first_imgMike Nicol’s crime novel Killer Countryhas received positive reviews.(Image: Mike Nicol) Author Margie Orford on the cover ofthe special crime issue of WordsEtc.(Image: Margie Orford)MEDIA CONTACTS • Helen HolyoakeBookEx+27 11 462 2302Chris ThurmanSouth Africans like to talk about crime. It creeps into conversations at dinner parties, in shebeens, on radio talk shows and in parliament.Perhaps it was only a matter of time, then, until all that talking fostered creative writing and reading – not just in newspaper and magazine articles or online, but in books. South Africa’s publishers, booksellers and literary communities are all in a stir over “crime lit”.Literary websites like Book SA and LitNet are dedicating an increasing proportion of their content to so-called krimis. Earlier this year, literary journal WordsEtc brought out a special issue on the phenomenon, guest edited by Joanne Hichens, herself a crime writer. The publication featured interviews with, among others, the local queen of crime fiction, Margie Orford.Most recently, the inaugural BookEx book fair in Johannesburg hosted CrimeWrite, the first festival of its kind in the country. Organiser Mike Nicol expressed some disappointment at the turnout, but affirmed nonetheless that the writers participating showed “they can deliver the goods … there is a great marketing opportunity here.”“Pulp fiction with hardboiled prose”Nicol, a self-confessed krimihead, is the doyen of the South African crime writing scene and its most ardent promoter. This is quite something for a man who used to feel only disdain for the genre.He describes his crime novels as “pulp fiction with hardboiled prose”, and is unashamed about the formulaic requirements of much popular writing – in particular, he is critical of “academics who haven’t yet got their heads around the idea that commercial fiction has a completely legitimate place in any society’s literary life”.In penning these words, Nicol no doubt had in mind a review of his book Killer Country by literary scholar Leon de Kock of Stellenbosch University. The debate amongst members of the Book SA community following this review demonstrated the false perception that professional academics look down from their ivory towers on popular books, their readers and their writers.De Kock’s review in fact praises Nicol’s writing, but poses some important questions nonetheless: what does it mean for a former writer of serious literary works to turn his hand to genre fiction? Is this a process of dumbing-down in order to gain as wide a readership as possible? And if so, what assumptions are being made about readers? More specifically, why is it that so many writers have, like Nicol, chosen to focus their careers on crime writing?These are important questions, particularly in a country such as South Africa. There are ethical implications to representing the phenomenon of crime in the pages of a book – not least because writing for entertainment and writing for edification are by no means mutually inclusive.This dilemma is linked to the problem of definition. What is crime writing? After all, you would be hard pressed to identify any South African book (including those by our Nobel Prize-winners) in which transgression of the law is not a central theme. As such, crime has always been pervasive in South African literature.A useful distinction can, however, be made between fiction and non-fiction crime writing. One of the panel discussions at the CrimeWrite festival included well-known non-fiction authors Peter Harris, Antony Altbeker, Martin Welz and Chris Marnewick – all of whom have written about true crime in earnest engagements with South Africa’s crime epidemic. For the most part, however, when people refer to crime writing they mean what Nicol himself calls “schlock fiction”. This is, more or less, writing according to a set of conventions already established by authors from countries where crime is not as serious a social problem as it is here.Vicarious gratificationThose who defend crime fiction in South Africa could present a moral case if they wished to: in a country where, all too often, justice does not take its course, krimis offer a kind of vicarious gratification. As Nicol admits, crime novels tend to conclude with the triumph of moral justice, if not of the justice system: they appeal to a reader’s “innate desire to have good stomp all over evil”.But it’s not that simple. Many crime novels, in true realist form, reject neat endings in which the goodies beat the baddies; moreover, it’s not always that easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys.