I have ccertainly slipped up in some instances; but it does give you an advantage, when you need to take any legal action against anyone in particular. Because you know you have access to other attorneys, who are in the field. I've had that happen to me actually on an occasion, where I needed to take certain action and I was actually able to do that; because I was an attorney; able to protect my intellectual property

Efefiong: You just said it could be tricky. In Nigeria and recently we've had people expressing concerns about copyrighting creative assets; what advice do you give in terms of the copyright.

Claudia: You're supposed to post the document to yourself so that you have a postal address and time in which it was posted to you. You can say this was the date in which I posted it to myself, therefore it is copywritten on this date. But now you know the Act (legal act) needs to be updated, because we don't even use the post office anymore. We do have a copyright registry office, where you can submit your script. They can keep it there and say that they've received this script on this particular date and they register it in the office.

So, it's almost like a registration process and then if you want to prove that I registered my script that was exactly like this on that date you can go to the registry office and you get the proof. But you know as I said sometimes there's a lot of injustice in the law. You can actually do that and somebody can still take your idea and write a script and change a certain bit of the dialogue and say you know the story that you are telling is in the public domain and (so) domain, you don't have a right to that story. They can only change a few things in your script and still take your story and you don't have a legal to stand. But you could anyway try to fight it.

I had a circumstance like that; at the end it was kind of it could go my way or their way and so we rather came to a settlement agreement, because you never know what happens in the court of law.

Efefiong: This is my personal experience. Somebody would give me an idea; like I want a story about a pig. Okay pig is universal it's everywhere. He was like I have the right to your story. How do you handle that?

Claudia: Yeah, that's the thing. You see so I mean everyone can tell a story about a pig. It's just the actual dialogue. So did you copy this person's dialogue? I once had a person, who told me somebody stole their script and they were just waiting for that movie to come out. If one word you know one... it had to be a phrase. It couldn't be a word; one phrase was exactly the same as her phrase in her script; she was going to nail them. I didn't hear what happened. I guess they changed every line.

So, the story is about the pig, but it's the dialogue which must then be completely different. Then the person has no right, but if somebody steals your line that would be you know that will be when they've infringed on your copyright.

Efefiong: (Albeit) from all indications law seems to come naturally to you; so when did law allow you a foot room to begin to venture into filmmaking?

Claudia: Well, you know the thing is I practice on my own account; which means I’m the boss. Therefore, it's easy for me to go off work; if I needed to go to auditions or anything or even just take over a week to make a film. I also have an excellent support staff in my law office, who keep the files going even in my absence. But yes, it is very demanding and I put in long hours early mornings and late nights

Efefiong: Yeah, I agree with you. I mean having featured in about three things one of them being Baby Mamas, I was imagining how would she have spent time. You also have stage acting experience.

Claudia: Yes I do have stage acting experience. Well not really stage experience; much of sort of a diploma in drama for four years. I also studied in Hollywood. I went there for a month and I started with Margie Haber and her Call to Fame, where she trained the Rock. So, I was trained by the trainer of the Rock and there were a lot of international students who came to Los Angeles for that monthlong training. I met people from Germany and from the United Kingdom. At home you know we do present training and in terms of the film. I’ve gone to training with the National Film and Video Foundation and attended several workshops.

Recently I joined the Franklin Players and we just put on stage production and I must add that the production won Best Production, Best Ensemble, Best Script and Best Lead Actress and Best Director. So, it was absolutely a fabulous experience.

I haven't been on the stage for 25 years since my drama course with Tony Miller; when we you know I did it for our exams. It was the first time that I’d done something a little more professional. It was absolutely wonderful. I enjoyed it very much.

Efefiong: Impressive for somebody, who read law and is naturally a talented artiste. I looked through your look book, press kit or sales brochure. It revealed to me a sense of direction a sense of purpose. How did that influence come from the overall conception of the project you know; in terms of the animation series.

Claudia: Well, you know whenever you're looking for funding it's absolutely imperative that you put together your proposal. It is like what they call it a bible you know. It's your concept as to what it is that you want to do; so you cannot go out and look for funding without thinking your story through completely.

