Interview with SJ Van Breda of Sentience

What would you do if you had no senses? How could you live? It wouldn’t be easy, would it? It’s certainly something that someone would want to have, but someone very talented came up with a concept for a short film around such a unique kind of condition. I spoke to SJ Van Breda before this short film screened at VFS along with a couple other short films. Very impressive work is always being pumped out by the students over there. SJ’s in particular really gave me some good chills.

HNMAG: It’s a very interesting and dark concept for a short film. Did this concept come from you or a friend having a similar experience?

SJ Van Breda: Not a similar experience, but I did make this film for someone, my cousin. She’s pregnant at the moment, and she’s also diagnosed with cancer. So she can’t receive treatment for the cancer until she’s had her child. So I kind of did it for her.

HNMAG: So, how long did the shoot take in particular?

SJ Van Breda: It was a 4-day shoot, and we had a month and a half of prep.

HNMAG: Was it difficult to come up with a script describing such a rare condition?

SJ Van Breda: I had a lot of help from the writing instructors here, and everyone really tried to support the script and make it good. But yeah, it was really difficult to figure out what kind of motifs I would use for each sense disappearing.

HNMAG: And who composed the soundtrack? Where did they get the inspiration?

SJ Van Breda: The composer is Leo Tony, We got our inspiration from Sigur Ross. He really likes that band. I heard what that band is, it’s like an ensemble. it’s kind of more like a sound design approach that we got. He did a really good job.

HNMAG: Were there any difficulties? What was the best experience?

SJ Van Breda: Difficulties was just the set. Because we had that white room set built. That was quite a stretch for us to build, but we had a lot of help and support to pull through. I think the best experience was also in that white room when it was fully lit. It took 3 hours to light.

HNMAG: So was there a particular reason to show the white contrast in that room? What was it like that feel?

SJ Van Breda: I wanted it to be a different feel, like this was his other world. So we chose this ethereal look.

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