daryn's gym at IFFR

A Laugh Came From There, REALLY!

A mockumentary from a South African filmmaker seemed a bit of a long shot. Attending a film festivals is about viewing cinema outside of one’s comfort zone. Part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam Return of the Tiger Section, Daryn’s Gym was a curious title with an unusual premise. Surprisingly, the work from director Brett Michael Innes made me laugh. Soldiers lead by an ill prepared leader in a David versus Goliath battle.

Black and Paper interview with Producer Paulo Areal from the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Normally, South Africa audiences expect serious, heavy subjects. You avoided this narrative, going for comedy. What was the reason?
“During COVID there was just so much heartache and pain. Brett Micheal-Innes, the writer-director producer of the film who is a known creative who deals with Dramatic themes, felt we needed to see a different slice of South Africa, a slice where a bunch of lovable misfits come together to fight for a common cause.”

As the producer, how did you approach this film?
“Daryn’s Gym was conceived, written, and produced over a 6 months period during COVID.

As the producers it was our task to run the first “COVID Safe feature set’ in South Africa. These uncharted waters had many firsts in terms of Social distancing, COVID protocols and regulations. However, these challengers brought the crew and cast together and made the journey a pleasant one.”

iffr at daryn's gym
Clifford Joshua Young as Daryn

Was the audience supposed to feel sorry for Daryn, at times feeling the need to put him out of his misery?
“I don’t think so, even though Daryn was out of his depth regularly, his naivety was part of his charm and makes him endeared to the audiences.”

daryn's gym at IFFR
The Perfect Villain

Were you hands on in regards to casting?
“Brett and I worked closely in the casting process and the final draft of the script was written once the leads had been locked off giving Brett the luxury of crafting the roles for the specific actors.”

Daryn’s Gym was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

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