Who are your characters? How would your characters be portrayed? What are the characteristics of your characters? What is the look and feel of your story? What is the world of your story? What would be your backgrounds and what would your characters be looking? So, your bible or your look book must be done completely conceptualized before you commence with your production. Because[E1] that's when you're actually looking for funding and if you do have the time, you know it's even good to do a little trailer or a pilot when you're putting together your whole your concept.

Efefiong: I know about Pitch Deck, but I also know that a lot of us in Africa talk about funding, but we don't have sources of funding. That could be a very mean formal way or right way of presenting your project for production or funding. But is it that easy in South Africa?

Claudia: Oh no! When I started my production company in 2009, I wanted to obviously to get funding for a feature film and up to today 13 years later I still don't have the funding for that feature film that I started my business with. The first stumbling block I got was in order for you to get funding for a feature film you must have produce a short film. And because I never went to film school, I didn't even have a short film behind my name. So, I quickly got a team together and we did a short film and our short film was so popular. That's when I met you; when I was out there in Nigeria, when our film won a Most Outstanding Short Film award. lt did so well and from there we continued. Okay now we've done a short film, so we submitted the application for funding.

You start with development for funding first, because you need to develop your script. So, we did the development funding part. We got the money and developed the script. When the script was ready, we of course needed money to produce; so, then we applied for funding. So, there are always certain things you must have, because cinema like New Metro needs to say that when this film is produced, they will actually exhibit it. So that was a huge challenge to get those letters.

Even with my animation I needed to get a television station, because it's a television series to say that when this animation was done, they would license it. If I don't have those letters I won't even be looked at for funding and it's really difficult for filmmakers to actually get those letters. So, I battled for a long time with my feature form to get it.

I always say to filmmakers you can battle for 13 years like I have to make the feature film; but do so for other little things in between and that's what I did. I did same for tv movies for Nzanzi. I so did for a feature film that we thought might get to stay… but they never accepted it; because they said our budget was too low. So, we didn't have production value in it, but the thing is we made it. 13 years passed I still don't have the funding for my feature film.

I’ve done nothing with 13 years that have passed. I’ve worked on my big feature film, the big cinema blockbuster; I’m still not there yet. But, in the meantime, I’ve done all of this; so that's the important part, when you're looking for funding. It's really difficult, but with the animation we were fortunate that we met a gentleman called Nanda Steuben, who was a very well-known famous cartoonist internationally.

The KwaZulu Natal Film Commission gave us money for the development and production of the animation. So that you know we were fortunate to get the money, but it wasn't even nearly the amount of money that we needed. That's why even though I had 30 stories in book I was only able to produce six, because we didn't get sufficient money to do two more. Hopefully now that the six are out and if the six do well you know, we can go back and say can we have some more money.

Please you know because we we've proved ourselves with the little ones. They wouldn't give us 60 million, but they were prepared to give us like 4 million. You know that kind of scenario.

Efefiong: I am really intrigued because I mean I would also give it to South Africa, where you have seriously organized filmmaking sector. Do you believe that organization of the industry in your country must have sort of given you some level of credibility and integrity to go approach international bodies for funding?

Claudia: Well with the feature film that I’m busy with, it actually did help us. Because the National Film and Video Foundation gave us sort of like you know; they don't give you the whole budget. They approve the development then the the production because I had all the criteria. I got the letters that I required, but then I needed to go and find my gap funding.

So, then they sent us overseas to festivals, where we met co-producers from the Netherlands. They even have film festivals like the Durban International Film Festival, where the Netherlands Film Funds and people from all over the world would come to Durban and meet with filmmakers who can then pitch their projects products. So, we currently have a signed Co-production agreement with the Netherlands.

Now we're just needing that little gap money you know. We still have to make the film; but yes, I would say, because of the National Film and Video Foundation and the KwaZula Natal Film Commission. Definitely once they develop your project, approve your production, they do try to help you to get other co-productions and to be able to approach international companies. But the challenge is still they don't fill the gap.

We are still needing to fill the gap. I’m sitting here 13 years later still not being able to make my film.

