Meet the director of one of Heartlines' new films

General , Films

Meet Rea Rangaka, the director of the first film in Heartlines' new Fathers Matter film series. Rea has extensive experience as a director and co-producer in South Africa and the USA, and has won a number of local and international awards for his work.

The six Heartlines Fathers Matter films will be aired weekly on SABC2 at 6:30pm every Saturday, starting from 17 September 2022. 

Which film are you directing? What is it about?

The film is called In Time, and it's about Lerumo, a father whose daughter is invited to try out at an athletics meet for a scholarship. More than that, it’s about how a father tries very hard – in whatever ways he can – to be there for his daughter. When Leromo finds out that his daughter is running, he moves mountains to make sure that he can be at the race to support her. It’s about connection and it’s about the different ways parents, and especially fathers, can be there for their child besides financial provision.

What do you like about the story?

I resonate with the story because personally, I had a father who worked really hard. Most of the time I would only see him briefly in the morning, and then briefly when he came back in the late hours of the night from work. And that was his life, constantly working hard. As a child, you’re raised to believe that’s just how life is ­– how black children and parents are meant to interact with one another. The child must just be the child, and the parents are working. Fostering a close relationship between a child and a parent is difficult because they aren’t always there. This film spoke to me about how I wished that I spent more time with my parents while growing up. They weren’t always at events because genuinely, they were working. But the few times that they – especially my dad – went out of their way to connect with me and my brothers, stand out. I understand the importance of and yearning for a father to be there, and how a father can be there for his children outside of finances.

Are you excited to be one of the directors on the Fathers Matter campaign? Why?

I’m very excited to be on the project. For many years I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of Heartlines’ films. Beyond just having a very important social message, they’re also wonderful examples of cinematic endeavours and as a director and a filmmaker, that excites me. To make a beautiful film that opens dialogue and inspires and allows people to aspire towards fostering healthy relationships is something that I think is very important, especially in South Africa.

How do you feel about contributing to the broader narrative that exists around the topic of fatherhood in South Africa?

I think in general that is the main power that film has over other art forms – you’re able to reach a broader audience. You’re able to invite people into the world of a film without necessarily trying to be too didactic or judgey and rather allow people to actually immerse themselves within the film, within the characters. Once you can execute that, all the other messaging and intentions that exist beyond the script itself will start to prompt healthy conversations. So, I think that film is the perfect medium to effect social change. From my point of view, the better and more immersive the film, the better the chance people will be inspired to change.

Any thoughts on film as a way to inspire social change in South Africa?

Narrative, especially film, is a powerful way of reaching out to a mass audience. The aspirational nature and beauty of a film also allow people to be drawn in a very comfortable way, in a way in which they can fully engage with their emotions. From there, I believe that it stays with them, and allows them to access that experience in their everyday lives – and hopefully that will be a positive experience.

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