Darling Films’ director Zee Ntuli has packed an emotional pow-r punch in South African Tourism’s new TVC aiming to invite international visitors back to South Africa l, while encouraging South Africans to embark on domestic adventures exploring their homeland.
Shot over eight days, this film was far from just a collection of pretty landscapes aiming to lure travellers into South Africa. It is a combination of beautifully captured scenes, flowing between each other, to tell the story of a woman immersing herself in the South African experience and reigniting her hunger for adventure. Melina McDonald, executive producer and the other founding half of Darling Films says that Darling Films’ director Zee Ntuli was able to “connect his passion of the human narrative with his love for exploring worlds” in this project.
Darling Films’ executive producer and co-founder, Lorraine Smit spoke to LBB’s Zoe Antonov about the creation of the project and the emotional resonance of the film.
LBB> Tell us about the brief for this project and the initial conversations surrounding it.
Lorraine> This was to be a collaboration with agency, client and production house to ensure we make a campaign that not only invites our international visitors back to South Africa after a long period of travel restrictions, but also to remind South Africans of the beauty of our country and its people. There were various layers of approvals as well as different regions around the globe to consider.
LBB> Given the pandemic shut down a lot of international travel to South Africa, , in terms of production, did that give this particular project an added sense of importance or emotional resonance?
Lorraine> It most definitely did. We felt a huge responsibility to strike the right balance and for this to indeed result in travellers wanting to come to our country. It needed to strike an emotional cord with viewers and not just be an assembly of landscapes. Evoke a feeling that will result in actions. There was no other time more important than this to be able to do something meaningful and beautiful that you can be proud of, for your country and its people.
LBB> The campaign is meant to attract tourism back from outside the country, but also remind South Africans of the beauty of their own land and inspire domestic exploration. Was it difficult to strike the balance between these two and how did you do it?
Lorraine> As a South African myself, just being at these places and engaging with the locals in each area felt right and very inviting and honestly made us all feel like travelling within our own country again. By not only going to the most iconic places, but visiting other more rural areas made this very appealing for our local travellers.
LBB> Was this project incentivised by the push to get creatives and agencies back into the country and how do you think this trend will change in the future?
Lorraine> So many South Africans that have left for work opportunities are truly homesick and miss the energy of the people and Sunny SA a lot. The project certainly intended to remind of the opportunities and lifestyle here for those who have left, and hopefully will keep more creatives around. We also collaborated with local musicians, designers and artists to show the wonderful talent pool we do have here.
LBB> When it comes to tourism advertising, there is a lot on its shoulders in the post pandemic world. How do you think this new challenge will unravel and do you think it could open up new opportunities for more creativity in the tourism sector of the industry?
Lorraine> The first step is to get visitors here, we really do believe that once they have experienced South African hospitality and landscapes again or for the first time, they will return to share with friends and family and the wave will grow.
LBB> The film's flow is extremely smooth - from a rainy black cab, to a sunny day, to outfit changes, to change of scenery - that the audience barely notices when it happens. How was this achieved and why was this way of shooting significant?
Lorraine> By using the one lead travelling through our country, it does feel seamless. Her energy and emotion grows as she has quiet moments, adventures, and engages with South Africans… it gives the commercial a beautiful flow and emotional high towards the end. Our director, Zee Ntuli, is well known for emotive storytelling and has done this very successfully with a combination of camera moves and some drone shots.
LBB> Tell us more about the significance of the different places included in the campaign.
Lorraine> Client and agency needed us to represent a variety of provinces, as well as touch on a few different pillars, plus appeal to different age groups. For instance: The Mandela Capture site in Kwazulu Natal covered for Cultural Roots and Heritage; God’s window and the Forest - Scenic Beauty; Wildlife and safari - Game lodge in Mpumalanga; Active Adventure - Dunes, surfing, in Cape Town etc, City lifestyle - Live performances and Design in JHBurg, StellenboschWine farm for Fine Dining experiences.
LBB> What were the most challenging and equally the most fun and rewarding moments of this campaign?
Lorraine> Shooting and travelling for 10 days in a row required huge amounts of pre-planning as each province had its own local element of cast/ crew and the coordination of this shoot was a huge challenge. But each section had its own energy and reward and taste of the local environment.