The new Woodwind poster has been released especially for film festivals; it is designed and photographed by Marcel Duvenage.
With Woodwind opening at the Cape Town International Film Festival on October 16, director Fin Manjoo speaks for the first time about the movie’s selection in competition.
“Cape Town is just the beginning in Woodwind‘s journey, but this screening is going to be most special because this is my town,” said Manjoo.
Now that the movie is going to be showing in Cape Town, what audience is Woodwind directed toward?
“About two decades ago I used to live in Gardens, Cape Town because I loved the arts scene in the area. I studied nearby at the Michaelis School of Fine Arts, the University of Cape Town’s campus where I majored in Film. Across the road there were friends from other video or art campuses at Cape Varsity, there’s the Labia cinemas, there’s the DVD Nouveau video store and Cinema Nouveau at the Waterfront nearby.
“Outside of the public arena, Cape Town has a great film archive from which I’d share the films from around the world with our friends who followed the best art cinema through history. In the years that followed, when I went overseas, a new generation of youngsters in the town (many of whom also went to AFDA), started the Good Film Society screenings in Cape Town’s Labia and it was encouraging to see the following of art cinema find another venue. Despite the struggles with Cinema Nouveau and the Labia reducing their screen numbers, the scene is still alive with an educated art film following; and from here there’s many young filmmakers coming through now. This is the local scene that I’m familiar with but I don’t just represent one movement in one place. I’ve lived in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town (only talking about SA here). There’s so many talented artists in the shadows in Cape Town who need hope, and I’m always happy to see other film artists improve the reputation of SA cinema abroad.
Is Woodwind a South African film?
“I am South African (and one of my grandparents is from India) but Woodwind is not just African or Asian cinema. The best way to describe it is, ‘This is my film. Woodwind has my signature.’ I’m from South Africa and the film is 100% financed in South Africa, so it’s a South African film, but Woodwind is not just for South African audiences. When you watch it, it is clear that this is an international film for all countries. It doesn’t matter where you’re from.
“I always have these identity questions wherever I lived around the world. Even here people always ask me if I’m South African, and because of our country’s past they want to box you into one particular group. No, Woodwind is for everyone everywhere. Interestingly, we have this identity question with the character, Bonifaz in Woodwind too because he travels from the so-called West to India.”
Then what about the film style fitting a known culture of cinema?
“There’s an incorrect assumption that a certain type of sophisticated art cinema is a European approach. Woodwind doesn’t represent Europe. We have cast and crew from five continents and there’s a strong culture of art around the world, even in India where the story is set. Nearly everyone thinks of Bollywood only, but there are important films made in India too. We need to look outside the mainstream to understand true art.”
Is Woodwind an art film then, and what do you mean by this?
“Every little detail in making a movie is an art-form, even in Hollywood, Nollywood or Bollywood. I really don’t like these definitions. Large studios change their vision based on a business model that’s often controlled by other departments. A film that’s true to it’s art doesn’t give in to those factors. With Woodwind our target is not sales, we are focused on art and culture. The understanding of art cinema has changed through time. These days it seems any film that’s not a comic [laughs], so then anything serious for mature audiences is now falling out of the mainstream and there’s less room for pure art. As always I don’t like to categorize Woodwind but it is art, no matter how and when you set the definition.”