Hello Circus

We are a collective of independent directors. We are a talent agency. We give our clients freedom to choose and collaborate with us according to budget and needs. We give directors freedom to pursue their creative ambitions.


Directors: Dave Meinert / Gilli Apter / Kenny Mumba / Lamar Bonhomme / Mark Middlewick / Michael Rodrigues / Thina Zibi
Director’s Agents: Vanessa Borthwick / Unathi Mdiya

Company Website


Hello Circus is a collective of talented, independent directors, backed by a team of production experts.

We are not a production house. Hello Circus is an agency that represents directors in much the same way that a talent agency represents performers, with one exception: we also offer any kind of back-end support that they or you might need, in order to achieve your production goals.

Perhaps you’re an agency with an in-house production team but you need a great director or maybe you’re a brand with an idea for a piece of content but you don’t work with an ad agency. With our resources and experience, we can facilitate a production at any scale – from the smallest brand video to the all-out high-budget commercial. And we can get involved at any point of the process – be it from inception or only at the production stage.


In a word: freedom. We saw a need for directors to be independent and at Hello Circus we give what is essentially the freelance director, the freedom to pursue all their creative directions while still providing them the support they would get from belonging to a production house.

We support our directors who are diverse in their background, interests and talent, in whatever they’re doing, whether it’s pitching on a commercial board for a production company, getting a short film produced or going off to shoot a TV series. We don’t own the director.

We in turn saw the need to provide clients with the freedom of a high-end but flexible, custom offering. Want a team to help you conceptualise? We’ve got access to the right creatives. Want to shoot something you’ve already developed? We can help you do that. Want an excellent director and nothing else? No problem. We let you build according to your production needs.

Still have questions? Give us a call, there’s nothing else we’d rather talk about.

Director’s Agent: Vanessa Borthwick



Dave’s work ranges from big budget commercials and interviews with charismatic, inspiring adventurers like Jimmy Chin and Wim Hof, to intimate portraits of child soldiers and shamans. His once-off designed camera rigs and viral work have featured in the likes of Time, Mashable, and Buzzfeed and earned several Vimeo Staff Picks and awards including a Grand Prix for Integrated at the Loeries. View Work


Gilli’s great passion and forte lie in all things funny, but her strength is in making you feel something. She has a no-nonsense approach and loves collaborating with a creative team. Her philosophy is to let the idea lead and to use every tool and bit of craft to serve that vision or story. View Work


Kenny has worked with brands like Vice, Walh South Africa, Vodafone (UK, Uganda, Zambia and Cameroon), Airtel (Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania). He is known for his edge in his brilliant storytelling techniques and his emphasis on performance to help brands reach their customers in the most authentic way. View Work


With a background in theatre, anything slightly comedic that Lamar directs ends up being a live-action comic book inspired by either The Jetsons or The Flintstones. And when he isn’t carting an Alexa Mini around in the bush trying to find a tree to shoot the sun through, he’s navigating dingy buildings in the city chasing down textured backgrounds and avoiding the stench of urine. View Work


Brands across the globe have given Mark money to make them funny adverts. He’s known for dry grounded comedy and drawing out memorable performances from actors thanks to his manipulative Machiavellian techniques. Mark’s debut short film “Security” was made as part of the Focus Features Africa First Program, while his film “The Mascot” starred Oscar award-winner Adrien Brody. View Work


After returning from London with a Masters Degree in Film in 2016, Michael has used the past few years in South Africa to passionately hone his artistic voice as an award-winning director. He infuses personal experiences with his signature dreamy touch to create visual stories brimming with romance and specificity. View Work


Thina’s films “Tjuele” and “Bakhona”, received the rode reel cinematography award as well as art direction award. She has just completed post-production on her short film titled “Bompi” and is currently in post-production on her 3-part mini web series funded by the international Black Women Disrupt initiative, as well as in development phase for her documentary on Healers in South Africa. View Work

Awarded by IDIDTHAT

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Justice Mukheli, Director at Romance

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Jabulani Sigege, Executive Creative Director at Machine_

Hello Circus | Thina Zibi
Department of Education ‘Raising Better Men’
June 2022

Justice’s comment: ‘This is such an important piece of work. I really love that the story was told with sensitivity and heart. It does not feel like an ad, which makes it much stronger. Beautiful work Thina!’

Jabulani’s comment: ‘A beautifully earnest piece of storytelling. No gimmicks. Just a scenario that everyone can recognise and talks to what makes us abantu (human) – empathy. It doesn’t try to overexplain with words (considering it’s for government) but shows rather, how teaching boys to be empathetic from a young age will make them better men. More of this for South Africa please.’

Hello Circus | Mark Middlewick
Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘Visit Abu Dhabi – The Time Is Now’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Mark Ash, Senior Editor at LUDUS Post Productions
December 2021

Mark’s comment: ‘Mark Middlewick’s treatment makes this advert shine. The concept is well executed and puts a new spin on the regular tourism commercial. We often see all the same major tourism hotspots in what can end up looking like a montage of stock footage, even when shot beautifully. This is why it’s difficult to pull off a TVC like this, as they often end up looking just like the last one. This take on conventional tourism communication makes it far more tangible and accessible for people. The use of devices to introduce the city of Abu Dhabi is a clever way to show the beauty of the locations without making it just another “experience the beauty of…” In addition to this, the fact that all the upfront shots are locked off and the characters are centered, really drives home the noticeable difference between the first and second chapters. This juxtaposition of the mundanity of everyday life to the excitement of traveling abroad works well. The use of the airplane, as like the TV device and cellphone, cleverly transports the characters to the exciting world that is Abu Dhabi. I’m sold. ‘

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Inside the life of an Art Director with Daniella Dagnin

November 17th, 2022|Comments Off on Inside the life of an Art Director with Daniella Dagnin

We got to meet up with Art Director, Daniella Dagnin, represented by Hello Circus, to get some insights into what the life of an Art Director looks like. Just to clarify, this isn’t the Art Director that teams up with a Writer in the agency, we’re talking about the pros that are there to elevate and serve the director’s visual vision. They are the visual voila to storytelling, that if done right, can take your commercial from a Wessel Anderson to a Wes Anderson. Here’s what Dani had to say.

Meet Director Thina Zibi from Hello Circus

July 6th, 2022|Comments Off on Meet Director Thina Zibi from Hello Circus

‘I sometimes wish I had left the ad agency world sooner, but when I look back I realise I was always working toward becoming a director. Everything I have done and achieved has led up to this moment. Even though technically speaking I have only been directing for a few years, for me, it’s been over a decade in the making.’ Says Art Director turned Filmmaker Thina Zibi.

Hello Circus, a talent agency and new home for independent freelance directors

August 10th, 2021|Comments Off on Hello Circus, a talent agency and new home for independent freelance directors

Hello Circus represents freelance and independent directors who are already established or new to the industry. Choosing a far more fluid and flexible approach over the traditional production model, this talent agency connects directors directly with agencies and brands to create a more integrated transparent process. Wanna join the Circus?