On 3 October 2021 at Cape Town’s Labia Theatre, FAME Week Africa hosted the exclusive premiere of local, low-budget film, ‘2 Thirds of a Man’, which was written and directed by brand and marketing specialist, Earl Kopeledi. The film has since received critical acclaim for its authentic storytelling, shining the spotlight on South Africa’s extremely diverse coloured community.
The film follows young talented but guarded Justin throughout his first year at Rocklands University. Spending much of his childhood growing up in Beaufort West, Justin lost his father, who was starting to make waves within the music industry, to tragic circumstances and has since struggled to deal with his death. The audience watches intently as Justin takes that leap from small town life to the bustling and demanding big city lifestyle after moving in with his care-free uncle. Ultimately, the movie is a tale about a young, coloured male who transitions from being two thirds of a man into a fully-fledged adult, and addresses the many challenges thereof, exploring themes of love, courage, ambition and tragedy.
Coming-of-age both in front of and behind the camera
It’s true that ‘2 Thirds of a Man’ is a coming-of-age story, and it’s also true that, in many ways, it was a coming-of-age experience both in front of and behind the camera. What the audience doesn’t know is that many of the members of the cast and crew embarked on this journey as first-timers, rising to the challenge of learning on the go and letting passion and determination drive their efforts.
Writer and director Earl Kopeledi was a first-time filmmaker who managed to pull off an inspiring final result despite the countless hurdles in his way.
“I had a story to tell and was looking for a creative outlet. The story chose its scribe, and I was all too happy to write it and bring it to life. ‘2 Thirds of a Man’ is my love letter to the coloured community. I wanted to show context and tell a different story to the one we’re all used to. I wanted to show different faces, different shades, different dialects. The coloured community is so diverse, and the goal was for the film to capture and communicate that,” he says.
O’Ryan Winter, the talented individual behind the film’s inspiring score also joined the team with zero film-making experience and was looking forward to expanding his horizons.
“I’d never scored a movie before, so I was excited but also really scared! I created a rule for myself which revolved around really tapping into the emotions portrayed by the actors. Ultimately, the music had to serve what was happening on the screen. It all became easier from there. I also tried to analyse what the film made me feel while watching it and score the music based on that.”
COVID: Yet another challenge thrown into the mix
As mentioned, most of the cast and crew had to work tirelessly to find their feet throughout the duration of shooting the film due to a lack of experience. Unfortunately, once every scene had been shot and everyone moved to breathe a sigh of relief, yet another challenge in the way of the project’s completion was thrown into the mix.
“COVID hit shortly after we finished shooting. That meant we had to edit the film back and forth remotely for a year. It was challenging enough having never done anything like this before! Doing it remotely really made it feel like building a very big puzzle. Luckily, we got through it!” says Earl.
And get through it, they did. There’s no doubt that ‘2 Thirds of a Man’ is an exquisite piece of art and the perfect example of how Africa is the future of film, a statement made by Martin Hiller, Content and Creative Director for FAME Week Africa.
“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved. I want coloured kids to look at the movie and go ‘I can live my truth, speak my truth, be my truth.’ We need some positive stories right now!” Earl concludes.
Watch the full webinar discussion here