Kim Verburg Producer
Renier De Jager: Editor
Reuben Goldblum: writer director
Olivia Galley special effects and makeup
Stavros Cassipis - The man (no socials)
Inez Robertson - Adara
Ilse Van Niekerk - Evelyn
Atop A Grassy Hill is a short film that is truly a glimpse of a small aspect of a story world, the sequences highlight a piece of a ritual centring the worship of fertility and pregnancy that is stuck in an endless loop.
Unfortunately because of a lack of understanding and empathy the pregnancy always results in loss and death of both the mother and the child.
The film follows the perspective of the man who is tasked to be the stand in father but because of a long history of failed attempts at birth he has become a shell of man who is now given the task of becoming the grave digger.
When I originally wrote the screenplay and developed the concept, I knew that it had to be shot in the Western Cape, the mountainous areas, dry grass and years of erosion as well as the general architecture was incredibly enticing and inspiring to shoot at.
“Atop A Grassy Hill” is an incredibly personal film, not because of subject matter but rather because of the feeling that I tried to convey throughout its duration - there is an inherent sense of powerlessness and a loss of hope seen through the man and his actions,
with an extreme expectation placed on me as well as dealing with depression and a painful battle with arthritis, I started to feel powerless and hopeless myself - I used this film to express that feeling of pain - there is no resolution to the film because ultimately it is a reality that exists and cannot be avoided, regardless of the frustrations for everyone involved in the story world and ritual.
This film was also particularly important as a stepping stone to achieving the desired narrative and cinematic style I would like to adopt in my future films, with carefully planned wide shots and deep integration of conveying atmosphere on screen.
Every aspect of making the film was a new but exciting challenge, from writing to funding there were obstacles that were overcome with hard work and dedication, we did our principle funding through ThundaFund a South African crowdfunding platform where we managed to raise around ZAR 17 000 which was just enough to make the film without too many financial compromises.
Ultimately the film exceeded the expectations that I had for it, not only in the final product but also through the humble amounts of success and praise it has received throughout its time in the festival circuit.
I sincerely hope that Atop A Grassy Hill will be the first of many films in my career as a filmmaker with the attempt in mind to always bring original narratives to the South African film market.