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11th April 2017
Shooting the curl in Africa
Title of film: Mami Wata, Woza
Director: Pato Martinez & Francisco Canton
Production Company: Pantera (Buenos Aires)
1.4 talks with Tilly and Nick Dutton who have launched a stunning in-house film, Woza, for their Cape Town-based surf brand Mami Wata – pidgin west African for Mother Ocean. Directed by Argentinians Pato Martinez and Francisco Canton from Pantera production company. Woza tells the story of an African surfer who has been taken as a lover by the African water spirit Mami Wata. It features 22 year-old Transkei surfer, Avuyile Ndamase

What was behind your decision to choose a directing duo from Argentina  – Argentinian duo Pato Martinez & Francisco Canton (from Pantera, a production company based in Buenos Aires (Pantera) represented by Strange Love and Primo)?   

We’re a premium brand and needed some people who could capture that, the story telling we needed, and bring a fresh perspective to it. We didn’t have a great budget so we needed creative and committed filmmakers with spine. Peet Pienaar (Creative Director and co-founder) knew the Pantera guys from Buenos Aires and felt passionate about them being the right way to go… Pato & Francisco handed in a magic treatment and right away we knew it was them. Also it was great to have a fresh South American eye on a contemporary African surf story. So it was global hybrid that delivered a great result. 

Was it a mega shoot with a big crew? And where was it shot? Were there compromises made because of the many set-ups?

Actually it was the total opposite from that. The crew was just Pato & Francisco with a camera, a small sound recorder, a local hookup guy and a security guy. They were constantly switching roles, so it was all done in a very run-and-gun, documentary style. The job demanded lots of teamwork though, Peet helped them look for concepts and was also the creative director and art director on the project.

It was fun because being such a small crew, they could decide independently where and when to shoot. Most of the more urban scenes were shot in Durban (SA) and the rest of it was shot in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.
 
To what extent did the narrative evolve in the edit? Was there a lot of footage that didn’t make the cut? The pacing is perfect – was it cut to the soundtrack or was the track found later?

It evolved a lot during the edit. Pato & Frankie arrived in South Africa with a concept in mind but not really knowing what they would find, so while they shot they had different ideas which they shaped later on in the edit. Also, looking at the dailies helped a lot.

We shot 10 or 11 days so there was a LOT of footage that didn’t make the cut! The first cut was 11 minutes long.

The edit was cut to a soundtrack that they made up along the way from different pieces and samples of African music, and then once we locked the edit, we worked on original music with Italian composer Vittorio Giampietro and also a band from Soweto called BCUC provided some music.
 
What were the main challenges of the production and how did you resolve them?

We started with an idea but had no script, so one of the challenges was to shoot for a bunch of days and then for Pato & Franckie to go through the footage at night, looking for a concept and a narrative. 

Probably one of the other challenges was that as we were shooting a film about surfing and the ocean, so we depended a lot on the weather conditions and if the waves were good enough.

What inspired us to set up the brand?

We’re passionate about Africa, surf and design. Africa’s got some of the world’s best waves, yet there aren’t any brands telling that story. Africa is the new frontier, not just of surf exploration. The continent has fostered many indigenous surfing cultures and this is a great story to tell. 

Credits

Mami Watt, Woza

Agency: Mami Wata in-house
Creative Director & Art Director: Peet Pienaar
Copywriters: Peet Pienaar, Nick Dutton, Andy Davis
Production company: Pantera (Buenos Aires)
Shot and directed by Pato Martinez & Francisco Canton
Producer: Manu Aguer
Music Composer / Sound Design: Vittorio Giampietro
Color Grading: Oisin O’Driscoll @ The Mill (London)
Featuring Music by BCUC (Soweto) “Asazani”