Director Matshepo Maja launches solo career with The Star Film Company

For over 3 three years Matshepo Maja has formed part of the directing duo PHI 2.0, alongside Jonathan Parkinson. The Star Film Company has announced that they will now be launching Matshepo as a solo director. The news comes as no surprise as Mats’ solo career is already in full swing and over the past year she’s been directing back-to-back, bringing an intuitive approach to performance directing combined with a deep love of visual storytelling. Here’s why you’ll be seeing her name a whole lot more.

Taking a quick look back, there is no denying the calibre of great work that came out of the Phi 2.0 collaboration. One of our favourite spots and an example that beautifully reflects the strength of the director duo and their relationship has to be their ‘Viceroy’ commercial.

Viceroy ‘The Boxer’

Matshepo Maja gets performance

With over ten years of experience in commercials advertising, Matshepo has proven herself as a strong performance and narrative director, with a secret weapon for casting.

On going solo Matshepo said: ‘It was a decision that Jonathan and I both made together, we agreed that it’s time for a solo career. Uplifting a generation of filmmakers through mentorship and collaboration is something Jonathan lives by and has clearly worked. Just look at ROMANCE Films’ Nicole Ackerman’s success, with whom Jonathan formed the original PHI duo. I have a lot of respect for him. The industry wasn’t ready for black female directors ten years ago and his partnership has opened many doors for me, I will be forever grateful. I have learned so much about the power of collaboration and whoever gets to form part of Phi 3.0 with Jonathan is very fortunate. I am excited to now realise my goal, to leave my own mark on this industry.’

In addition to singing Matshepo’s praises as a performance director with a strong visual eye, we think Jonathan summed it up beautifully when he said to us: ‘I think I have contributed in creating my biggest competition.’

Whether it’s directing actors, non-actors or even kids, Matshepo crafts vibrant nuanced characters. She is an out-of-the-box thinker committed to making an impact in the industry as a director that challenges the status quo of how black stories are told in advertising. But it has to be said, above and beyond Matshepo’s impressive directing skills, she’s also an absolute bloody joy to be around and has a wicked sense of humour that we can’t get enough of.

Matshepo Did That

As a solo director Matshepo has already hit the ground running. Over the past year, she has very quickly found her groove as evident in her most recent spot for Old Mutual which marks her second collaboration with Publicis Group in the past 8 months.

Eno ‘Chisa Nyama’ (Director’s Cut)

Old Mutual (Directors Cut)

Solidarity Fund ‘How not to be a Moemish’

As a filmmaker, I’m excited to explore new ways of how we show and tell stories to a wider audience. We have the power to write our own narrative in the commercials space and create our own world. At the end of the day, it all comes back to story, what is at the heart of what we want to say, what is the story we want to show the world.’ – Matshepo Maja

Contact The Star Film Company

Executive Producer: Adam Thal

Executive Producer: Saskia Rosenberg Haak

View IDIDTHAT Profile
View Website

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of IDIDTHAT. Reprints must credit I DID ( as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.

This Editorial is paid for by The Star Film Company. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact and we’ll make it happen! #Boom