Efefiong: I am still talking to Claudia Noble-Areff, an anttorney, phillanthropist and award-winning director producer. She's also a folkloric filmmaker; given the fact that she's producing a Pan-African cultural folklore animation series. Let me go back to Nelson Mandela. How deeply has he inspired you from time.

Claudia: What really was my inspiration to make this particular African folk tales was when I finished the short film about a ten-year-old girl. I said oh gosh children's stories are actually quite interesting. I started searching on the internet to look for children's stories. I came across the book (Nelson Mandela’s Favourite Folktales). I said oh this is by Madiba! It's African folktales. I mean we grew up on folktales like Cinderella, Snow White, Goldilocks; all folktales. I said but these are like all the stories Disney has been telling and animating all these years and I had a very keen interest in. So, like it’s amazing that one of the African folktales was exactly so in the book. Immediately I saw it African folktales; Nelson Mandela, I purchased the book. The one story for example, Snake Chief is exactly the same as Beauty and The Beast and Princess and the Frog, but set in an African setting. So that means we had those western stories, many years ago in African tales as well. When I read the forward in the book, I think you mentioned it in the beginning that was my main inspiration with Nelson saying that he wanted these stories to be heard by all the children in the world. I thought how are we going to let the children know about these stories? Children watch animation and that that was my inspiration to say these were Madiba's favourites. Therefore since we grew up as children on folktales, I want to now expose our children to African folktales.

Efefiong: Invariably that brings me to the question of what was the situation of the African child in South Africa in pre- and post-apartheid system. Because when I talked to Firdoze, also a filmmaker and activist she said something about the South African child being misrepresented. I mean havingt done this job now, what's your perception of the situation about African child in South Africa?

Claudia: You know when you think of the African child, the first thought that comes in your mind is that photograph of a child with fly on the face, dying of hunger. That's everybody's perception internationally. Internationally, when people talk about Africa that's what they think of; and that is why we need to break that stereotype of what an African child is.

I mean children no matter where they are Africa, Russia Ukraine anywhere. They are all the same. They just love to be told stories. They love to play. They all have the same dreams and hopes. This is the mindset; we need to change the negative mindset. When people think of the African child they need to think of a child, who is just a child. They're all the same!

Efefiong: So that brings us to the look and feel of the miniseries in terms of colour; interpreting the environment, culture and folklore ethical values and all that. How did the wholesomeness of colour separation, shooting, production, generally interpret what we might say is pro-social African child; presenting the African child in good pictures?

Claudia: What we wanted to do with the look and feel was to be traditionally ethnic you know. It had to show our heritage as it was in the mythical past. So, when we did our research for example, we looked at the clothing. If I take my one story Fasito Goes to the Market; it’s set in Uganda. It was at the time, when there were bicycles. So, when I went and looked and researched Uganda, I said, oh bicycles came in Uganda at this era. What were people wearing at that time? I was quite surprised to find that they were wearing traditional Muslim outfits; but there was very something very unique. They would wear the Muslim long dress, but they'd wear it with a suit. I thought well this is fantastic and we made sure that for each one of our stories, we went to that particular time in that country and made sure that we looked at the traditional ethnic clothing that was worn. We copied that same clothing the same thing with the background.

Fasito takes place in a plantation. He passes a hospital; ends up in the market. Google pictures of markets; the plan; the banana plantation. How would his father's house have looked and made sure that we were using that look and feel. Actual look and feel of that country; the same thing with the story of Snake Chief. It's KwaZulu Natal. How were their huts? They were round? What were they wearing? Traditional Zulu outfits. Cloud Princess: is set in Swaziland. What does she wear? Isn't it amazing it's about birds and what do you always see the Swazi’s way? They always have feathers in their hands; so, if you look at the story itself, it brings forward the ethnicity of the culture of the country that we are showing in in the series.

That was the important thing. That the look and feel was real. It was the actual country's ethnic clothing; the ethnic background of that country that we are representing in our film. Then for me (means) children were not just being entertained; but children could also learn about their heritage and about their cultural background.

