Performance director Emilie Badenhorst joins Romance

Director Emilie Badenhorst joins Romance already armed with an impressive body of work. As a filmmaker she has the ability to explore the smallest of moments shared between people on screen, delicately capturing intimacy and leaving the audience feeling connected with her performers. After being mentored by Director Kim Geldenhuys for over three years, Emilie has now moved into the next phase of her filmmaking career and has found the perfect fit in Romance Films. We caught up with this talented filmmaker about her fresh take on performance directing.

IDIDTHAT: You’ve already carved out quite a powerful visual aesthetic, what influences you?
I was raised in a small coastal town outside Cape Town called Strand, which is where my love for small towns and overlooked communities began. My work is a reflection of me, my background, and my current perspective as an intersectional feminist with Afrikaans heritage in 2020. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to capture human experience in some way through film. If I can connect with my characters and their stories on their level I will get an emotionally authentic performance, and if I can achieve that the visuals fall into place.

IDIDTHAT: Can you talk about your filmmaking style?
Emilie: If I had to describe my style of filmmaking it would be from the inside-out; immersive and together. Inside-out, because the point at which I start every frame and every scene, is from the inside of that performer, dissecting how their character’s intention becomes the reality of the film. I never want to impose a direction onto the performer, I want us to discover it together. I believe if we are immersed in the story, together, trust is built between myself and the performer, then the visual will come, because it will be the truth, and that is beautiful.

Emilie Did That

The best way we could describe Emilie’s work is emotive, unapologetically sensuous, and cinematic – where you can’t help but feel moved by her unconventional characters. Emilie handles her performers and characters with care and as a director she forms part of a new generation of filmmakers passionate about reflecting and empowering women and LGBTQIA+ bodies in their work.

Here are some of our favourite pieces from the Emilie reel.

Seasons for 6lack & Khalid

Desert Rose for Lolo Zouai

Emilie’s latest film, ekstasis, is an exploration of a young woman who discovers love and intimacy, and the loss thereof, through a relationship with her best friend and the dissipation of her parents’ marriage. The film uses the landscape of multilingualism in South Africa, the Afrikaner culture and LGBTQIA+ bodies to question the moments of existing in between these spaces and borders created within society. Although the film will only be released early next year, the trailer has given us the feels, the chills, life, you name it.

Let’s roll some quick credits on this one: ekstasis was written and directed by Emilie in collaboration with Kanya Viljoen and produced by Emilie’s production representation in Paris, Cream and LA, Couscous.

ekstasis (Trailer)

IDIDTHAT: Why did you become a filmmaker?
Emilie: I’ve always wanted to create work that speaks to people’s existence, instead of at their existence. Work that delves into experiences with ourselves and one another. And especially work that seeks to create empowerment.

IDIDTHAT: Why Romance Films?
Emilie: The quality of craft that comes out of Romance and the execution is just of the highest standard in my opinion. I can focus on what I need to as a director and I know I will be produced by the very best. Romance also understands my vision, intention, and where I want to go as a director.

“Emilie’s passion is tangible, particularly her love of storytelling. I see incredible talent and natural ability… she has a beautiful edge to her visuals.”
– Romance Films director and partner, Greg Gray

IDIDTHAT: What are you excited to bring to the advertising industry?
Emilie: I believe my generation of young directors want to create honest work that means something. The world is a messy place right now, which means that creative and original thinking is needed now more than ever. As a filmmaker, I want to create nuanced performances and develop worlds that feel truthful and that resonate with a modern audience. Disingenuous commercials are a thing of the past, we need to humanise brands. I want to tell culturally-relevant and memorable stories that resonate. I think this is also why I feel at home with Romance, all the directors seem to share a similar sensibility when it comes to creating work that awakens something in you, it’s always evocative on some level.

Emilie’s work is a feast for the senses. Her own evocative aesthetic combined with her subtle and honest storytelling should be reason enough why she is working alongside the very best in the industry. But she’s also a damn smart filmmaker determined to create work that seeks to question and explore identity and always leave the audience feeling a deep connection to her characters.

Contact Romance:

Executive Producer: Helena Woodfine

Executive Producer: Rozanne Rocha-Gray

View IDIDTHAT Profile
View Romance Website

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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