Film: As If The Rain Watched Over Her, wins an Ovation Award at its premiere at National Arts Festival, 2021

What: As If The Rain Watched Over Her– premiere at National Arts Festival, 2021

When: July 8, 2021 00:00 – July 31, 2021 23:59 Direct booking link: Tickets: R25 Genre: Film – dance and performance Duration: 15 minutes Language: English

Collegiate Girls’ High School in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) has nabbed a coveted Standard Ovation Award at The National Arts Festival 2021 for its short film, As If the Rain Watched over Her. The awards recognise excellence and innovation on the Fringe. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be announced at an online ceremony on July 31.

This is a huge honour for a film, created at a school and the creative team and cast is thrilled with the recognition. The film has been produced by Collegiate Girls’ High School in association with AFDA Gqeberha and Jacques Batista- who is head of Drama at the school. The director is filmmaker, Jacques Cloete, a lecturer at AFDA Gqeberha. The film was based on an original concept by Jacques Batista, conceived during lockdown in 2020.  Workshops were held with AFDA. Yes, there are two Jacques involved in this film and they have created a film which is being talked about and has now won an Ovation Award. You have until July 31 to watch the film, online as VOD – video-on-demand.

Batista was encouraged by positive reception of the school’s production, The Edge of Her Earth which was presented at the NAF 2020. For the 2021 NAF, Batista envisaged a dance piece but it evolved into a film. With continuing lockdown, it was unlikely that the school would be able to present a production on stage, with an audience-in-attendance and it was decided to make a short film and not a filmed recording of a stage piece. The film features an all-female cast of 30 – the school’s multi-disciplinary performers led by Sophie Bradshaw and Ogiy’onke Oliphant in the principal roles.

In line with the school’s extended curriculum work which includes Film Studies, for this film, Batista brought in multi-disciplinary skills across genres of acting, dance and music and combined these strands cinematically. The collaboration with AFDA Gqeberha was an opportunity for AFDA’s creative outreach programme which is committed to facilitating collaboration with future female filmmakers. The project “fulfils a close working relationship between AFDA Gqeberha and Collegiate Girls’ High School’s Drama Department.” Review to follow on TheCapeRobyn.

Info as supplied:

As If the Rain Watched over Her, traces a day in the life of a young wigmaker, Maria, whose internal conflict reaches a climax through the troubled relationship with her sister, Elizabeth. As viewers, we are never certain which of the two sisters’ perception of reality we can trust as the lines between the real and dream worlds become blurred. As the day unfolds, the precarious situation makes it unclear whether Elizabeth really exists while the restless Maria struggles to make sense of the world in and around her head. Set in an anonymous space and time, the story is told by an all-female cast on a rainy day when the shadow side of the mind is chased by the past Maria can no longer keep secret.

Translating the theatrical ideas onto screen is Jacques Cloete, film-maker and lecturer at AFDA Gqeberha. A passionate and intuitive visual storyteller, Cloete is particularly skilled at colour grading which he is applying to great effect during the editing process. Holding an honours degree in Film and Visual Media, he has a list of films to his credit including Katgriep, Small Steps and Headspace. In the director’s chair Cloete is also responsible for adapting the original story by Jacques Batista and Caitlin Wiggill. A stage and screen writer, Wiggill has had success with her play ‘God is a Woman’ at Artscape. In addition, she wrote the screenplay for the television adaptation titled ‘Ander’ for broadcast on KykNet. The original score was composed by Shane Cooper, Standard Bank Young Artist recipient for Jazz 2013, Francois Le Roux best known for creating work for First Physical Theatre Company and his solo projects as HaMan and Kendal Beadon who recently released an album ‘Senescence’ with the group High Water Bridge. Adding to the soundscape is Debbie Walker who wrote the original song, ‘Raindrops’, for the closing credits. Following extended research into various movement practices both locally and internationally, Jacques Batista’s choreography creates the dreamscape dimension through which we experience the lead character’s mind. ‘As If the Rain Watched over Her’ was filmed on location in Gqeberha at the newly established theatre complex, Isithatha, which is fast becoming a venue for alternative theatre genres breaking traditional conventions. 

Sophie Bradshaw (left) and Ogiy’onke Oliphant (right) in As If The Rain Watched Over Her– a short film (15 minutes) produced by Collegiate Girls’ High School in Gqeberha, in association with AFDA Gqeberha and Jacques Batista- who is head of Drama at the school. The film is premiering online, at The Fringe, at The National Arts Festival 2021.

As If The Rain Watched Over Hercreative team:

Concept: Jacques Batista
Producers: Collegiate Girls’ High School in association with AFDA, Jacques Batista
Story: Jacques Batista, Caitlin Wiggill
Director: Jacques Cloete
Choreographer: Jacques Batista
Screenplay: Jacques Cloete
Filming (cinematography and editing): Jacques Cloete
Make up: Alexander Tabisher
Costumes: Jacques Batista, Amanda Foullkes

Original score (dances): Shane Cooper, Francois Le Roux, Kendal Beadon
Original song: “Raindrops”: Debbie Walker
Musicians: Judith Parfitt, Debbie Walker
Vocalists: Kirsty Walker, Lonalunathi Qaba
Recorded by: Richard Campbell

Sophie Bradshaw (Maria)
Ogiy’onke Oliphant (Elizabeth)

Anoyolo Busakwe
Ashleigh Maling-Nel
Alessandra Tschirschwitz
Miceala van Rhyn
Caitlyn Burton
Lathi Mgwebi
Amy-Leigh Ward
Kirsty Walker
Ava Beary
Taylor Wilson
Charlotte Hutchinson
Mihle Ngqoza
Emihle Ngqoza
Shalynn Buys

Kayleigh Killian
Yolani Oliphant
Jessica Smith
Avuzwa Gotyana
Lilita Gila
Paige Bezuidenhout
Lolwethu Matokazi
Abigail Lacey
Lathita Doyi
Mamelo Ngcwabe
Petra Coltman
Camryn Robinson
Olona Gwili
Lonalunathi Qaba

NOTE: The film premiered at The National Arts Festival-July 8-32, 2021. For information about the film, contact Jacques Batista, via e-mail:

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM – As If The Rain Watched Over Her

Jacques Batista

A graduate of the Rhodes University Drama Department, he has demonstrated versatility as a performer across several genres from Shakespeare to Physical Theatre. Not only is Batista adept as an actor, but a theatre-maker who collaborates with notable artists to produce works within an all-female context. He has attended several workshops in movement and contemporary dance locally and internationally. Most recently, he was selected to participate in the Woordfees Flicker & Flash Artist Week where he was part of the clowning group that took to the streets of Stellenbosch.

Jacques Cloete

A film lecturer at AFDA, Cloete specialises in multi-disciplinary film genres with specialisation in directing. He has been the mastermind behind several screen projects leading up to and beyond post-graduate studies at the University of the Free State. In addition to film production, Cloete has studied psychology and South African Sign Language. All this infuses his work with an intricate understanding of the human condition.

Caitlin Wiggill

With a Master’s Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Stellenbosch University, Wiggill is an up and coming theatre maker specialising in writing and directing. Her play “God Is A Woman” was adapted for screen as “Ander” on KykNet. In addition, she directed Carpets as part of the Toyota US Woordfees in 2018 and was nominated for the Best Upcoming Artist award. In 2019 she directed Monstruasie for the Premiere Festival and won the award for best director.

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