The Inspired Africa has taken it’s space as an online magazine by profiling inspirational businessmen and women whom the continent can draw inspiration from. A day at the movie house recently has seen a change to this for a while as I could not let this life changing documentary go by without a comment.
Joost Van der Westhuizen’ is a former South African Springboks Captain famed on the rugby field to turn his life into public arena. The former Blue Bulls scrumhalf now tackles a crippling disease that has seen him rise up above expectation again just like he did for the Rugby World Cup glories. He has again opened up to the world in a gallant attitude, as he fights for survival, for others affected by Motor Neuron Disease.
Glory Game Director Odette Schwegler (OS) who is listed among the 40 most influential people in South African media under 40, played magic in directing the project that besides South Africa was also shot from across the globe including United Kingdom and the United States of America.
With 17 years’ experience in directing and producing features, The Inspired Africa’s Solomon Mutasa(SM) caught up with her to hear from her experiences working with Joost.
SM. Odette, as a Film Director, what made you decide to direct Joost’s story?
OS: This was my first feature length document, and it was an incredible honour to have been on this journey with Joost. In 2012 I did a Carte Blanche piece about him that was also amazing. The viewer response was massive, so I thought his story may deserve a bigger platform – not just because of the man and his journey, but also because the story itself is about humanity, courage and redemption that have been highlighted throughout the film.
SM: You were listed among the 40 most influential people in South African media under 40, where do you draw inspirations from?
OS: I just love telling stories. It’s my passion. I draw inspiration from people around me and their stories.
SM: Glory Game showed at few theatres, why and are we going to see the film finding its way into Africa and internationally to teach about MND?
OS: We are still working on taking the film to the international audiences
SM: What where the challenges that you faced during shoot considering that it was shot on different continents.
OS: Yes we encountered logistical challenges – especially when you’re traveling with someone who is wheelchair bound – it can be a tricky situation. But, we had an incredible team and courage that everyone just made it possible. And in addition to that’ we had a lot of fun doing the work. We shared incredible times with Joost that will last forever.
SM: Joost’s journey continues…can we expect more Glory Games, people are now eager to learn more through his compelling tale?
OS: Well we won’t be following him around with cameras, but I have no doubt that Joost’s story is far from being told in its entirety. We have also been approached by a publicist about a book, so we will see how we progress with time.
SM: Lastly, as the Director of Glory Game, what lessons have you drawn from Joost’s courage?
OS: Too many lessons to count really, but most of all his example has shown me that it’s possible to get through anything life throws at you with love, courage and laughter. He has taught us to embrace and believe in the unknown future.