On a quiet night in the desert, a young man’s life is about to change. Mystify tells the story of a hitchhiker who gets much more out of a simple ride to town than he could have ever imagined: an education.
Mystify is South-African director Johnny Swanepoel’s fifth short film. It’s about a young hitchhiker (Cole) in the lone desert who is looking for a quiet ride to the next town. What he doesn’t know is that this ride won’t be as calm and easy as he thought it would be, thanks to a strange encounter with an old man (Mike) who lectures him about the world’s most complicated species: women. The audience is invited to join Cole on this intriguing journey to explore the magnificent beauty and mystery of women and of life.
Swanepoel is also working as a cinematographer for various TV commercials and music videos, which he also has a great deal of experience directing and editing. His previous short films were broadcast all around New Zealand and Australia. His newest short, Mystify, has been invited to participate in the Cannes Short Film Corner as well as compete in the South African Grahams Town Film Festival. Mystify has attracted attention from many film festivals all over the world.
The cast of the film is more than promising. It’s bursting with diverse talent. Actress Simone De Kock (Nina) is a true beauty who was a Miss South Africa top 5 finalist last year. Actor Justin Munitz (Cole) is a talented and well-known photographer in South Africa who has acted in projects all around the world. Actor David Muller (Mike) has his own stage play called “Oom Schalk.” This talented cast brilliantly delivers a set of unique characters that allows Mystify to delve into such a broad subject in a more nuanced and revealing manner than any short could actually do.
The haunting look of the film was brought to life by cinematographer Helmut Scherz, who is currently working for FOX TV’s “The Blueprint TV Show,” which focuses on Africa and its beautiful locations. If someone knows how to capture the beauty of the desert, it’s definitely Scherz. He didn’t fail to bring his breathtaking vision to Mystify, delivering an unforgettable feel that draws out even more the uniqueness of this short film.
Mystify was shot on an extremely tight budget in one night and was in post-production for over a month. However, one wouldn’t even notice it because of the magnificent talent and craft that have made this short stand out and get recognized globally. It is also the outline of an exciting upcoming feature film by the director, Swanepoel, which will have even more action, twists, and drama. On top of delivering such a splendid story, Mystify could work as a preview for potential producers and collaborators looking to jump on board with the feature-length version. It opens the floor for funders and buyers to discuss its future potential to reach new heights. Swanepoel is currently preparing to shoot his next short, which will focus on the subject of women abuse, thus taking a much darker creative direction than in Mystify.
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