Director Mpho Twala, a decade of African storytelling and a brutally honest short film ‘Worth’

Mpho Twala has always been a storyteller. The Rudeboy Collective’s Co-founder and Director has spent a career flexing his advertising skills but also the values that he stands for. Over the last decade he has built a solid reputation for amplifying African filmmaking through creating sincere cinematic and representative commercials with high-production values across the continent. With the latest release of the trailer for his short film ‘Worth’ we are again reminded of just how well this man handles narrative filmmaking with heart….and makes it look beautiful.

10 Years of taking charge of the African Visual

‘I think there has been a significant shift in the local advertising industry. There is a movement toward creating work that has a greater message than only selling a product. Of course, we are in advertising, selling is what we do, but brands, creatives and production seem more drawn to doing both. That’s what gets my heart racing; creating socially and creatively conscious advertising.’- Mpho Twala.

Mpho’s first-hand experience of directing work across the continent for over a decade has fine-tuned his ability to accurately and respectfully represent diverse cultures and people in advertising. Mpho adds: ‘Representation, inclusivity and diversity have always been at the centre of all my filmmaking, it’s integral if we wish to create any work with meaning. You can’t just use the same ad in three different countries across the continent. When you’re communicating a lifestyle for a brand, you need to reflect the essence and subtle nuances of the market you’re speaking to.’

Having established himself as a director committed to transformation in the local film industry, in 2017 Mpho co-founded The Rudeboy Collective, a full-service production company. ‘At Rudeboy we create stories that uplift and celebrate our rich heritage and diversity. Simply put, we believe in rocketing African filmmaking to the next level. How we create is equally as important as what we create, which is why we nurture and grow talent for the future, with real work experience.’ Says Mpho.

Open, honest and empathetic, that’s Mpho, but always with purpose. A real family man who lights up when he talks about his wife and kids and a selfless mentor passionate about uplifting the youth in SA. But Mpho truly comes alive when he’s around the pitching table or on set. He’s a storyteller whose passion and excitement for South Africa and the future of its film industry is infectious.

#twalamassif photo by earl_a_

Rudeboy Executive Producer Sabelo Mahlangu: ‘Mpho creates real, authentic and culturally relevant and visually rich work. He might not be the loudest or most boisterous guy in the room, but he is incredibly collaborative, patient, generous and is deeply committed to transformation in the local film industry. He also talks about sport too much, but we love him regardless.’

Worth, a film by Mpho Twala

Set in Wentworth, an area in Durban, “Worth” is a visceral portrait of a South African community. The film follows a group of kids as they explore the tragic truths of growing up in a city plagued by some of our country’s ‘communities’ fatal flaws. The Kids Are Not Alright.’

Still from ‘Worth’

‘Worth’ is a challenging brutally honest piece of South African filmmaking. With deeply authentic performances from his actors, Mpho does not shy away from sensitive subject matter or explicit content. At times hard to watch the film is clear and hard-hitting with its message and sits with you long after you’ve seen it. What also sits with you is Mpho’s force as a narrative director. The short film marks an exciting time for Mpho as a director as he takes on more branded film and short long-form projects for advertising. ‘Brands have realised that you can do a lot more effective advertising than just a usual 30” TVC. As a narrative filmmaker that really opens up possibilities of how we can challenge the status quo in advertising and storytelling.’

The film is set for release at the end of the year and was written, directed and co-produced by Mpho Twala. Look out for ‘Worth’ on Showmax soon, for now, the trailer…

‘Worth’ Trailer

Yes, Mpho did that

Mpho’s work speaks to a rich career in filmmaking and there is so much of it! Remember the Hennessey campaign that ran for 5 years over Africa and SA?! And what about Snapp, a massive campaign that went viral across the continent ♪Start with a Snapp, throw your hair back♪. His most recent work for Mr Dowell’s whiskey and Sowetan earned him much deserved accolades in the IDIDTHAT Craft Awards.

Revlon Unforgettable “Once in a Life time”


‘True Moments’ Mr Dowells

‘Never Stop Never Settle’ Hennessy

Mpho’s work has certainly been noticed, Sowetan ‘#KNOWYOURPLACE’ received an IDIDTHAT Craft Mention and Mr Dowell’s ‘True Moments’ was awarded an IDIDTHAT’s Best in Craft by guest judge Lebogang Rasethaba, director at Egg Films/Arcade, who commented: ‘This advert is so wholesome and I feel like only a person who believes in the project of humanity could have made it like this. Boy, it feels so good to see wholesome advertising. I felt young again, optimistic and now I wanna go to a bar (with good Covid protocols) and have a drink (yes, I will even drink that drink from the advert) and see my friends.’

Mpho is drawn to stories that require concept, nuance, high production values and thinking outside of the box, but above all else, stories that mean something. Mpho is driven to create work that challenges how we see blackness on screen and work that can help affect change while also nurturing the youth in the industry. As a prominent commercials director in South Africa,  who also tackles short films and short long-form projects for advertising Mpho has proven himself to be an integral part of the future of commercials filmmaking in South Africa, and we couldn’t be more excited.

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

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