Life Is A Foreign Language

By Adi Van der Walt

Life Is A Foreign Language” had to be conceptualized and ready to go within a very short time. The prospect of creating a story to showcase the Sony Venice 2 was both a challenge and privilege. With conceptualization I had to take into account time constraints that entailed location and casting actors.

So the smartest thing to do was to write a story in the form of a metaphor and have real life people comfortable in their environment, to tell our story. No acting, no pretence. So being a documentary storyteller, that worked for me! However, I still had to chop and change the storyline a few times to fit a few wild card changes thrown at us. But in the end, the entire team pulled together to help us deliver in short and demanding timelines. A special thank you to Emirates Equestrian Centre and their young jockey, 16-year old Leoni Strommer made herself available to us the whole day, having to do and redo takes over a 12 hour period in the heat.

Leoni’s job was to show us the nitty gritty of working towards being a show jumping professional, which is her absolute passion by the way. She understands that acquiring a skill is less glamorous than it sounds but it’s worth the journey. Focus, passion, dedication and grit is what we need to obtain and reach a level of excellence. So, the premise of the story; we all need to borrow from people around us to make things happen, especially our dreams. However, we also have the responsibility, once we have reached a place of excellence (although that is a life long pursuit) to help others borrow from us.

Our two DOPs and Sony MEA Ambassadors, Ian Nieuwenhuizen and Timothy Fare-Matthews, were amazing on the day - also adapting and adjusting! I wanted both controlled shots and a hand-held look. The mimicry of chaos and serenity in our journey to becoming professionals. Because of our tight timeframe Ian sometimes just grabbed the camera and did short bouts of hand-held shots - hand held in the true sense of the word. He is used to working with the Alpha series cameras, and I think that challenged his workflow and visual approach but he adapted and managed to still stay true to his style but discovering the camera and having a glimpse of what can be done! Tim was more familiar working with the cinema line, and staying true to ‘borrowing knowledge’ he could impart what he had learned and together, these two guys made a rockstar team. In the end, the story did come together with a few tweaks here and there. Having the opportunity to work with the Sony team in Dubai was valuable, enriching and less foreign than I had anticipated!

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About Adi Van der Walt

Stories have always been something Adi’s been chasing. Adi started in television in 2008. After that went into creating cinematic wedding films from where Adi transitioned into working with international clients within the corporate and advertising world, eventually landing in documentary storytelling. Adi loves to write her own stuff and see it morph into moving pictures. She even loves it more when film can be a vehicle to tell someone’s story and to help another’s story.