Efefiong: I have this sense that when I saw rainbow colours, it reminded me quickly of Latin America with rainbow colours. The bright colours are essential you know; the interpretation of their heritage in terms of drumbeats and music. How did your choice of colours, basically now pull you into the global situation. The world is globalizing; so, in every situation cultures, will fight to represent themselves. How did that ethnicity or ethnic coloration pulled you into the global situation? How do you represent Africa in the global sense.

Claudia: You know the thing is as I said we didn't want to change anything. We looked at the traditional clothing worn. We made sure that it was that; we didn't adapt our clothing or adapt our story so that it could appeal to a global market. We made sure that it was authentic African.Now I think the reason that it is being accepted in the global market is because we have a lot of people in the rest of the world that are very interested in Africa. Who have their roots in Africa and who want to learn about Africa. Hence when they saw Mandela’s African Folk Tales, they were interested in watching it from that sense. Also, you know Mandela is a name that is known throughout the globe. That is our unique selling point. We didn't have to adapt anything for the global market to want to watch us. We were just African and they were interested.

Efefiong: Very interesting!

Claudia: You can be authentic in terms of dialogue in terms of constuming; mannerisms. You stand out and become unique and have that appeal. So, no matter what you do, you have to be yourself. In a way you know what you stand for and be appreciated the way you are.

The only time when you need to reach out globally is when there is a co-production. When you want to approach co-producers. For example, if you want to get a co-producer from Paris or you want a co-producer from Europe or America. You look at that typical story about Going to America, you know. You could start in an African country, but then you end up going to America. If you look at any of the big blockbusters these days I mean just look at one.

Look at Mission Impossible right; where they shot in five different countries. That's the global appeal in Dubai, Europe, United States; ending up in Canada. This is how you get international or global reach; by going into all those different countries.

These days with green screen for example my movie The Greatest Thing, has a scene where she’s (Protagonist) is in New York. We didn’t go to New York you know. We got some footage. You can get lots of footage that you can buy; of the taxis driving through New York. We showed her outside a building and then we're inside the building. We shot on green screen and she's in New York. That's how; if you need the international appeal for your film.

That is how you do it. You have locations in different countries and in particular. Approach the country; if you're approaching for example Canada; then you've got to have your character in Canada. That's how it works, but for this particular production my series we didn't get any international funding; so, we didn't have to change our script in order for us to have global appeal. We could just tell our story the way it is in the book. I did try to stick as close to the original folktale as possible.

We only deviated where we absolutely had to you know. It was maybe too violent like they eating each other.

Efefiong: I remember some guy told me he was doing shooting or shoot in four locations across the world. I was wondering how? It's very clear to me. Thank you so much!

Its all about how you could use locations in story to create thin line you know between cultures and people to sell your movies.

That takes me next to the next question. Do you have any remarkable event as a child or in your life that had always told you must do it. You must do something.

Claudia: You know; mine is actually like completely different; because at the end of the day my father didn't want me to.

I would say Iwas born to be a movie star, because like I can't remember a time that I didn't want to be in front of the camera. I just remember as a child, inviting all my friends down the street to come and watch me perform. I had this this pink polka dot dress on and I remember we listened to the radio because there was no television then.

I had this very vivid imagination, because you had to listen to the story in order for you to imagine what was happening there. I think listening to the radio and I had a little record player and we'd listen to stories on the record player. Then came television and the one thing that I have a vivid memory about is that I was watching a movie and there was Halle Berry this woman of colour on television.

I wanted to be on television and my dad said to me no my dear are we living in apartheid days. That's not going to happen. You need to begin education. There's no such thing as being in the movies. And when I was older you know and I finished my studies and I said, okay dad I want to go and study drama. It was no, you can study to become a doctor a lawyer or whatever. You're not going to study drama. So, I went and that's how I ended up being an attorney. My father said go and get a degree and then you can have something to fall back on. He always said you know you can teach drama or anything; but you need to have a degree and my father passed away, when I was just in my final year.

I always say that you know that was the time I could possibly have hopped on a plane and flown to Hollywood. To honour his memory, I went on with my legal studies and registered for the LLB and I completed my law degree. I thought like if I worked for myself, I’d be able to have the free time to pursue my acting.

