Filmmaking: <I>Da Yie</I>
Issue: January/February 2021

Filmmaking: Da Yie

Anthony Nti’s Da Yie shares a story of two African children who, unknowingly, are on their way to being abducted. The African film has been accepted into more than 140 film festivals and is now shortlisted for an Academy Award in the category of Live-Action Short Film.
The 20-minute short takes place in sunny Ghana, where a two poor children - Matilda and Prince - are courted by a friendly adult, who offers them food and entertainment. Co-written by Anthony Nti and Chingiz Karibekov, Da Yie translates to “Good Night”.

The film is a Rondini-Caviar production that brought the Ghanaian diaspora and the local community together on set. The cast and crew are mainly Ghanaian. Only a few department heads traveled with the filmmakers from Belgium to Ghana’s coast for the shoot, including director of photography Pieter-Jan Claessens.

Claessens shot the film using an Arri Amira with Lomo Illumina lenses. He mainly used 35mm and 50mm lenses, but occassionally employed an 85mm for POV shots and to create a more dense feeling. Jordan Vanschel pulled focus and took care of camera logistics. Claessens wore a number of hats on set, including serving as gaffer and camera operator. He opted to work with lightweight, battery-powered Fomex LED lights, a bunch of practicals and a diverse palette of color gels, which were mainly used for the night and interior scenes. 

Outdoor scenes during the day were filmed using natural light. Together with the director, he decided to shoot in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio to keep the story close and intimate. The film was then edited by Frederik Vandewalle, who cut the short using the Adobe Creative Suite, relying on Premiere Pro and After Effects for slight VFX work. The final footage was graded using Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve by Florian Keirse.

Music was composed by Maxim Helincks and Milco Geryl, and Flo Van Deuren handled Foley effects.