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An Interview With Nisha Kapoor & Deidre Jantjies

The Film crew:

Nisha Kapoor- Writer, Co-director

Deidre Jantjies- Producer, Co-director

Josh Roypin- Animator

Tauriq Isaacs- Animator

What was the inspiration behind the making of Love Thy Neighbour?

Nisha- “In my life, I have had a lot of spiritual epiphanies that have become the conduit to express my creativity. In one such episode of spiritual awakening, I was moved to write & write a lot! As if possessed by a writing muse, words kept coming to me and my pen would not stop flowing. I was in a state of complete trance and wrote a whopping 14 poems that day! One of the poems was “Love Thy Neighbour”- yes the entire script of the film is a poem 

The moment I wrote the poem, I was amazed at the plot & the flow of words and knew it had all the elements of a powerful film!

What were some of the challenges of making the film?

The plot of the film is very unprecedented & unheard of. While it definitely is what makes the film stand out but also becomes a challenge for the team to take in a plot that they cannot compare to precedence. Added to it, the whole script is a poem, which is again remarkable but also makes it challenging to execute & be visualized by the team the same way as the writer conceived it. Further, we as a team are based in different countries (USA & South Africa). We have never met physically but got united over a film fest in which we all had won in different categories. Yes, crazy isn’t it  While we all united so well but a remote team with differing time zones needs a strong belief in the project to come together.

When did you realize that you wanted to make films and what was the first film project that you created?

Nisha- “I always saw myself as a filmmaker. I would say this to my friends even when I did not have an idea on how to go about it. My spiritual journey became the path to make it happen. My first film project(s) was 9 handmade films, all made on my mobile phone, which won at 2 international film fests”

Deidre- “I've always been inspired by untold indigenous stories that represent heritage and culture. My first animation film was 'Stories in die Wind' which won at an international film fest. I met Nisha at the same film fest and knew that she had the gift of storytelling”

Josh, Tauriq- “Since the beginning of our artistic careers, we have always been drawn to making films and animation with authentic characters and stories”

Which directors have been influential in your work?

Nisha – “I have admired many directors esp. in the offbeat genre but as a filmmaker, I am guided by my own creativity and intuition”

Deidre- “I don't have many directors that I look up to, I sort of try to create my own way of telling narrative-based stories. I would say that I'm trying to create my own inspirational films”

Josh, Tauriq- “South African animators and artists that have made their mark on the international stage have always inspired us”

What genre of filmmaking do you like to work on?

Nisha- “I am genre-agnostic. A powerful story can be romantic, thrilling, full of gore, suspense or a comedy. I get these sparks of creativity, irrespective of the genre, which becomes the basis of my films”

Deidre- “I am very inspired by oral history, the way indigenous people did it. Narrating stories from generation to generation. I feel like this will become a signature of the way that I tell stories”

Josh, Tauriq- “We believe any genre of film can blend well with animation. We enjoy working on animated films with a compelling story, regardless of the genre”

What is the most challenging aspect of making an independent film?

Not dropping the ball, keeping up the spirit and enthusiasm ‘cause all we have is an idea that we believe strongly in. Self-funding till we hit it & balancing life and passion in times of quarantine is also not easy

What is your plan for the further distribution of your film?

So far the 1-minute trailer of the film is out. We have until now applied to film fests only and are so positively overwhelmed with the response we got– won at 4 film fests, finalists at 2, a semifinalist at 1, and official selection at many others (results awaited)! Once the whole film is released, we plan to go all out viz. submit to film fests, reach out to streaming platforms, film funding organizations, National film & culture societies and organizations, and market it on social media

How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?

Cinema has the power to project societal issues in a format that is entertaining and hence acceptable. It creates conversations that have not been addressed justifiably in our day to day lives and makes them acceptable because of its larger than life (but true) portrayals. Society has so much unspoken trauma that has to be highlighted and cinema can give you that platform to start these kinds of dialogues for change.

What is your next film project?

We have many stories in our stable ranging from drama, thriller & societal impact. Once “Love Thy Neighbour” is complete, we will gather again as a team and set forth anew towards all these projects. We also plan to turn our projects into ongoing series to be streamed on all big platforms

Why do you make films and what draws you to the language of cinema and directing?

Nisha- “I make films ‘cause I cannot contain the stories that live inside me, which are such that the format of cinema does more justice than just writing. The power of the film screen to entertain redeems and fulfills me as a creative”

Deidre- “I make films for brown and black people that have to be represented correctly and I feel that as an African woman we have to tell our own stories the way that we want to tell it, this is why I started Na Aap Productions. It moves us into a new dimension and also creates a new language of cinema”

Josh, Tauriq- “The idea of producing characters that are relatable to people, including us and giving a voice to those without one is our motivation to make films”


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