That's why then well I finished all the to-do articles with the law firm and everything. I was also very fortunate then affirmative action kicked in and I ended up getting my articles. That was just wonderful, because not having to work every day made it possible for me to have lots of free time. you know; because conveyancing doesn't have that rigid time frames like being in court does. So, I did my diploma; did a four-year drama diploma.

I think I mentioned that earlier. I was then able to basically do both you know.

Efefiong: Critical events in your childhood that spured you into becoming a filmmaker. Yeah, I mean inevitably your natural intelligence made up for the arts, but you had to do your father’s will.

In all of this you've been a lawyer, added up with your philanthropy and you reached out to people like us in Nigeria. In your conceptualization of life what statement would you want to make. The most important thing in your life; something that is rewarding.

Claudia: You know work in my legal firm has always been rewarding to me. I’ve been instrumental in providing housing to the poorest of the poor. We have given hundred and fifty thousand households houses through my law

firm. I've established over a hundred townships and given title deeds to almost 50, 000 people. The joy that one sees on the face of an elderly lady, when she gets her title deed is just so rewarding. So, I think the most important thing in life is do something that makes you feel good about your life and even then, coming onto movie side of things.

Once we had finished our films and I went to go and show the films to some children on Mandela Day. I heard their laughter you know; because you worked on this project over and over again and you just don't see it anymore. But when I heard the children’s laughter and they were so engaged in the film; they were even doing exactly what the Sargoma was doing in the film.

They were so engaged, I felt so rewarded. And I thought, ‘Wow, well done!’ You know, like a tap on my own back and that's the most important thing. I think also in terms of my age you know, I feel that you're never too old to start something new; if you feel like a lot of women. Especially they would have been like, ‘Oh you have to go or even men might have had the idea that they wanted to do; follow a certain career path. But because of family commitments they had to go and do a job.

Now they've done their job and their children are grown and they're out of the house. They're saying oh my life is over! No way! I am just starting. You can do that!

Efefiong: Your production has won many awards. Could you simply say those awards have given you a sense of fulfillment. You've won so many awards. I can't start counting them.

Claudia: It's 16 today, because we just got another one this week you see it's not.

Efefiong: Yeah! I can't start counting them, but what awards, if you want to count like five that will summarize the whole essence of your life as a philanthropist, a lawyer, a filmmaker. Maybe, when you wake up in the morning, ‘Oh yeah, I think those are the ones I really say give me what I wanted in life.’

Claudia: You're saying award. When I started out my legal business. That is very early in my life. I developed a concept that was called Community Orientating Conveyancing; which took conveyancing out of the sterile office of the law firm and brought it to the community. Because the work that I did wasn't just that of sitting in the office and going to court. It was helping people in informal settlements; to get title deeds; become gentlemen who were working there.

We would train them there and help them to get subsidy in order to qualify for housing. But in 1998 I received The Best Emerging Conveyancing Firm Award. That was you know, when it just first started. It was given to me by the Housing Department of Human Settlements. In 2003 I received an award for the Business Women's Regional Achievers award; which I got in the professional category. A newspaper article actually said for my contribution to the regional economy. So those are the two of the things on the legal side that was most rewarding. Of course, when it was my very first short film that was like amazing.

I’m still like sometimes we did the short film just so we could qualify for funding for a feature film; yet it won an award. So that was really quite rewarding to me, when we won as I said the Most Outstanding Short Film. I won the Best Director Short Film for that film as well. Then now with these animations, I mean this has just been absolutely incredible. I mean best 16 Best Animation Short Form awards plus other category awards of Best Art Director, Best Episode Director, Best Editor, Best Music Score and of course Best Producer and then we got three Honourable Mentions . What was really wonderful to me was an Audience Choice Award that we received from the Manchester Film Festival in the United Kingdom. Were finalists in two festivals. We had a nominee in two festivals and overall, 17 official selections you know.

What was still incredible for me too was just… I’m still surprised to this day you know, that these recognitions came from countries like the United Kingdom, The United States, Australia, Germany, India, South Korea, Japan, Rome, Romania, Turkey and in of course Africa; from Egypt and Ghana.

