To showcase South African clothing retailer Edgars‘ winter line, agency VML South Africa enlisted the talents of not one, not two, but THREE talented Free The Bid women directors.

Director Kit, Gale Maimane, and Jeana Theron each brought their unique vision to the table, creating richly textured short branded films that each shine a different light on the Edgars collection. Director Kit’s film finds inspiration in reflection, showing how city living sparks the imagination of a young designer, while Gale takes an intimate look at a talented female musician in the moments before a breakout performance. Finally, Jeana’s film takes us right into the center of an underground dance party, feeding off the energy of the stylish crowd.

Each of these films captures its own specific flavor, tapping into art, music, dance to provide a vibrant window into South African culture.

We spoke with the three directors, all signed to the Darling roster, about working within tight time constraints; forging strong relationships with their casts and crews (including Free The Bid colorist Michele Wilson; and the ways in which this project pushed each of them as filmmakers.



What was your initial idea when presented with the opportunity to create a film for Edgars?

Fashion, subcultures and film – three of my favorite things – all presented to me in one brief. It is safe to say that I was excited. The excitement was shortly followed by some light-headedness, but only for a second.

My initial idea was about a character who had a talent and an obsession that he eventually hones. Within in a week, that idea completely changed, but funny enough, the spirit of the idea stayed the same. The main thing that stayed the same through the different briefs was the theme of breaking out.

How did your idea for the film evolve over the course of bringing it to life?

The final brief was about a Daydreamer; someone who was inspired by their city to create art. I wanted to keep the spirit of passion and obsession for a main character alive, and it became a perfect fit for creating a story around a daydreamer, an observer.

I had to study and understand the textures and styles in the Edgars fashion ranges, and then reverse-engineer that to fit some of the bold, clean, unique textures of Johannesburg buildings and streets.


What were some of the highlights of collaborating with the cast, crew, and agency/client teams that you worked with on the shoot?

It was my first time working with some of the cast and crew, some of whose art I already appreciated, so it was a great learning experience.

Working with the agency resulted in a creative and dynamic relationship. It was interesting, because although we had a very short amount of time to get the entire project done, we also had to keep in mind that there were three projects happening simultaneously. Every turning point was a highlight.

Did you get the chance to push your technical filmcraft in this project?

One of the themes I explored was reflection as a tool of inspiration and narration, through glass surfaces and water puddles. I think I was able to really execute it in a subtle narrative fashion with the kind of technical support I had from my team. I also worked with a really great female editor, Marcelle Mouton, who brought in a second layer of storytelling through some simple choices of pacing and color. With the really tight time constraints placed on the project, the end result allowed me to really push and challenge my craft.


What elements of the final film are you most excited about?

The narrative builds and reveals itself beautifully, and I enjoy watching it unfold. This strong narrative allows the fashion to live in the film, really naturally. The music added the perfect tone for the story – it is all strings and drama. The combination of the fashion, story and music makes for exciting viewing. I get excited at the idea that someone will experience any of this when watching the film.



What was your initial idea when presented with the opportunity to create a film for Edgar’s?

So when we were presented the idea, the storylines where already set. I was to pitch a story about a young woman who would break out of the shadows of a jazz band lead by men.

My thought was, firstly, “breaking free of a man’s world? Ha – relatable!” The next thoughts were my first ideas: making this film as close to a reality experienced by all young woman, across all fields. How can I make this a fashionable shout-out to all the girls grinding it out to get their shot? Then, the time pressure and reality of bringing trendy RTW fashion into a narrative that might not herald fashion naturally got me going and influenced my decisions from there.

How did your idea for the film evolve over the course of bringing it to life?

As mentioned above, I saw myself, my friends, and colleagues in this story, so keeping it interesting and relatable was really important to me. A short centered around fashion and an endearing female lead was fun and a joy, as a point of departure. The film’s idea evolved from there.

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