Director Jolynn Minnaar joins Figment Films

Award-winning long-form director, Jolynn Minnar, has announced that she will be joining the impressive stable at Figment Films. Jolynn’s background in documentary filmmaking gives her the ability to find the essence in any story and is an invaluable asset when creating work with meaning, which is exactly the kind of work she’s been creating over the last 7 years of her directing career. This truth-seeking, fearless director will now take root at Figment Films where she will continue to challenge perceptions and inspire new thought as a commercial director. The ad industry is damn lucky to have her, so let’s bring you all up to speed.

Figment Films co-owner, Director Robin Goode, is excited to see Jolynn’s ability as a performance director move across from her longer form work to her commercial directing. Robin says: ‘Jolynn’s relentless search for the truth in her stories defines her work. Having worked with so many real people (non-actors), Jolynn is able to distil the essence of the narrative with honest and authentic performances from her cast – a sure sign of a strong storytelling and performance director.’ Whether it’s sharing someone’s life story in a documentary or directing commercials, Jolynn has developed instincts that help her find that heart or essence in any story.

Even though Jolynn is by no means new to the scene, some of you ad folks might not have heard of her and that’s probably because she’s been so busy directing acclaimed feature documentaries and short films, both locally and abroad. After starting out in the camera department waaaaaaay back when Vanessa Carlton was topping the charts about makin her way downtown walkin’ fast, faces pass and homebound, Jolynn was making her way to becoming a director that shares stories that matter. ‘Unearthed’, Jolynn’s feature film on fracking in the Karoo, saw her doing over 300 interviews while filming across South Africa, the US, Canada and the UK. She battled gag orders, no trespassing zones and suffered first-hand chemical exposure from drilling sites, all to get to the heart of the story. Her fearlessness won her numerous awards and the film was screened at prestigious international festivals. Since then her short films and commercial work has seen her collaborating with brands including Citi, BMW, Dell, UBS Bank, VICE, and First for Women. Some of her accolades include Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans, Glamour Woman of the Year and she is a member of the 21 Icon family. Jolynn understands the importance of representation in the media and as a woman she aims to use her voice to contribute positively to dialogue around these issues in her work.

Jolynn Did That

 ‘I want people to watch my work and be altered, even if in a small way. I want my work to shift something inside you. I love being able to work with real characters, spend time with them, build trust and work with integrity and really do justice to these people who welcome you into their home and into their space, and often share very personal stories for a brand. I feel this is a very complex exchange, way more so than casting talent.’ – Jolynn Minnaar

Vice x FFW  ‘Womanhood Trailer’

BBC x Brand South Africa ‘Maxhosa’

CITI BankJeans’

Womanhood is a 24-minute documentary that sets out to place a finger on the pulse of what it means to be a woman in South Africa in 2019. The film was created in collaboration with VICE and First for Woman

Robin on Jolynn’s piece for First for Women: “I mean I knew she did great work before, but this really made me sit up. A beautifully told story and it stands for something, it has teeth and doesn’t shy away. I think this piece blends both her worlds, her documentary background and how we will see that in the commercial space.”

‘When directing these kinds of pieces you have to have honest conversations with client, agency, team and yourself and everyone has to continually check their blind spots. And that’s such a rewarding way of working and earning a living and hopefully in some way evolving as a human yourself and maybe, hopefully, what you’re making is doing the same to other people.’ – Jolynn Minnaar

In the sometimes bubblegum world of advertising, Jolynn creates work that moves and challenges us. As a performance director she is passionate about capturing intimate, insightful portraits that question the status quo. Even the way she casts and treats is different, because her background as a filmmaker is different, and that is what will keep making her work feel truthful. How can advertising resist her?! Contact

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