Next month our short our films will be showing in in Egypt and this month it's actually showing in Ghana. Of course, you know to get recognition in your own country and South Africa. Our films were accepted at the Dublin International Film Festival. I'm still amazed you know. I wake up in the morning and just imagine you know, after a recognition of your job.

Efefiong: What advice would you have for the Nigeria film industry?

Claudia: Well, I think Nigeria’s made it like, can we in south Africa? Give Nigeria any advice? I mean I was told about this filmmaker who made a film. He was able to get it out to so many people. He made 10 million from the film. I thought that was like amazing. You know what, Nigeria has what South Africa does not have.

It has people, who are interested in local films. We for example would make a local film, we can't even get it into our cinemas; because the cinemas that have to exhibit will say nobody will come and watch. That's what they did to me, my movie The Greatest Thing.

When I was in Nigeria what I found was that the Nigerian people support local films and this was incredible to me. Of course, I imagine that the Nigerian filmmakers would want to go international now; because I think you've nailed the local market. Then I think it would be about improving the quality of the films. I think at the certain quality it is now, that's okay for at home; but if you want to go international, they would have to improve production value.

Some time, we were watching a (Nigerian) film once on television. I saw the boom in the picture. They didn't edit it out you know; but as I said for me the most incredible thing is the fact that that home, local supports local and we don't have that here yet in South Africa.

Internationally it would have to be lifting the standard of production. I was told my film needs better production value. You need more, but you can only do that with money you know. I mean I could have given them production value, but they gave me 50 million and that's where the challenge comes. So, you're sort of sitting with an egg and chicken situation.

You want to be able to do films that have great production value; but in order to do that you need money. How you get that one is everybody's biggest challenge. I guess you just have to wait for that moment that something falls from heaven. That lucky break!

Efefiong: Yeah, I’m still talking to Claudia Noble-Areff, Attorney, philanthropistt and award-winning director, producer and she's a folklorist filmmaker. As at today she's won so many awards. It's so interesting because you are…

Claudia: Yeah, I think it was 2011, when I came down to Nigeria at the AMAA Awards or the Audio-Visual Awards. Yeah, then that would have been, I think maybe yeah it would have been around, when I made my short film. Because we were nominated for an AMAA Award and we travelled up you know. I know it was further up North. It wasn't in Lagos. We travelled to go to the AMAA Awards.

That was quite an experience it was wonderful. I always tell everyone it was like the African Oscars. So, I mean regarding the you know voluminous production apart from production value.

Efefiong: Apart from the voluminous production, production value and the market, have you ever thought of a co-production in Nigerian?

Claudia: You know I met Nigerian filmmakers. They had this lovely project about this young man, who was a singer and I thought well. oh I can't you know tell you the story. Just in terms of their own copyright; but it was such a beautiful story. It also had the element of coming to South Africa you know. That's what you need for a co-production. Things happening in Nigeria; things happening South Africa for a show. I was so interested in this film. I was talking to them we met up and everything; but I think they thought I was too small you know. They didn't really want to work with the filmmaker. I was a single you know; female filmmaker. I think they were looking for a bigger production company to co-produce with. It was quite disappointing, because I really loved the storyline that they were selling.

Efefiong: I shouldn't see your being a small production company as an obstacle; because I mean if you're doing it Nigerian and South African co-production, he could go to America and say this is Nigerian-South African co-production. You can make it an American-Nigerian-South African co-production. So, for me I usually say it's a matter of trust. It's a matter of like you do, you aimed for so long and this is where you are. I mean you’ve won so many awards. So, for me sometimes patience is wealth; is key to breaking in.

There are three things that you must possess: patience, trusts, you know and vision of the future.

Claudia: If there are any Nigerian filmmakers out there please contact me.

Efefiong: I work for a tv network and we have series of project like. We have about six IPs that have been pending to see if we can co-produce. So, we are actually looking for funding. Talking about Script Life Cycles.

Claudia: The National Film and Video Foundation[E2] (NFVA -South Africa) follows the Hollywood formula of script writing. So, when you get funding from them, they go through the process. You do the treatment first. Your treatment goes to the editor. The Editor checks the treatment. Okay? They're happy with the treatment; you then go on to step outline. Then from step outline you can go into first draft. We normally do about three or four drafts before a final draft. Then that process is to and fro between the writer and the script editor. The important thing is to ensure that you have your character's journey plotted correctly; because if you watch a Hollywood film you always see it is character driven. Stories that are not character driven do not engage the audience; so, it is character driven.

