A South African filmmaker has had her film nominated for the Mobile Film Festival, which this year centres on the theme, Making Peace with Nature. Now in its 17th year, the Mobile Film Festival is an annual, international festival of short-length movies, based on a simple principle: ‘1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film’.
Capetonian Lara Taylor’s The Beginning is one of the 50 films currently being screened online. The stop-frame animation looks at how simple it is to begin composting – and easy way for humans to start tackling the waste issue. After all, the City of Cape Town intends introducing a 50% restriction on organic waste being disposed of in landfills by 2022 and a 100% restriction by 2027.
“Composting seems like an easy way to start recycling and creating healthy soil is vital in our soil-depleted world,” says Taylor. “I am not a very good gardener but pretty good at creating compost! I also love stop-frame animation and had actually tried out a similar video during the first lockdown when we were all stuck at home so I thought to combine the two.”
Her intent, she says, was to show how “simple composting actually is and making it quirky and fun”. The visually appealing animation was inspired by Taylor’s children.
“My daughters love building fairy gardens and fairy houses so the ‘set’ was actually theirs as well as the dolls. The compost gathering was all organic waste from home and the paper cut outs were a combination of my nine-year-old – a budding artist – and myself. I wanted to keep that simplistic child-like feel about it all. The graphics and overlays were pretty easy to add in as I was going for a vintage, silent film look so an easy template to imitate. I’m a bit of a shoot-from-the-hip kind of person so the roughness of this kind of animation lent itself well to my style,” she explains.
Taylor says the Mobile Film Festival is a fantastic way of promoting and highlighting the “amazing power of cell phone videography”. She says everyone has a phone so anyone can make a film. “And the one-minute format makes these videos incredibly easy to watch. It would just be great if it was a means that more South Africans used, as we are abundant in stories and the creative ability for storytelling. Fortunately mobile film festivals like the MMOCA are starting to promote cell phone videography in Cape Town,” she adds.
She believes it is vital for every single person on the planet to be aware and take responsibility for climate change. “Anything from a simple act like picking up waste from the floor to advocacy films that can be widely shared and shift people’s attitudes and actions,” Taylor says.
Taylor is part of two media companies. Content Lounge specialises in story-driven films as well as writing and content strategy that makes a meaningful connection with the audience. “We make use of the power of social media and other platforms to spread a message. The kind of work we do ranges from web series to full length documentaries. From promotional products to e-learning videos and includes training and participatory filmmaking aspect,” she says.
She is also a co-founder of a multi-media co-operative called Mycelium Media Colab. She explains: “Mycelium Media Colab is an emerging collaborative enterprise that uses storytelling to create a regenerative and healthy world. Our innovative platform and multimedia content hub is based on collaborative, participatory values.
Like millions around the globe, Taylor has had a tough few years, with work being slow. Instead of languishing in despair, she picked up her mobile phone to film stories she is passionate about.
“These films have lead me to some amazing experiences – like traveling to Ukraine for an International, short documentary, pitching workshop as well as winning a short mobile film award at the MMOCA Film Festival in 2020,” she says.
“The ease and discreetness of filming on a cell phone opens up worlds that are otherwise unattainable. The power of sharing stories and information via a cell phone is exciting and I can’t wait to make more. In fact I am currently working on a short series about the homeless. A kind of campaign to break the barriers and attitudes some people have towards the homeless. Watch this space!”
The beginning | Lara Charlene Taylor | South Africa
#Positive changes #Activism #Waste #Comedy
The Mobile Film Festival organisers say their championing the democratisation of filmmaking by zeroing in on storytelling — and not big-budget productions while limiting film length to one minute, and free registration puts all filmmakers on equal footing, no matter their economic status.
One of its main objectives is to discover and support the film talents of tomorrow by helping them on the road to become professional filmmakers.
All the selected films can be viewed here.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.