koBulawayo just doesn’t know how to stay quiet, and honestly, I prefer it that way. The Culture Capital’s Kings and Queens always have a statement of intent to make in the name of culture, and COVID-19 proved to be an unworthy adversary in the face of its army of creatives.
One leader of the new wave in the culture of film and silver screen theatrics, Braydan Heart, has led the charge admirably, winning international awards and critical acclaim. His Michael Bay-esque dystopian film premised on the fall of Zimbabwean society due to COVID-19 and a vaccine that had unforeseen effects had Bulawayo buzzing as socialites risked it all for the killer red carpet event.
His ambitious story about a group of teenagers taking on the pandemic with nothing but youthful exuberance and their oddly matched skills was a well-received offering at the international stage. The European Film Festival Zimbabwe program through its 2020 Bioskop Zimbabwe Short Film Competition saw fit to award 18 Months Later as the winner for Best Narrative out of the 42 films that had been submitted. This is the sort of validation the Zim indie film circuit can use as fuel to grow itself as a community and their quality of work. Ask Braydan and he’ll tell you he didn’t expect the final product to get together the way it did considering the obstacles in 2020.
“I had envisioned some kind of Hollywood blockbuster kind of movie but due to the calibre of actors I worked with who had never done acting before, this altered my vision. Whilst also location, budget, lockdown restrictions, and our greenhorn experience as filmmakers made the expectation seem different, however, I am very pleased with the final product, I am sure even the cast themselves were shocked with the outcome.”
I had the opportunity to chat it over with the multi-talented actor, producer and director for the highly expected season 2 of “Being Braydan” and ask him about his ambitions. Find out below what it takes to be a cultural visionary in our creative media world that is enjoying a breath of fresh air, kudos in part to folks like Brayden and his team.
Bruce: Having enjoyed the wild success of both your creative projects being widely accepted, what summarizes the career strategy you have in mind for yourself? What types of projects do you see yourself involved with in the future?
BH: In this industry, people use different methods to start off their career, some by luck or connections. I wanted something solid thus why I got my degree [Braydan is an AFDA graduate] which has paved a way for me to get employment anywhere around the world. That being said, I’m not saying because I have a degree means success is guaranteed. I prefer my work to speak for itself hence why I have been creating content, improving craft, working with other creators, building relationships and connections, getting to know the industry. Personally, I’d like to expand into other mediums such as comic books, TV shows, series, movies, the cinematic world has a lot to offer and I’m looking forward into expanding my ideas into those listed, in conclusion, I see myself working on projects that resonate with me as a filmmaker and entertainer.
18 Months Later Trailer 2.
After the Covid-19 vaccine goes wrong, teenagers with each unique skills try survive the end of the world as we know it.@girlinskies @CurateZim @CurateByo @CulxureMagZim @untitled263 @PaperBagAfrica @GilmoreTee @HStvZim @MultimediaBox @ENTHUSEMag pic.twitter.com/rA7ZmWbBBo
— WATCH NOW 18 Months Later Short film🎥 (@beingbraydan) June 3, 2020
Bruce: I can imagine the perfectionist syndrome that comes with undertaking a creative project, especially one as massive as these projects. How long did it take to research and make both the film and series?
BH: For the series, it took a month or two of research so to familiarise myself with how reality television shows are produced. I also had to subscribe on DSTV ShowMax to expand my knowledge by watching other reality TV shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Being Bonang; these gave me a clear of what people want and how to get the right shots. About the movie, well, there was no research; it was merely brainstorming of ideas and the team brought them to life.
Bruce: The fact that “18 Months Later” as an idea itself is a group effort gives me hope for my group study projects. What were the key challenges in making it?
BH: The key challenges were the lockdown which was imposed then and also the COVID-19 pandemic break out. The lockdown made it difficult for some cast meetings and shootings to happen. While also the pandemic created fear within actors which slowed down the productivity as we wouldn’t meet as we were supposed to.
Bruce: Lockdown really was a stick in the mud for a lot of creatives, but as in our case provided inspiration for some great art. If you were to shoot the film again, what would you do differently?
BH: I would change the way I structured the film because I feel like the content we had was too much for a short film. There was too much detail in the short film which makes me want to split the film into three parts and concentrate on these parts by building more on the characters and the storyline which makes the audience engage in and understand the movie better.
Bruce: The influences of other works are quite telling in 18 Months Later and not in a bad way either. What other directors, films or TV programs influenced the way you approached the film?
BH: In terms of directors, Michael Bay influenced the editing of the action sequences, the fast pacing, the dramatic style in each shot, as if the entire film was one big movie trailer. While also Resident Evil & Daybreak influenced the film, in terms of the post-apocalyptic feel and look also the vaccine gone-wrong dilemma.