Developing a Film with a Script Doctor by Madoda Ncayiyana in France

At the 3continents Film Festival and Script Studio   Madoda Ncayiyana and Julie Frederikse with Toni Monty, CEO of Durban Film Office in Nantes, France at Produire au Sud Script Studio, 22 November 2013  
























My experience  as a director and co- writer of my films, working with a “script doctor” in my first feature film Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) taught me two lessons that I’ll never forget. The first is that the craft of good scriptwriting knows no language or culture. The second is about the value of a script doctor’s intervention in a script.

When I was initially introduced to our first script doctor I was immediately cautious and had a bit of attitude. This was because I could not understand how a foreign script doctor – in our case, Jacques Akchoti from France –  could give guidance to an African, Zulu script without tainting the essence with European undertones. However, during thorough engagement with our script with this script doctor, I realized that however diverse world stories are, the art of storytelling remains universal. This fact hit home even more strongly when I worked with another script doctor, Miguel Machalski. He is such a mixture of languages and continents – born in Argentina, with English as his mother tongue and Spanish learned from growing up in Buenos Aires. But he also had a Polish father and moved to France as a young adult. I can say for sure that despite, and perhaps because of all his cultural influences, he really helped us with the language of storytelling in film.

I am very excited that Produire au Sud, part of the 3continents Festival in Nantes, France, selected Hhola Hhola, a script written by myself and my co-writer and producer, Julie Frederikse, as one of three South African Scripts to get an opportunity to be further developed by two script doctors: Migual Machalski, and also Gualberto Ferrari. As with my debut feature film, Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky), I have no doubt that this kind of intervention will help the script to deliver  material that I can use to create an unforgettable feature film – and I hope that, like my first film that won several international Best Feature Film awards, Hhola Hhola, will also be a winner.

I am looking forward to share my experience with you on this website after the culmination of our script doctors’ input. Check this page again in December!

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