Writer-producer Morné Lane talks about the zany Afrikaans comedy Kampterrein

Holiday mayhem is the order of the day in this contemporary South African family comedy.

Daniel Dercksen shares a few thoughts with screenwriter and producer Morné Lane, whose film Kampterrein turns a family holiday inside out!

Kamp 2

The cast features a host of familiar names, including Louw Venter (co-creator of the cult comedy TV series The Most Amazing Show), Juanita de Villiers (Somer Son, 2015), Josias Moleele (Crazy Games, Zero Tolerance, 50/50) and Zenande Mfenyana (Generations), Jurgen Hellberg (Binnelanders), Edrien Erasmus (Vir die Voëls, 2016), Reine Swart (Die Pro, 2015), Kaz McFadden (7de Laan), Ruan Wessels (Agent 2000: Die Laksman, 2014), Johan Botha (Arende, Vyfster, 7de Laan), Lindie Stander (Binneland), Therese Benadie (Home Affairs), and Marlee van der Merwe (Sterlopers).

When the Fouchés, an Afrikaans family, arrive at the ATKV Buffelspoort resort for the holidays, only to find that their regular caravan spot has been taken over by the Khumalos. Much hilarity ensues as the two families engage in madcap tit-for-tat exchanges and shenanigans. Buffelspoort manager Oom Gert and his dopey assistant are doing everything they can to prepare the resort for a surprise visit by an inspector from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa who will determine whether to award the venue an additional star, or not …Questions start to arise about the interest in a beauty salon that offers far more than manis and pedis … There’s an old lady on holiday with her dog which she struggles to hide as no pets are allowed …  a handyman who can’t fix a thing … and a couple of local celebrities who think they can get away with not being recognised – all set against the backdrop of the beautiful and peaceful natural environment of the resort. The tranquillity is most profoundly disturbed by the ongoing clashes between the Fouchés and the Khumalos. Will they be able to set aside their cultural differences and actually enjoy their escape from the rigours of city life?

‘Kampterrein’ is directed by Luhann Jansen whose previous projects include the acclaimed series Sterlopers 1 and 2 for Kyknet. It is produced by Marcus Muller and Morne Lane of Incense Productions, and the executive producers are Joost Smuts, Johan Mehmeyer and Lizelle Demos.

Tell me about Kampterrein, what inspired writing the screenplay?
Marcus Muller(Actor) approached me with the concept. I immediately saw the potential. We started writing the script. It was a combined venture between my self and Marcus Muller.
Was it a difficult story to bring to the big screen?
There are always challenges. But the making of Kampterrein was so much fun. With the amazing crew and cast that we had it was not that difficult.
Were you closely involved with the process of turning words into action?
As producer and writer I was on on set every day. It was amazing to see the words turned into action.

Morne Lane was part of the camera crew of his first documentary film Play it as it Lies in 2006. Today, nine feature films, four television series, five live recordings and many corporate productions later, he and business partner Willie Olwage launched Pretoria-based Cross Kine. The company distributes Christian and faith-based movies produced by Incense Productions, including films such as Hartsbegeertes, Forsaken, Rowwe Diamante, ReLoad and Suiderkruis.He has worked with well-known actors and celebrities like Gerhard Steyn, Kurt Darren, Angelique Gerber, Marissa Drummond, Johan Scholtz, Hykie Berg, Gretha Wiid, David Louw, Solomon Cupido and many others.His productions have appeared on Supersport, Kyknet, TBN Africa, ASTV and Kruiskyk TV. He is also a seasoned scriptwriter.

It is said that great writers are born, not made … were you born with the talent to write?

I never knew that writing if so much fun. In one of my previous films, I wrote the story for Rowwe Diamante and David Louw wrote the script. It was my first script that wrote. I’m currently busy writing my next film that we will be producing in June 2017.
As a producer and writer, do you think this helps a writer taking complete ownership of his material? 
Definitely, as a producer you have much more knowledge about production, so that when you are writing the screenplay you can visualize the picture even before it’s been made. This helps with the writing process.
What do you think are 5 elements of a great comedy?
Timing is very important, good comedy acting, a director that understands the genre, and a good screenwriter are very important.
What inspires you as a writer?
Having a good story is a great beginning. I’m a dreamer so sometimes I get great ideas and I then immediately try to put them on paper.
What do you think makes a great writer? 
Difficult question. I’m not sure. I think every writer is different. It all depends what your vision is but if I can mention one thing it must be research. Lots of research.
Do you have a specific process or routine that you follow when you start working on a new story?
I do not write when I’m tired or when I’m not creative. Writing takes time and sometimes I just sit in front of my PC.
How personal are the stories you write, or is it pure fiction?
Kampterrein was not as personal because the concept was brought to me. But that said, I grew up in a family where my dad loved camping and we went camping once a month. This helped the writing because I understood camping and love camping. My next film that I’m busy with was also a concept brought to me by one of my students. It’s about relationships. This is very personal due to my own experience with failed relationships. It helps to have pain that you can go to or joy that you can use when you write.
Your views on the South African Film industry?
It is booming at the moment. It helps that we have the DTI supporting us with funds. We are still so far behind Hollywood but we are getting there. It is a challenge to change the views of South Africans.We are sometimes narrow minded and stuck in common slapstick comedy. It’s time for good, deep stories to be told. But it is great to be in the industry.
How do you see the future of our local industry?
It will grow bigger and bigger. We are getting there and South Africa had a few film up for nomination in the last few years. And the fact that more and more International films are shot in south Africa helps to uplift our Production skills in South Africa.
What advice do you have for new screenwriters who want to get their work on the big screen?
Never stop writing. It might takes 10 or 20 scripts to get to the one. Never be afraid to ask for opinions and always be open to suggestions. What might be good for us might not be good for others. We are making movies for the people. Always be teachable. Know your audience. And write for them.
What excites you about film?  About being a filmmaker?

The ability to take words on paper and converting it to picture and the fact that we can influence peoples life’s with film is amazing. All my previous films were inspirational and the testimonies that came from it was life changing.

What do you hope audiences will get from watching Kampterrein? 
Well first of all to see themselves in the film and have a good laugh. People need to feel good after watching Kampterrein. For the one and a half hour that they sit in the cinema they need to forget about their problems and just laugh.
What’s next for you?
I’m busy writing an Afrikaans drama about relationships. We will be producing this film with our students from Bright Light Film Academy. This is a exiting project. Working with my students that is only in High School is super exiting. What they bring with their excitement and skills is amazing. We will be mentoring them, but giving them freedom to express themselves is important. My next film will be my 10th film and is a milestone for me. I will be celebrating it by doing what nobody has done and using my film academy students. 99% of them are under the age of 19. This is exciting because they think different than the rest. They are kind of free spirits. I have worked with them last year when they produced their short films. It is an eye opening experience when you let youngsters run free.