F.I.L.M. Trainees Work On Box Office Smash Hits
Cape Town is not the only common denominator between Chronicle and Safe House; both blockbuster films used trainee crew from The Film Industry Learner Mentorship (F.I.L.M.) programme, a Section 21, not-for-profit enterprise created by leading Cape film production and servicing companies to ensure mentorship, training and skills development in the South African film industry.
Chronicle, which opened on 3 February 2012, topped the notoriously slow Super Bowl weekend with a $22m opening, while Safe House, released last Friday, 10 February 2012, raked in $40.2m.
Cape Town doubled for Seattle in the Josh Trank sci-fi adventure Chronicle, but had a rare starring role as itself in Safe House, a gripping, CIA action thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.
Safe House had a record 21 F.I.L.M. crew on its Moonlighting Films’ set, including grips assistant Patrick Vrieslaar, an ex-prisoner who was also a trainee on Chronicle with Film Afrika.
“Patrick’s story is complex,” explains F.I.L.M’s project manager Seton Bailey. “Many years ago in a previous life, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He grabbed a gun from gangsters and retaliated to save his own life. He was convicted and ended up doing seven years of a 12-year sentence for attempted murder.”
Having worked on String Caesar with Alice Krige while still in Pollsmoor Prison, Patrick was released for exemplary behavior on parole and joined F.I.L.M. “He’s quiet, unassuming and totally dedicated. Patrick has just powered from strength to strength,” says Seton.
Patrick, who also worked on German TV movie Treasure Guards and the TV series Labryinth, is currently on the set of British TV series Mad Dogs for Left Bank Pictures. He was named one of four F.I.L.M. mentees of the year in 2011, while his mentor, industry stalwart John McKay, or “Uncle John” as Patrick calls him, was named Best Mentor.
Patrick says, “Where I find myself today is because of F.I.L.M. They gave me the chance and now Uncle John has given me everything I need to go forward. It’s been fun working with actors you see every day on TV and I’m learning so much about lighting.”
John says, “Patrick is coming along nicely. He’s right next to the camera doing stuff during the shoot. He’s reliable, honest and keen to learn. I think he’s a success story in the making. Now he just needs to stop calling me ‘Uncle.’”
Seton concludes, “Patrick’s role in blockbusters like Safe House and Chronicle really is an awesome, uplifting human story about redemption and the triumph of the will over seemingly insurmountable odds. His mum died last year just before Patrick received his F.I.L.M. award, so she couldn’t be there to celebrate with him, but I’m sure she’s smiling down on him from on high. Patrick’s long walk represents the journey of so many of our trainees who have given their all to carve a career in a growing, diverse, and sustainable South African film industry.”
For more information, visit the F.I.L.M. website.