“One of the things that attracted me to crime fiction,” adds Nicol, “is the moral ambiguity it creates. There are no angels.”Likewise, crime writers do not claim any moral high ground for themselves. That WordsEtc cover image of Margie Orford is suitably ambiguous: looking sombre as she pulls on a white glove, Orford could either be a detective about to get to work or a murderer about to commit a heinous crime.Quoting Raymond Chandler’s observation that “crime fiction is a parody of itself, as tongue-in-cheek as it gets”, Nicol suggests that krimis mock “the author, the novel and the reader. It’s a game. Crime fiction confronts serious social issues but simultaneously says, don’t take me seriously.”An entertaining reading experienceIndeed, there seems to be consensus among South Africa’s crime writers that their vocation is fun – just as they want the reading experience to be entertaining. Yet the awkward question remains: what happens when writing and reading pleasure involves voyeuristic violence? There are no clear answers.A glance at the promotion tables in local book retailers provides evidence enough that South African readers are not reluctant to buy crime fiction from international authors such as Stieg Larsson and Ruth Rendell. This would suggest that most consumers see krimis as a form of escapism, which may be one reason why they avoid locally-produced crime lit: it is simply too close to the bone.But the major reason is, unfortunately, that South Africans are generally still hesitant to spend their time and money on works by South African authors.As Nicol laments, “Often we need to be ratified by overseas publication before local readers will buy our books.”This trend is slowly being reversed, and more and more South African books are on the shelves. If South African crime writing does prove to be as popular as is hoped by local practitioners of the craft – from veterans such as Deon Meyer and Wessel Ebersohn to newcomers like Sara Lotz and Sifiso Mzobe – then it may well help to grow a reading culture across the country.The last word can be left to Nicol: “It’s not so much a matter of dumbing-down as a new kind of book being written. The high literature will remain but readers now have more choice when it comes to buying local fiction. The trick is to make them aware of that choice.”last_img read more


first_imgWorking with a new director or DP can be a tricky process that takes some time to develop. Here are some filmmaking tips to help streamline that process, and to make sure your production is getting the most out of that relationship.Top image: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Richardson on the set of Kill Bill via The Red ListWith advancements in technology and professional production equipment constantly becoming more affordable, it seems that timelines (and usually budgets) for projects become smaller and smaller every year. This means that you have to work more efficiently — and as a solid team — to finish with a project that everyone can be proud of.One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that the director and the director of photography have a clear and singular vision for the execution of the project. Here are some suggestions for ways to make sure the two are in sync.Start With a LookbookAn example of a strong look – Blade Runner via Warner Bros.An image can be a hard thing to explain with words. One easy way to make sure that the visual style of a project is decided on and agreed upon is to begin the process with a lookbook. A lookbook is a collection of images that define the look and tone of the image that you’re going for.It can be any number of things… paintings, photographs, stills from another film, anything that is a representation of what you want to do visually. It helps to take notes on each image, so that you can reference what it is about that image specifically that will support your story/look.I prefer to use a cloud-based file storage service for creating lookbooks (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc). This way, while on set or scouting a location, you can always pull up the lookbook and effectively communicate a visual idea on the spot. Evan E. Richards runs a blog with a comprehensive selection of screengrabs of various films that’s a great resource for building a lookbook.Learn Their Process Early OnChristopher Nolan via Warner Bros.Everyone does things differently. Some directors will want to have a lot of involvement in how the image is created, down to the placement of the camera and focal length of the lens. Other directors aren’t interested in those details, and will fully look to the DP to deliver the look that they’re going for, with little to no direction otherwise.This needs to be discussed ahead of time. That bit of information will completely define the nature of the DP’s job on that project, and it can be different every time. It’s important for everyone to know their role on set, and for all expectations to be made perfectly clear before the production begins. Some of these topics are touched on in this Hollywood Reporter roundtable of Oscar-nominated directors discussing their craft. Get Everyone InvolvedRobert Elswit location scouting for Nightcrawler via ScreenDailyIt’s not acceptable to bring the DP in right before the shoot. The DP should be able to walk the locations well ahead of time, taking photos, looking for power (if needed), and getting an overall game plan on load-in and the plan of attack. This will make it easier for them to create lighting diagrams for each of the setups as well, which is a huge timesaver (and will also allow them to put together the gear list for the shoot). A great app for creating lighting diagrams is Shot Designer.It’s important to work together in creation of a shot list (check out