Cinematic connections

As I recently browsed through the programme of the Bradford on Avon Film Society, I stumbled across the name Rungano Nyoni as director of I am not a witch, her first feature film. Unlikely as it may seem, I happened to be there when Rungano made her first short film, back in autumn 2006. She had placed a crew call for a cinematographer for a film project that sounded most intriguing: a Super 8 black and white film to be shot in the South West, based on the writings of 16th century philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Even though it was expenses only, I couldn't resist applying, and lo and behold, I got the job. My Great Happiness, jointly written by Rungano Nyoni and Rita Auta, was filmed in and around Cardiff, with Rungano playing the lead. When the results of my Super 8 art came back from the lab to Rungano and Rita, I was very pleased with some of it (like this scene of filming Rungano through a shop window without having the camera reflected in it); others left me somewhat embarrassed, and one unuseable scene even devastated. Luckily Rungano proved to be a first-time film director with common sense and was well aware that she couldn't demand BAFTA-winning cinematography for expenses only. She was very forgiving, rewrote the final scene and still paid me my expenses for coming back to reshoot.

My Great Happiness has lingered quietly on Youtube for the past 11 years. Now I look forward to seeing Rungano's first feature (that, by the way, has won a BAFTA, amongst other festival awards). I've ordered my ticket for the screening on 19 October. Until then I shall try to decide whether I will mention my cinematic connection with Rungano Nyoni to anyone that evening or just keep hiding somewhere at the back.

This page was last updated on 6 September 2018