Veteran South African film director Regardt van den Bergh is finding fresh inspiration making short Christian movies with his daughter and son-in-law, Leán and Anko de Wet.
The family trio have joined forces in a Cape Town based film company, Movies For Life, which recently launched its first movie, Walk The Talk, an engaging 30 minute film about a broken man searching for the good news of redmptive love. The film is the first in a series of six short films — all based on true testimonies – that Movies For Life aims to produce. Walk The Talk is based on events in the early days of Christian radio station Radio Tygerberg.
“It is very inspiring for me working with young people whose enthusiasm ignites my creative juices,” said Van den Bergh, whose credits in recent years include Faith Like Potatoes, Hansie, Tornado And The Kalahari Horse Whisperer, and Die Ongelooflike Avonture Van Hanna Hoekom. He directed Walk The Talk, while Leán produced it and Anko did the sound and final mix.
Working on a production of the scale of Walk The Talk was a first for all of the young actors and crew members and they all did remarkably well, said Van den Bergh. Leán had previously scripted and produced two commercials but Walk The Talk was her first crack at producing a film. Van den Bergh said he was delighted that the production had come in at a budget of only R300 000 while achieving the feature film quality they had hoped for.
Howard Fyvie, who shone as a sincere and passionate young new believer in Walk The Talk also wrote the script. He has also scripted the next scheduled short film, Dying To Live, in which he also has a lead role. Prior to Walk The Talk his film experience was limited to student productions. First time film actress Jessica Heath was also convincing in her role as a young woman who feared that her inability to give up cigarettes put her beyond God’s forgiveness.
Van den Bergh said Movies For Life intentionally avoided shallow storytelling. “We will not do one-level testimonies like bad guy drank a lot and then got saved. But we will touch on issues like the radio station owner in Walk The Talk who was so grumpy and cynical that you question his Christian walk. That opens the way to have a discussion about the difference between relationship and religion.”
Dying to Live will explore issues such as suicide, depression and hopelessness.
He said that Movies For Life was cutting its teeth with short films because they were more affordable to make than full-length features, and also because they believed that in this age of social networking, youtube and other online video clips, general audiences were becoming more receptive to watching 30 minute films without feeling done out of entertainment or information.
He said they had been getting lots of positive feedback on Walk The Talk from children and adults who had seen it. He believed the genre was ideal for church and school discussion groups as well as outreaches.
He said that in recent years he had focused as much as possible on Christian testimony movies because he believed it was his calling. “As Christian media people we have a very special window open in the great scheme of things. God is giving us special favour and anointing. He is taking the little things we do and is giving it an oomph that we cannot pay for. We cannot calculate it and we must pray for any media person, who for the right motives,wants to get the Christian message across,” he said.
Walk The Talk is being distributed in DVD format and can be purchased online. Special extra features on the DVD include two music videos, behind the scenes footage and a interviews with Christians from different walks of life on the subject of unconditional love and what it means to walk the talk.