Goodwood film-maker’s short film to premiere at Silver Screen Festival

Net Ons was written and directed by Nadine Cloete.

“Love is the revolution… the way the world is now, I feel like we need a little tenderness,” says Goodwood film-maker Nadine Cloete as she describes her latest short film, Net Ons (Just Us).

Net Ons is a fictional, romance, written and directed by Cloete. It premieres at the Silver Screen Festival, which showcases local and Afrikaans films, on Friday March 25, at 3pm.

Cloete is passionate about projects that tackle history and identity. She is the acting production and development manager for non-fiction at the National Film and Video Foundation.

“Romance is interesting because it looks different for each individual,” she says. ”In a healthy romance that’s where we want to feel safe… like our best selves. I think that as people of colour we don’t explore ourselves in a romantic light enough, and that’s kind of how Net Ons came about.

“I was really into someone who later ghosted me. I then thought, what does romance look like? How can we play with the genre? How can we play with black- and-brown bodies in romance?”

The film, set during the Covid-19 pandemic, follows the love story of two blood-thirsty vampires played by Crystal Donna Roberts and Cantona James.

Cloete says she’s grateful for the opportunity to premiere the film at the Silver Screen Festival as it gave her the freedom to experiment both with the visuals and the Afrikaans language.

”I feel as a woman, as a person of colour, you always have to get it right because you’re only as good as your last work. You’re always fighting for the next opportunity. The spaces or platforms in order to play and experiment are so rare.“

The film features works by poets Diana Ferrus and Ronelda S Kamfer.

Diana Ferrus gave permission to use the poem, I’ve Come to Take You Home, as dialogue between the main characters. The poem is a tribute to Sarah Baartman, the Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited as a “freak show” attraction in 19th-century Europe, and is seen as having played a pivotal role in the repatriation of her remains from a French museum, in 2002.

“For me, the Sarah Baartman poem is a love poem, and although in this film there are two people saying it to each other, it’s a love poem to us, to our people. So even to use the poem like that in a Silverskerm Fees context is very exciting.”

Net Ons, featuring Crystal Donna Roberts and Cantona James, premieres at the Silver Screen Festival this month.

Working with Crystal Donna Roberts and Cantona James as the leads was a dream come true, says Cloete.

“I have been admiring Crystal’s work for so long. To have someone of that calibre, trust what I wanted to do and get it to the levels that she did is amazing.”

James didn’t eat for a couple of days to get into his role, she says.

“Cantona is a talent that’s on the rise, very fast. He is a method actor; to have someone that dedicated to a character that you’ve created is incredible.”

This year’s Silver Screen Festival will take place both at a physical venue and online, from March 23 to 26. The registration fee for the virtual festival is R190 for four days.