My films

I have been passionate about film for nearly my entire life, and have been making original films since I was a young child. I have also used my musical background to both inform my solo work and to collaborate with others as a film composer (The Dreamland Inn, Buttercup). My score for "The Dreamland Inn' won "Best Musical Score" at the Jersey Shore Festival in 2020.

Most recently, I co-wrote and co-directed a mini-feature, "Nocturna", with my friend and frequent collaborator Zak Zaidi. The film premiered at the Princeton Garden Theater in early August 2021, and will be out for online release very shortly. In the fall, I will be studying as a Film and Television production major at NYU Tisch.

Nocturna

Written and Directed by Carl Coetzee & Zak Zaidi

Edited by Zak Zaidi
Original Composition by Carl Coetzee

Released August 2021

Read the Script:

In March of 2021, my frequent collaborator Zak Zaidi and I set out to make our first mini-feature. We came up with the idea of a protagonist haunted by a series of strange, recurring dreams that he cannot understand. The result was Nocturna -- by far the most ambitious project I had ever embarked on.

Zak and I wrote the script for Nocturna the following month, finishing the script in early May before going into intense pre-production. The shoot, which took place during mid-to-late May, ran for 6 days and involved several actors across several locations around Princeton, NJ. In addition to being the largest shoot we had ever done, production involved several elaborate technical feats, such as simulating driving shots with lights and projectors and creating artificial daylight in order to film day scenes at night. During the following months, Zak worked on assembling rough cuts as I worked on the soundtrack. Finally, we finished the piece together in late July/early August in time for the film to premiere at the Princeton Garden Theater.

Our influences for the film included Satoshi Kon's "Perfect Blue", as well as the work of Christopher Nolan. Additionally, the score is largely inspired by FINNEAS and Michael Giacchino.

solo films

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Orange Blossoms

Written, Directed and Edited by Carl Coetzee
Original Composition by Carl Coetzee

Released October 2020

I made this film for an assignment with a prompt to write a 2 minute film -- no dialogue -- in which a character makes a difficult and dramatic decision. I shot this in October 2020 with my good friends Jamie Granato and Zak Zaidi; Jamie played the lead role, while Zak was Director of Photography. In addition to directing, I played a secondary character. My dad also filled in for a role.

 

To achieve the 'fire' effect, Zak and I used a fire pit in my backyard, shooting extreme close-ups of the flames in high framerates at night. In post, I slowed them down and took out the background to make the flames appear much larger than they were.

Monologue

Written, Directed and Edited by Carl Coetzee
Original Composition by Carl Coetzee

Released October 2020

A teenage writer deals with his fear of social and societal rejection in the only way he knows how.

 

I wrote this piece in May through July of 2020. I was inspired by films such as "Adaptation" and "The End of Evangelion" as I was writing, with the former inspiring the initial premise of the film and the latter inspiring the emotional tone. I finished a semi-final draft in mid-July and did several revisions (special thanks to my aunt, Natasha Mostert, who provided feedback as I was revising).

I shot the piece in early August with frequent collaborators Zak Zaidi (DoP), Aaron Razi (Production Manager), and James "Jamie" Granato (Boom Operator/General Crew). Bennett Emann and Joe Lippman acted in the lead and supporting roles, respectively. We managed to shoot the entire piece in a day in locations around Princeton, NJ.

Though both writing and shooting were variously difficult (especially the former), post-production proved the largest challenge. I had never worked with this much dialogue before and spent countless hours fine-tuning the pacing and rhythm of the piece. Composing the soundtrack was similarly difficult; my main influences were '70s instrumental music and the score from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I finished the piece in early November of 2020.

Special thanks to everyone involved in the production!

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Unfinished symphony

Written, Directed and Edited by Carl Coetzee
Original Composition by Carl Coetzee

Released May 2019

After losing his ability to speak, a man turns to music to make his voice heard.

 

This film was shot in February/ March 2019 and was released in May 2019. It was later minimally recut in September 2020 and uploaded for archival/portfolio purposes. Created as part of the Advanced Media 2018/2019 course.

Collaborations:

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The dreamland inn

Written & Directed by Aaron Razi

Original Soundtrack by Carl Coetzee

Released December 19, 2019

WINNER: "BEST MUSICAL SCORE", JERSEY SHORE FILM FESTIVAL 2020

I was brought onto this project after scoring Aaron's short film, "Buttercup", a few months prior. In addition to scoring the film, I also worked on set as a crew member when the film was shot in August 2019.

Since this is a film with less dialogue and more emphasis on visual storytelling, the score was much more critical this time around. While working on this piece, I tried to push my existing skills with more of an emphasis on a more synchronization-dependent score and experimentation with more live instrumentation. Most notably, I constructed a personal sound studio in order to record live strings; additionally, since I was the only available violinist, I employed extensive overdubbing and ultimately created a 24-member string section with only one instrumentalist.

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Buttercup

Written & Directed by Aaron Razi

Original Soundtrack by Carl Coetzee

Released June 14, 2019

In December 2018, I was approached by Aaron Razi to make music for a project he had shot some months earlier. Though I'd never scored a film before, I had a strong musical background and at the time was exploring professional music production. Over the following six months, Aaron and I worked together to create a 25-minute original soundtrack for the film.

Making this soundtrack challenged me as a composer and a producer, and was my first significant production project. During the making of these pieces, I recorded with live guitar for the first time as well as live bass. I grew as a musician during the recording of this soundtrack-- my personal favorites in the tracklist include "Theme/Finale From Buttercup", "The Shed", "Red Marks", and "VHS Tapes".