Cape Town based filmmaker Ian Morgan was the winner of the first Sundance TV Shorts Competition for South Africa, with his short film Good Mourning. Morgan, who won a trip to London to premiere his film at the Sundance Film Festival, returned this week excited, elated and inspired. Here he answers a few questions:
Tell us about your winning film Good Mourning?
Good Mourning is a dark comedy about Ted (played by Paul Snodgrass), a professional mourner, who loves his job to death. Until one day he is challenged by a disbeliever, Sandrine (Skye Russell), who questions his morals and ethical standpoint and the conversation take an unlikely turn.
What made you decide to enter the competition?
Paul (Snodgrass) suggested it and sent me a link to the Sundance TV Shorts Competition site. We had been entering the film into a number of local and international film festivals and thought we’d try our luck with this one.
Were you surprised when you got the news that your film had won?
I was busy in post-production on a few commercials I had directed so I got to work early to check my mails and started deleting the ones that were not job related. I stopped and thought to myself “did I just see the word Sundance TV?” on one of the emails I had deleted. So I went into my trash file and there it was – an email to tell me that Good Mourning had won. I went into a bit of a shock to be honest. I didn’t even have time to process that there was a prize until my producer mentioned that I was going to London.
How did you feel once you had recovered from your initial shock?
After coming from advertising, where it has predominantly been about creating beautiful images, Good Mourning was originally intended to be a project to prove to myself that I could still direct characters in dialogue driven scenes. To have it selected as the SA SundanceTV Shorts winner is a massive honour.
Tell us about your trip to London to receive the award.
Travelling to London as a guest of SundanceTV was an incredible experience. Our film got screened with three other films – from Spain, France and Belgium – all of which were of top quality. It was a great opportunity to make some contacts in the industry in London and to learn about what films people are looking for.
I have a number of projects in different phases of development. I have a feature script, two short scripts completed and am currently writing a third. They all tend to have off-beat characters and that dark comedy element. Ultimately it all comes down to funding. It’s not a case of if they will happen, but more of how soon.
To watch Morgan’s short film go to: http://www.sundancetv.co.za/shorts
Good Mourning will also be broadcast on Sundance TV (DStv 108) later this year.