It has an exciting incident that happened within 10 minutes time and you know it then you have certain things. I don't know all of them, but that has to happen to the character throughout their journey in that film. They make sure that all of those elements are in your story and so that's not something you can work out in two weeks or three weeks.

I would say that you should take at least a month minimum; maybe three months you know to make sure that all the elements are in there. Then even after a script editor is to send the final draft to a script consultant and you have a lot of international script consultants as well that would then give you further information; pointers on your script and what you can do to improve the script. So, I think the NFVA formula is actually really a good one and when I receive scripts from anyone (I’ve got two waiting to be read); if I don't see a character journey. if there's no inciting incident. if there's no resolve for the character; if he doesn't reach his lowest point, you know there's no story there. So, and you already know that these writers just put thoughts together.

Writing is not just putting thoughts together. If you want a good screenplay you got to follow the Hollywood formula.

Efefiong: Do you also believe that we can have a different kind of structure in terms of the character journey; because I know that some filmmakers have had to shoot movies without actually following the Hollywood model. But then still tell a good story.

Claudia: Who do you want to see your film? You might think you are telling your good story, but if you want to get it onto the international market shouldn't you be following the international formula? I’m sure it's okay maybe just for local, but if you want to engage your audience.. there was… you wouldn't believe it….

I’m actually quite honoured about this. My daughter met a young girl who was studying it. They was were doing script analysis of a film and they were using my film to do it.

Now students are actually learning from my movie; so, I would not if anybody comes to me, I’m going to want to follow the Hollywood formula. I’m not going to digress. I think it's a personal choice; because as I said, I allowed the digression and what did I end up with.

Efefiong: Well, you know last question. In all of these fulfillments and happiness and awards and everything; what have you done? What impact have you had on South African film industry.

Claudia: Well, no I don't think I’ve arrived anywhere; because I haven't made the big blockbuster yet. Oh, I think I need to do the blockbuster you know. I need to have a feature film that opens at opening night at Durban International Film Festival or closes the film festival to have made any mark in South Africa as a filmmaker.

I think I’m still seen as you know one, who needs to have a feature film behind your name. I think that's pretty important. And the one I have was a blockbuster. So, you know I’m hoping that this film that I’m working on now the one that is called the Dam: about a tragedy that happened in 1985. It's inspired by two events that happened in South Africa and it's the one that we're co-producing with the Netherlands. I think that this one once that film is done then I can say well I made my mark as a filmmaker in South Africa.

I think that at the moment I’m still you know…I don't think so; but a lot of people would tell me no; gosh look how many films you've made. I think that I personally will feel that I’ve achieved something once I have the feature film behind my name.

Efefiong: You just said you're going to reflect a real-life event in a movie. How should Africans use movies to tell to expose the fabric of our history, of our values, of our identity and dignity.

Claudia: The important thing to have when you're doing that is a good script; because when I started off with this particular form that I’m talking about, we didn't try to approach co-producers. At that time, we were telling the story from a completely different perspective and just in changing the perspective in which you were telling the story landed us the co-production. You know, so it's not just the subject matter, but the angle from which you portray that subject matter that makes it different. As to whether you're going to be able to tell a good story and to reflect those values in the story that you are telling. So, I think it's really important to actually tell stories historical stories of events that took place; but you have to do it from the perspective of somebody who experienced that history. Because if you're just telling the facts, it's a documentary. But if you take one character and you tell the story from the perspective of that character and follow that character’s journey within the historical events.

Efefiong: That's right! Thank you so much for talking to us Claudia Noble-Areff, attorney, philanthropist, award winning director- producer of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales Television miniseries. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook. Thank you so much!

Claudia: Thank you so much! Thank you to your company. I’m very privileged to have been given this opportunity to chat with you; and thank you to you for the wonderful work that you're doing out there and for exposing us as filmmakers and giving us the opportunity to tell our stories to the world. Thank you!

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