Wicus Labuschagne - Director and Lecturer

The next guy I'll be introducing to you, had me completely enthralled throughout this interview! Remember this guys name... because it will be shining in lights pretty soon!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you.... Wicus Labuschagne!  

  • Give a brief short introduction to Wicus Labuschagne and what you do?
My name is Wicus. I’m lecturing Visual Effects at AFDA Film School in Cape Town. When I’m not lecturing I direct commercials whenever I get the time and a job!
The entertainment industry intrigued me from a young age; I even remember deciding that I want to be a film director when I was 14 years old. In school I started to record and produce music for songwriters (I even recorded your brother’s early band) but soon I ventured back to my goal of becoming a film maker.

I recently designed and finished the intro sequence for season 36 and 37 of Noot vir Noot which was a major challenge. Last year a commercial I directed for Ster-Kinekor received a Loerie nomination and screened at their cinemas nation-wide. At the moment I’m trying to focus on my Masters Degree in Fine Arts, while doing another commercial which will hopefully be in cinema’s soon!

  • Why film and hobbies are you into and where do you get your inspiration from (eg favourate designer, sites etc)?
The first film I ever really watched, (excluding cartoons), was Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. The space-ships, the aliens, it was incredible back then. It definitely added to my fascination with VFX. After that I was “forced” to watch Stanley Kubrick ‘s “2001: A space Odyssey” which I found really boring and strange. Although, if I think back today, those films really made a lasting impression on me.

Today I seem to come up with most of my ideas in the shower! I don’t think it’s the shower though, it’s when you head isn’t cluttered, when you can tap into your life experiences and draw something from that without actively trying. I don’t believe you can find inspiration. It’s not something hidden, it’s experiences and memories that feed creativity.

Director Jesca Marisa conceptualized Mune, a love story about the distance
and the misunderstandings between people in relationships.

Animations are incredibly fun to work on, and in this case, Jesca was in complete control of her vision.
The VFX was merely an addition to the magical illustrations she had already completed.

"Mune" Screening at the Design Indaba 2010

  • What has been your best experience in your industry or in your life so far?
Haha, during my studies I directed a student film, “Die Lig”. It was about a lighthouse keeper who lived on Dassen island. Of course, we HAD to shoot on the island to make it “authentic.” We packed two boats and off we went to shoot on an island for 3 days. While we were shooting a massive storm was headed towards Cape Town, so big the waves broke over the harbor walls at Greenpoint. There was no way we were getting off that island.

We stayed (squatted) in the old guano-scraper’s houses. It was cold and wet. Water had to be pumped to tanks on the roof, enough to shower every second day. We started eating baked beans on toast, and we were on every news channel. The NSRI later tried to get some of us off the island but the waves were too big. They were able to throw us some food though! Finally the storm settled and when we got back to shore a local restaurant had tables of hot coffee and sandwiches ready. SABC News and E-TV was waiting with a TV crew at the harbor, and I remember Riaan Cruywagen read my name on the 7pm news that evening.

Amazing friendships and even a relationship or two was forged during the whole ordeal. Some even skinny dipped the last night in the freezing cold water between glowing phosphor. It was an amazing adventure. I’ll never forget Johan Visagie who lives on the island, the guys from Yzerfontein NSRI and all the other amazing people that helped!

“Flying Glasses” is a public service announcement for Ster-kinekor’s flagship CSI project Vision Mission.
The commercial will be played at Ster-Kinekor cinemas nationwide, which assists visually impaired children
and young adults, who have no resources for proper eye care, by giving them access to eye-testing facilities and spectacles. We were briefed to produce these commercials with the core copy brief: 700 000 children in South Africa suffer from degenerating sight. Donate R2.50 to Vision Mission when buying your movie tickets at Ster-Kinekor.

  • Where do you see yourself one day?
I really like South-Africa; I don’t want to leave yet. But if I get the opportunity I’d love to work as a VFX supervisor at a big company like ILM or Weta. And then I have an idea for a TV series that I’d love to write and direct.

  • What is your favourite things (can be anything clothes, stones, objects, animals whatever rocks your boat)
I love my guitars, even though I hardly ever play them.

  • What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
When I get some spare time off and I’m fit enough, I love the mountains. Hiking to places where it’s just you and nature. Those are some of the best experiences.

  • If you could be anywhere right now, where would that be and why?
I’m planning a trip to Thailand later this year! So I’m very excited about that. Those amazing beaches, the jungle with ancient temples and I don’t want to stay in the hotels. I’ve heard about these bungalows on the beach for cheap. That’s where I want to stay.

Student Feature film for which I did VFX.
It’s a horror with tons of blood.

Here you can see a Face-Replace effect.

  • Whats your secret place in cape town?
Mmm, I’m only moving to Cape Town next month, so maybe you guys can tell me! Drop a comment ;-)
Working on Death Race 2 as the only VFX Supervisor on set for a day was challenging and fun. Steven Hodgson was the head VFX Supervisor on set. Assisting him was Michael Earl Hodgson and me.
The biggest setup that I was responsible for was the control room from which the cars, track and broadcasts are controlled. The room was a small set overlooking the fighting arena with about 12 screens; all of which were green. The set didn’t overlook the fighting arena, but instead another large green-screen was placed where behind the set’s windows. Massive amounts of glass, chrome tables and glass tables made things a bit tricky.

If you want to follow or get in touch with Wicus please visit the following two sites, I can promise you, you won't be dissapointed:

Blog under construction: www.wicuslab.com