Photo by Casey Crafford
Stephen Aspeling, better known as “Spling,” has turned a lifelong passion into a full-time pursuit, reviewing, writing and judging film for a host of South African websites, radio stations, magazines and movie events.
Here is “Spling’s” speech he delivered to AFDA students at the AFDA Cape Town Awards evening: “Good evening, this is the second year I’ve been asked to officiate as part of the critic’s panel and once again I’ve been impressed with the standard of student films emerging from AFDA Film School.
It was great to see your short films on the big screen in an independent cinema like The Labia, despite the heat. This year’s graduate selection was diverse with entries across the genre spectrum . While the directorial influences tended towards the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson and Tim Burton, each effort was ambitious, resourceful, spirited and featured strong production values.
In terms of acting, there were several stand-out performances that truly captured the tone of their production, delivering characters with insight and great nuance. Most of the screenplays were deft, imaginative, smart and managed to broach some fairly big themes and concepts in a short space of time without losing sight of their budgetary limitations.
While some productions were elevated as a result of their sound design, others seemed a bit rushed and inconsistent with faint dialogue and so-so foley work. The subtle use of visual and special effects kept films from over-extending themselves and the production design was artful and considered. Perhaps much of the marketing was done on campus or via social spheres, but I think it’d pay to emphasise the importance of creating buzz around your release and using creative ways to market and promote your product. So much importance is placed on the takings of an opening weekend… please look to fellow AFDA graduate, Jenna Bass, and how they created hype around the local release of her film, Love the One You Love.
Congratulations to everyone involved in embracing the learning curve, bringing the magic and commiting your stories to film, I wish you every success in the future.”
You can find out more about Spling on his website
Tags: cape town campus