SaltPeter’s long gestating documentary Untamed has been selected to participate in the prestigious IFP No Borders Project Forum taking place in New York in September. Director Simon Wood will be presenting the film, the only documentary selected from South Africa, to a plethora of key funding bodies and film festivals.
The Independent Filmmaker Project champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists to essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. Previous projects selected for the Forum include Moonlight, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Cutie and the Boxer.
From 10 terabytes of footage spanning six decades and four years after beginning the project, an initial rough cut has emerged from SaltPeter’s edit suite. While much refining and crafting is still to be done, a short clip will give you a taste of what to expect.
Dr Ian McCallum again found himself under the studio lights as he sat down with director Simon Wood for the eighth time. In his longest interview yet, Dr McCallum spoke, among other things, about his upbringing in Zambia, ideas surrounding Jungian analysis, the feeling of entering a rugby stadium as a Springbok and what he described as the miracle of death.
Untamed’s various elements, shot and collected over the last three years, are finally being brought together as story editor Emma Bestall tirelessly crafts the material into a coherent and compelling rough cut. With over 10 terabytes of media from which to draw and endless cups of coffee to keep them fuelled, Emma and director Simon Wood are hard at work teasing out a narrative that touches on Ian’s multi-faceted life, poetry, Jungian analysis, the relationship between evolution and landscape and the construction of reality.
The relics of Ian’s time as a Springbok can most easily be found in the Rondebosch Boys’ High School pavilion where his his Springbok jersey, blazer and cap stand on display.
Having previously visited Mason House – Ian’s old boarding house – the crew also took the opportunity to investigate other areas of the school.
The full life cycle of the butterfly is on display at the conservation facility near Stellenbosch. From the arduous mating, to beautiful winged insect to being unceremoniously dismantled by an army of ants, there was no shortage tiny activity taking place under our lens.
In addition to butterflies, the crew got to turn their attention to giant lizards, tarantulas and water critters.
Recently, director Simon Wood took Ian on a trip to his birthplace – the town of Kitwe in Zambia. Hours had been spent analyzing the 8mm footage of Ian’s childhood and though Kitwe has changed significantly since Ian lived there, almost all the landmarks still stood.
Together, Simon and Ian were able Ian’s old haunt – Ek Park, Wasikile Stadium, Mindola Dam and even two houses in which Ian lived. Welcomed in by the owners, Simon was able to capture the changes that have occurred over the decades, while Ian was more than happy to remember when this was his ‘Garden of Eden’ .
It’s not often that one has the opportunity to film the Earth from space. Fortunately, thanks to some videos discovered online and with a little searching, the Untamed team was able to uncover a valuable repository of images available from NASA.
A day’s worth of downloading, grading and renders later and the team found themselves watching some truly majestic footage – from trips across the Atlantic Ocean to the Aurora Australis dancing over the horizon.
Life is calmer underwater. That’s what the Untamed crew discovered as the underwater worlds of the Two Oceans’ Aquarium found themselves under the gaze of the SaltPeter macro lens.
Sharks’ foetuses in their embryonic sacs, furtive seahorses and translucent jellyfish were some of discoveries, left over from a time long past.