Deep End is a coming-of-age culture-clash romance drama about a young Indian woman, living in Durban. Sunitha Patel wants to find her own way in the world, even if it means making waves in her society. The film is directed by Timothy Eubulus, stars Carishma Basday and is produced by Jacintha de Nobrega. A graduate of Los Angeles Film School (LAFS), Jacintha’s worked as an executive producer for E-TV, headed CVET a community-based film school in Cape Town, and created a weekly entertainment magazine show called Rush for E-TV. In 2016 she opened Arclight Productions in Durban, producing a Food Network TV series, Siba’s Adventures, and now Deep End.
How did you come to be involved in Deep End?
I studied and lived in Los Angeles for 8 years and returned to South Africa in 2010 not very motivated to enter into the film industry. I opted for a corporate job and eventually left in 2016 where I started my own production company Arclight and optioned the script Deep End.
I noticed you produced Durban Beach Rescue… did this have anything to do with the inspiration for this film?
Durban Beach Rescue definitely motivated me to work on the beach, I realised I love the ocean especially Durban’s Golden Mile. However, Deep End is what really moved me to produce the film as I was inspired by the strong women of colour as there is a lack of these characters on our screens.
What was it like working with Eubulus Timothy?
It was good working with a Director who has a clear vision and who has captured the characters and the world of the story so well.
What was the vibe like on set?
There was a real camaraderie on set as most of the crew were local and as a woman of colour I wanted to make sure I was giving as many opportunities to people of colour. I think the excitement was tangible because it’s not often we get to tell our story so it really motivated the cast and crew even more.
Did you encounter any major challenges?
No production is without challenges and I am thankful I never had financial issues while shooting as our funders the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry was extremely supportive. The biggest challenge was shooting in the ocean even though we had our beautiful Durban weather the waves needed to be right for the surfing.
I understand that most of the cast and crew hailed from Kwazulu-Natal…
Yes as a local KZN producer it was important for me to provide opportunities for our KZN cast and crew. The more we get to practice our craft the better we can become. I believe we are growing steadily and will soon become the province to film in.
Did you enjoy shooting on Durban’s Golden Mile… are there any stories you’ve taken away?
Absolutely it’s my second time shooting on Durban’s Golden Mile and I think I have the best job ever as I get to have an office that overlooks the Indian Ocean. When you’re working 12–14 hours a day on the beach it doesn’t feel like hard work. The ocean has a personality of its own,
and on both shoots, it was a major character in my production. I’ve learnt to respect and be patient when it comes to mother nature.
What do you think is the underlying message of Deep End?
Definitely to follow your dreams. There are so many messages though as a parent it speaks to supporting their children in their dreams. Push the boundaries even if it’s not the norm in your environment. Growing up in Kensington, Cape Town a coloured community the career options
that were presented to me were limited to a school teacher, social worker and nurse. I knew I wanted to do something bigger that included film and television but there were no women of colour working in the industry. I hope I can inspire other women of colour to pursue a career in
the film and television industry. It’s possible!
Did being so involved in a surf movie make you want to pursue the sport at all?
Yes, however, I doubt I can be so graceful on a surfboard! No, seriously I’ve been wanting to surf since we started production but my schedule never allows me to be consistent. I spend a lot of time on the beach, I’m a water baby and swim in the ocean at least 3 times a week – that’s the
joy of living in Durban we can do that all year long!
The film has some similar themes to Bend It Like Beckham and Material… what makes it different?
I think the themes are similar as it uses the traditional Indian culture to challenge society and family expectations using surfing. The difference is its set in Durban, a cultural hotbed with the most amazing Golden Mile as a character. It captures a slice of life in Durban, our people, culture and the way we live.
What would you say you learned from your time shooting Deep End?
I feel like I did an MBA in film producing. I went to film school in Los Angeles where I focussed on feature film development but it’s nothing like actually making a movie. The lessons were intense and it taught me how to be patient and to trust my decisions – woman have great intuition and sometimes we question that.
Are you working on anything you’d like to share now?
I’m currently developing a script with a talented local KZN writer Kamanee Govender – it’s a sci-fi film set in the future. I also have two features that Arclight will produce in KZN.