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SA short film, 'Lina and Leo', released

Inspired by an Annie Leibovitz portrait of William Burroughs buried in a desert up to his shoulders, the 20-minute short film, 'Lina and Leo', has been released to online audiences.
Written and directed by Yolande Botha and produced by The Brave Cartel, the film is about struggling middle-aged journalist, Leo (Jeroen Kranenburg), who is hot on the trail of a hugely successful, but recluse surrealist artist for his next big story. Known only as “NJ”, the artist clearly doesn’t want to be found and Leo experiences one bizarre thing after another in the strange little town where his search has taken him.

Says Botha: “Even though the film is offbeat and has elements of surrealism at times, its theme is universal. It’s really about survival and what different people are willing to do to survive.”

The film was shot in and around the quaint Karoo town, Barrydale, with a small, dedicated crew. Cinematographer on the film was three times SAFTA winner Felix Seuffret, whose graphic composition gives the film its artistic look throughout. Features editor, Paul Speirs edited the film. Its bluesy, laid-back soundtrack was provided by Riaan Smit and the Crimson House Blues band for which the film won Best Use of Music at the Independent Mzansi Short Film Festival, 2015. It was at the IMSFF that it also received nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Short Film, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Sound Mixing and Editing. Morné Marais of Sound Surgeon is responsible for the rich sound scape that adds humour and drama to the film.

The film screened at various festivals including the Durban International Film Festival, the Indie Karoo Festival, Short&Sweet, the Cine Pobre festival in Mexico and will be screening at the upcoming Jozi Film Festival. It was also screened in Barrydale at its neighbourhood Smitsville, to share it with the community that was involved. Due to festival requirements, the film was not available online until now.

Lina and Leo (short film) from Yolande Botha on Vimeo.

The Brave Cartel is not a traditional production company, but a collaboration of different people being pulled in on different film and branded content projects. It was founded by Botha as a way to combine her 14 years’ experience as a copywriter and creative director in advertising with her passion for filmmaking. She completed her BA Honours in Scriptwriting and Directing at AFDA, Cape Town, in 2011.

Although she has, since its completion, finished other short films, including the twice SAFTA nominated ‘When We Were Kids’, ‘Lina and Leo’ is her first professional film and her biggest production to date. Says Botha: “Film making is definitely not for sissies. You have to really love it and want to be in it for the long run to keep motivated. Thanks to the helping hand of some incredible people, this film was made possible.”

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