Fresh from an undisclosed deep jungle location populated by massive fish (to be revealed soon), we catch up with ‘Dogs of War’ director Johan ‘Vossie’ Vorster of Flybox Films and Happy Hand Grenade Productions.


What is your background?
I’ve been working in the film/tv industry for the last 18 years. I have worked behind the the scenes on channels like KTV and MNet till I started Happy Handgrenade in 2006. I’ve been lucky enough to have dabbled in a few different professions within the industry, like using cameras, editing etc… it helped me to where I am now as a director/ filmmaker.

Does Happy Hand Grenade aim to specialise in fly fishing films or is your focus more broad? 
We really did enjoy making Dogs of War and are now exploring new ways to do more of these kind of films. We have started a branch specialising in outdoor films like flyfishing, called Flybox Films. It’s all very new and very exciting and has been moving really really fast. For our next project we have teamed up with Tourette Fishing once again, to focus on an exciting species to target on fly in a very much wild and untouched place.  We filmed for almost 2 weeks in January 2018, and slowly working on the post production between jobs.

How long did Dogs of War take to film and edit?
On and off about 3 months to finish all the editing, music composition and sound design and finally color. The entire project took us a year as work gets in the way sometimes. The project was completely funded by passion and favours from very talented friends.

Lionel Song – guide, raconteur, tiger whisperer. Photo c/o Tourette Fishing

How would you describe each of the three characters – Lionel, Stu and Johann? How are they different?
All three characters had the perfect balance of knowledge, humour, and sarcasm. Together, this was banter on another level. Like a chain reaction constantly feeding off one another other, you are constantly being schooled with tears in your eyes.. It’s like the three of them became this one perfect character.

What makes the area and the phenomenon so special?
Wow. The diversity of fauna and flora all together in one moment. At anytime you will see something. This truly is a magical place, and of course the seasonable cat fish run. If you can make it during this time, it is truly a sight to see. It’s spectacular to see so many different predators on land, in water and sky all feasting together. A beautiful mess.

Have you done a lot of tiger fishing yourself?
This was my first tigerfish experience, and to experience it in a place like the Okavango Delta, hands on and through a lens, with the most knowledgeable guys, made it even more special.

What did you learn while up there?
Not just how to catch tigerfish, but how to experience and appreciate nature more. We have all been in nature living in South Africa. The Okavango Delta is completely amplified. While fishing you are constantly surrounded by the wild.

Tiger tots. Photo c/o Tourette Fishing

Best gear for barbel run tigerfish (rod, reel, line, flies)
We were fishing 9wt outfits with 300gr warm water sink tips. Steel trace at the end of your tippet. Flies were variations of clousers and brush flies.

What’s next for you?
To finish our latest film/story, soon to be announced, and find ways to be able to do more of these types of stories.

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