5 questions with Jakkals13 director, Ari Kruger at the half-way mark.
Monday, May 15th, 2017
1Hi Ari! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Jakkals13? Thanks for having me as part of the festival!
My favourite short films are the ones that are simple and contained, that play out almost like a scene from a film. I'd been striving to make a short like this for years and kept challenging myself to keep things extremely simple.
I think the initial spark for the story was the idea that being a hitman could be considered an everyday job and that it wouldn't scare but rather annoy his roommate who had to put up with living with him.
2The set up to this film is so good because the last thing I expected was a call from his roommate. What has the general reaction been to this film and has it opened any doors for you? The general reaction has been really positive and it gets audiences laughing at festivals. My previous short film was tonally quite serious and it was hard to gauge the reaction from audiences based on their silence. I love making comedy because you know straight away when it's working, you're either getting the laughs or you're not.
The film was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick which helped it receive a lot of attention but other than that it hasn't really opened too many doors for me yet.
3What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? There actually wasn't a film that made me want to become a filmmaker. It was rather watching my dad make home movies using an old video camera and our VCR machine for the editing. I fell in the love with the process of making videos and the rewarding feeling of seeing it all come together.
Later on in life, I was inspired by the work of "DIY filmmakers" like Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh and Spike Jonze -- filmmakers who don't wait for the green light but go out and make their own work. I've always tried to keep myself busy with my own passion projects in between commercial work and a few years ago it shifted whereby now I'm lucky enough to be working on my passion projects all the time.
4What was the biggest challenge you faced making this film and how did you get through it? The biggest challenge making this film was actually myself.
I actually shot this film almost three years ago but really disliked it when I edited the first cut together. It was weird as I had achieved everything that I planned on achieving but I questioned all my decisions and as a result I shelved the project. When I revisited it a few years later, I realised that it wasn't as bad as I had remembered. I spent time crafting the edit to sharpen up the storytelling and it started to come together. I had originally planned for this short to be a quick and easy film to make but I was humbled by the experience and it reminded me how challenging filmmaking can be. Overall I'm very happy with it now and it's great that it's managed to find an audience at festivals and online.
5What's next? Our next project is a mockumentary TV show called "Tali's Wedding Diary" which will premiere on our local VOD channel called ShowMax . It's an eight part series about a self-obsessed kugel who has hired a documentary crew to film every stage leading up to her wedding (with dire results).
My super talented wife, Julia Anastasopoulos, and I have created and written the show and she stars as the lead character Tali.
Together, we are also the creators of a popular South African web-series called SuzelleDIY. I direct it and Julia plays Suzelle, where she demonstrates outrageous DIY ideas in her comedic persona of a particularly South African character known as an 'Afrikaans poppie'. It continues to keep us busy in between our other projects. Go watch it on YouTube!
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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