the awesome Shot Lister app) and game plan for each shoot day based on the location scout. This should be done before anyone starts to put together a schedule, and (in most cases) before booking the talent.It is the director of photography’s job to know what time will work best for each location (sun through windows, sun positions for best backlight, etc). If they never get to see the locations, there’s no way that they can do their job. This is one of the most overlooked issues in low-budget productions.Keep an Open Line of CommunicationJeff Cronenweth discusses a Gone Girl scene with director David Fincher via 20th Century FoxThere’s always time to talk. No matter how short on time you are, it will almost always save you time if you stop to pull your DP or director aside and have a quick chat about what’s going on and (hopefully) figure out what isn’t working. Sometimes you just have to get away from the rest of the crew and actors to really get some real thinking done.When things are moving and decisions are constantly being made, it’s really easy to get in the swing of things and lose track of what’s actually going on. Always be asking yourself: Are we executing the plan? Am I supporting my colleagues process? Are we achieving the look that we laid out in the lookbook? And most importantly: Are we making something we’re all going to be proud of?If there is ever any doubt, pull your director or DP aside and figure out how you can fix it — and do it sooner than later.Know Your Role in the RelationshipDenis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins working together via Warner Bros.In the end a film can look lousy but work because of a great performance but not the other way round. That’s something always worth remembering. – Roger DeakinsOne thing a DP should always remember is the pecking order on set. The director is always in control. While filmmaking is a very collaborative process, it’s important that the DP keep the ultimate vision of the director and execution of the project at the front of their mind at all times. If you don’t watch out for it, ego can set in and arguments can begin because the DP wants or takes too much control.However, that works both ways. If the director isn’t assuming the lead role in the execution of the project in a way that cannot be questioned, someone else is going to have to step up to make sure the project is completed. There is an art to doing this in a way that gets the best work out of people, while also getting the best out of the project.When working quickly, and under stressful guidelines, these things can be a weak point in the hyper-sensitive ecosystem that film sets usually become. It’s important to be aware of everything, and everyone’s feelings, especially when it comes to the way that the director and the DP work together.Have any filmmaking tips for the community? Share them in the comments below!last_img read more


first_imgNATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Starting off cold against the determined Jet Spikers, the Lady Warriors found themselves under siege after losing the first two sets before clawing their way to a thrilling 16-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10 win in Game 3 of the semifinals.Myla Pablo scored 22 points, most of them in the third set where the Lady Warriors made a solid stand from 17-19 to extend the match.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“I was telling my teammates let’s help each other, we can do it despite the scores,” said Pablo.Pocari has won the past three conferences in utter domination of the league it joined just last year. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ It will now face BaliPure in the championship match after the Water Defernders melted the Creamline Cool Smashers in their semifinal decider, 25-22, 27-25, 25-23.Game 1 of the best-of-three series is on Saturday.And for a while, it didn’t look like Pocari Sweat was going to make it there.“From the start we had trouble with our first ball,” said coach Rico de Guzman in Filipino. “And we started playing very stiff and tentative. It looked like we didn’t want to win the first and second sets.”Fortunately for Pocari, the Lady Warriors were able to steady themselves just in time and then got a big boost from stringer Heather Guino-o.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Pocari Sweat needed a major jolt to turn back hard-fighting Air Force Wednesday en route to its fourth straight finals appearance in the Premier Volleyball League Open conference at Filoil Flying V Centre.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his sidecenter_img Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Guino-o, pitching in for an off Kai Nepomuceno at opposite position, unloaded 14 points for the Lady Warriors.“Good thing we got that positive vibe once again. I told them to just enjoy it, don’t dwell on the negative things,” said De Guzman.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers PH gets deadline to decide on SEAG 2019 MOST READlast_img read more


