Q&A With Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat And Louw Venter Of Konfetti

Where did the idea for Konfetti originate from? (Louw)

It came from a play, The Best Man’s Speech, which I wrote and performed for three to four years and is based on a one-man show where the members of the audience are the guests at the wedding.

The play stems from one particularly bad Jewish wedding that I went to after I met my wife (who is Jewish). There was a spectacular incident where the bride’s brother completely lost it and made a spectacle of himself. It was only when I got married myself that I started to understand the stresses and emotions involved in the ‘Big Day’. The script explores the concepts of conflict and love.

What makes the film entertaining? (Zaheer)

It’s very funny and it’s about real people and real issues. The story is ultimately satisfying because the laughter is like a pressure release from some of the very real and serious things that happen in the film.

Konfetti is a character-based film with some lively personalities. How do you create and then develop them? (Louw)

A number of the characters were driven by what was already in the play – these original characters were drawn from my experience in real life. As an Afrikaans man married to a Jewish woman, I’ve had many opportunities to observe both the similarities and differences between the different cultural groups.

The story is driven by the characters. It’s based on the awkwardness that results when different cultures coming together and strives to expand these stereotypes and cultural definitions. It explores the idiosyncrasies of the various stereotypes, for example, Jean’s mother is the quintessential Afrikaans matriarch figure who represents the forced desire of the white middle class for political correctness.

Can you take us through the casting process? (Zaheer)

Louw and I had really enjoyed working previously with Nico Panagio, Kim Engelbrecht and Casper De Vries – we wanted to work them again so wrote the parts especially for them. The casting process for the other roles was intense. Our casting director Susan Rossouw was amazing. She introduced some wonderful talent to the film. We held several casting days in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and ultimately found the best actors for each of the roles.

Describe the writing process of you and Zaheer writing together? (Louw)

It was a long process – it took five or six years – as we went through quite a process of expanding, complicating and then condensing each and every idea into a synopsis. On several occasions we took the script in different directions – from a potential play, into a TV series, a made-for-TV film and finally into a feature film format. We weren’t satisfied until ticked all the right boxes. We were still writing until the last day.

Describe the making of the film (Zaheer)

It all started back in 2007 when Louw Venter came to me with an idea to develop his play, The Best Man’s Speech, into a TV series. We worked on the material on and off until 2012 when we believed that we had a script worth producing. Then came the long process of raising the money. We were blessed to have really amazing partners at M-Net and KykNet who fully supported the film.

The actual shooting was the most fun I have ever had doing anything. You can’t really call it work when you are that excited to start every day, and when you are laughing so much.

May of the actors in the film were heroes to me in my teenage years. Actors like Annabel Linder, Nicolas Ellenbogen and Terry Norten – all such phenomenal talents – had cameo parts and were an absolute delight to work with. The main cast was brilliant – they made me laugh and cry. I think this comes through in the film and that audiences are going to connect to that.

Can you select certain scenes that stand out in this respect and elaborate? (Zaheer)

Casey B Dolan gives the performance of a lifetime in the second half of the film. She was so dramatic and moving. You could have heard a pin drop on the set when she was done. Everyone behind the camera was crying-  it was just terrific to be there on set and witness such talent.

Every scene with Louw Venter, Nico Panagio, Casper De Vries, Kim Engelbrecht, Jana Strydom or Christel Van Den Bergh was just hilarious. They are all such great comedians and are always trying to outdo one another. Sometimes just getting through the day was challenging because no-one could keep a straight face.

We shot the climactic scene around 3am when it was about zero degrees. Louw deserves a medal for just making it through his long speech and staying alive when he could barely walk he was in so much pain. Then all those extras in their little summer dresses in that cold are all heroes.

What about the look of the film – as a director what was your vision? (Zaheer)

A crazy story about these flawed people, set against this perfect backdrop, was hugely interesting to me. I wanted to make a film that had the fairytale gloss everyone wants on their wedding day and showed the beauty of the Stellenbosch winelands.

What do you hope audiences will get from Konfetti? (Zaheer)

I know that they will have had a great night out and be thoroughly entertained. I think the film might also give people hope for the future, and the courage to make good choices in their lives.

How did you choose the music for the film? (Zaheer)

All the music was composed specially for the film by legendary international songwriter and music producer, Lionel Bastos. The music was also recorded live to picture with the full band, which is very unusual in SA. We had some pretty famous musicians play on the score too and it was very exciting for me to work with them. They included Willem Moller on guitar, Ariella Caira (from Sterling EQ) on cello and Rayelle Goodman (from Coda) on violin.

How was the film financed? (Zaheer)

The film was financed with a rebate from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and investment from KykNet and Light and Dark Films.

Who should come to watch the film? (Zaheer)

This is a film for the whole family. It’s not often you get a story that involves multiple generations – children, parents and even great grandparents – and who all have an important role in the story.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za Instagram: instagram.com/andrewgerm_za IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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