Photography by Khotso Tsaagane
Last week Live Magazine SA and British Council Connect ZA hosted their fifth Creative Session #FilmMatters, which was attended by the forever fresh Live Mag team plus students from AFDA. Our panel of industry giants, movers and shakers shared their experiences, plus their trials and tribulations faced in the early years of their film making careers.
Here are some of the reflective tips from the session:
Going to film school isn’t the only necessary thing to do. You can start making your own films then go out there and approach the relevant people (investors and sponsors) to lend you a hand.
Find a mentor and learn as much as you can about film. Develop the vast amount of skills needed to thrive in film school or in making film.
Become an exhibitor and allow criticism. Exhibit your material so that people can see what it is that you do and give feedback on it.
Don’t go into stereotyping when making film, let the truth speak for itself. If it’s a local film make sure it remains raw and locally fine-tuned. Don’t westernise it because your audience will not be able to relate.
Nhlanhla Masondo also mentioned he once received advice from someone who said filmmakers should not be allowed in film schools until they are 35 years of age. By then they would be self-taught craftsman and exhibitors that have film making skills and know what they’re about.
Our bukwild panel
Briony Hanson, Director of Film, British Council (UK)
Prior to joining the British Council, Briony spent time at the BFI and Channel Four plus co-programmed the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival from 1996-2000. She has conducted numerous onstage interviews with the likes of Julianne Moore, Gus Van Sant and Dustin Hoffman, and makes broadcast appearances as a film critic for BBC TV’s The Culture Show, Sky TV’s Movie News Show and many more. Briony also co-devised and organised the first ever Sing-along-a-Sound Of Music which still runs in London’s West End, has toured America, Australia and Europe – and is “sacred” to Kurt from Glee.
Nhlanhla Masondo, Film director, writer and producer (SA)
Nhlanhla is a director, writer and producer with 10 years in the film industry. His work includes documentaries, dramas and international coproductions for television networks including the SABC, the Canadian Broadcasting Commission, Vision TV (Canada), LCP (French Parliamentary Channel), Tele Sud (France), SVT (Sweden); and corporate films for the European Commission, as well as independent films and writing television series. In 2012, Masondo completed his fiction directorial debut with His Majesty’s Building, a TV drama for Multichoice’s Mzansi Magic channel.
Breeze Yoko, multidisciplinary artist specialising in video/film and graffiti (SA)
Johannesburg-based Breeze Yoko first made his mark on the underground scene in his hometown, Cape Town, in the late nineties as a member of the hip-hop collective Groundworks. He has over twelve years experience in film and television production, as well as a few stints acting for television and feature films. His first solo work, Biko’s Children (2007), is a reflection on contemporary South African culture and the legacy of freedom fighter Steve Biko.
Rachel Robey, Film Adviser, British Council (UK)
Rachel leads on feature film support and British Council Film’s relationship with film festivals, and oversees our work in the Middle East and North Africa, sub Saharan Africa. She is a producer herself, having formed Wellington Films in 2000 with her producing partner Alastair Clark. Their debut feature film production was Paul Andrew Williams’ BAFTA nominated London to Brighton which was awarded the Best Achievement In Production at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards.
The monthly Live Creative Sessions are a platform for up-and-coming creatives to engage with established industry professionals and arts practitioners, receive creative and career advice as well as build relationships with these professionals.