South Africa’s first ever lockdown comedy drama, The Ground Under, was launched on Showmax this month and the director hopes that more people will get to enjoy the uniquely shot film.
Director Lukhanyo Bele said that the fliek was written and produced in the space of four months and is one hour and 49 minutes long.
“I started writing the movie when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the first lockdown on 18 March and one of the unique things about this project was that I wrote the script in instalments while the actors played their roles according to what was available,” he says.
“Every few weeks or so, I wrote more of the script until the full script was done.”
All of the actors are local, with Trackers star Leon Clingman playing the lead role.
The entire movie takes place during a Zoom meeting between family members participating in an online funeral and while the actors all appear together at the same time, behind the scenes it was a different story.
“We created our own online platform, called Birdchat, and the actors all shot their scenes privately and without any sort of interaction from the other actors,” explains Bele.undefined
“They all took videos of themselves doing their parts where they had to film their own reactions and visual cues.
“The videos were then sent to our editor, who did a brilliant job of putting it all together while I shot the entire movie from Vienna, Austria, where I am staying with my wife and kids.”
Lukhanyo grew up in Mdantsane in East London and started acting in 2001 after he completed his studies at the New Africa Theatre school in Cape Town.
“My first role as an actor was in the e.tv soccer show Shooting Stars and I have been in multiple stage productions and movies, including the 2019 Ryan Reynolds movie 6 Underground. About four years ago, I decided that my calling was behind the camera and this movie is the first production of my company Undergrounded Productions.”