first_imgRajmane, an MFA from Shiv Nadar University, focused on theRajmane, an MFA from Shiv Nadar University, focused on the Khirkee mosque area and used threads to measure boundaries of nearly 60 houses in and around the dilapidated site.She has then created metal bars using the same measurements to create a maze-like installation inside the studio.The artwork, she says, reflects the experience of “being an outsider.””There are boundaries all around us, in family and in society. Living in Khirkee made me even more aware of about these multiple layers of society.”There used to be so many Africans here earlier, now there are more Iranians. What are the boundaries they are expected to live in? Then there is the mosque area, where there are more landowners, while the rest of Khirkee is either slum area or the glitzy malls. Who creates these boundaries?” she says.The perennially troubled issue of migration and contemporary urbanism is taken up by the youngest of the lot, Arijit Bhattacharya.The 25-year-old graduate from Veer Narmad South Gujarat University talks about art that is functional and that can be used to the benefit of those who live in makeshift shelters.For the residency he has created a leatherette bag that transforms itself into a “superhero rubber suit” which can be worn during fire emergencies.”I noticed that there is a lot of construction in Khirkee and therefore its also a huge safety hazard, especially if a fire breaks out. Since I want my art to be functional, I have designed this suit which can be worn as protective gear,” Bhattacharya says.advertisementOther projects from the residency include Kolkata based cartoonist Manojit Samantas three-dimensional jigsaw like puzzle made out of cardboard cut-outs that depict the chaotic, unruly life of Khirkee Extension and Manipuri artist Johnson Kshetrimayum s works on racial discrimination that are based on his personal experiences of abuse.”We were called everything from a chinky to chowmein and many times were slapped and beaten up,” Kshetrimayum says.He has depicted all of this in the form of wall drawings and illustrations that talk about discrimination.The five-day-long show is set to conclude on June 20. PTI TRS ANSlast_img read more


first_imgFormer Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur has tendered fresh unconditional apology in the Supreme Court for filing a false affidavit in connection with a contempt case against him.The three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dipak Misra and comprising of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, had earlier asked the former president of the BCCI to tender fresh unconditional apology.On June 27, Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, mandated by the Supreme Court, was to be made effective when members of the Indian cricket board decided to appoint fresh committee to see how quickly the principal order of Supreme Court can be implemented.The apex court passed its verdict on July 18, 2016 accepting the majority of the reforms suggested by the three-member panel, headed by Justice Lodha.On April 17, Thakur filed his reply before the apex court in connection with a contempt notice served against him for filing a false affidavit in the top court.The apex court had granted relief to Thakur and had exempted his personal appearance in the court till the next date of hearing.Thakur tendered an unconditional apology to the apex court in connection with his initiation of contempt proceedings case.The apex court, on January 2, issued a notice to Thakur seeking an explanation as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.The court had sought a reply from Thakur regarding perjury charges levelled against him by the amicus curiae Gopal Subramanian.advertisementThe court had also removed Thakur and Ajay Shirke from their respective posts of BCCI president and board secretary for their failure to bring transparency and accountability to the Indian cricket board and their non-compliance of the court’s July 18, 2016 order.On December 15, the Supreme Court court had observed that Thakur, prima facie, appears to have committed matter of perjury in relation to demanding an intervention via a letter from the International Cricket Council ( ICC) in order to sidestep the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations.The top court also asked the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) to give an undertaking to the new cricket body, Committee of Administrators (CoA), stating that it would follow and implement the Lodha Committee recommendations.A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A. M. Khanwilkar, while hearing the arguments from the amicus curiae and BCCI counsel Kapil Sibbal, said that it would be only after the DDCA submits the undertaking that funds for its day-to-day functioning would be released.On January 30, the apex court had appointed a new four-member BCCI panel of administrators led by Vinod Rai, along with noted historian Ramachandra Guha, managing director of IDFC Limited Vikram Limaye and former captain of the women’s cricket team Diana Edulji as other administrators.They will function as the new interim bosses of the BCCI and run the day-to-day administration of the BCCI till the Justice (retd.) R.M. Lodha-led recommendations are fully implemented and elections are held.last_img read more