1. IDIDTHAT: Let’s start with a classic – who has inspired you the most to become a filmmaker and why?
Sam: My two dads – one is a theatre director and the other works in the corporate world and they could not be more different. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that encouraged free creativity but also equally emphasised the discipline and craft of what the imagination brings. They are also both white so the way they move through the world is very different from how I move as a black woman, and yet I was raised to love my blackness and femininity and to embrace what makes me different.
2. IDIDTHAT: Go dads! You completed a 4-year degree in journalism at Rhodes, which means you probably could have been a part of The Daily Maverick WhatsApp group by now, but you moved into directing instead. How has journalism helped you as a director?
Sam: Journalism expanded and stretched my mind. The environment forced me to gain a certain knowledge and perspective and journalism has turned out to be the spine of everything I do. It helps me develop a language and a discipline in how I explore things, but it also made me want to be a filmmaker even more.
3. IDIDTHAT: Why a filmmaker?
Sam: My one dad is a Theatre Director so I grew up in that world and it was just inevitable that I would end up here. My hope is to show South African identity in a way that it hasn’t been seen before. As a black woman who grew up in a Eurocentric household in South Africa, I’d like to think that my voice occupies a unique space. For me, it is more important to see people who look like me, black people, black women in spaces and genres of cinema where we have not previously been seen or been at the forefront of. I want to make work that speaks to that idea. There are so many worlds and genres and stories that I’ve wanted to see myself reflected in and becoming a filmmaker will allow me to do so.
4. IDIDTHAT: Complete the sentence: My first feature film will be named ‘The…and the…’
Sam: “The Sandwich and the Patriarchy.” I would love to make a film that mixes genres. Something like a heist in space maybe.
5. IDIDTHAT: We’d watch that! Another hard-hitting one – what is on your ‘Continue Watching’ list on Netflix right now?
Sam: I just finished “Sex Education” season 2, which was brilliant. I would encourage everyone to watch the documentary series “They Gotta Have Us”. I still have to watch “End of the F***ing World”. There is so much to see, so little time. But these are good problems to have.
6. IDIDTHAT: Ha, they sure are! Okay back to it – how did you first make contact with Star Films?
Sam: I had been a researcher for over 3 years and I knew I wanted to direct but at that stage I was surrounded by a lot of male directors and I felt that I needed to speak to a female director doing what I wanted to do. So I contacted the incredible Cindy Lee who was kind enough to meet with me. I wanted advice on getting from where I was to where she was. It went really well and she introduced me to the rest of the Star team.
7. IDIDTHAT: Thank you Cindy! So why Star Films?
Sam: Their array of directors are diverse – a group of individuals who are all pushing to do interesting work. I felt like it would be a place where I could learn and grow to cultivate my own voice. Star Films is a company that embraces change, wants to innovate, supports their directors and values the vision and collaboration of filmmaking. There is so much that I want to do, and at Star I feel like I’m at a company that wants to be on that journey with me, wherever it takes us.