Director Zandi Tisani makes her move to Robot, and here’s why we should pay attention

It’s official, Director Zandi Tisani and Robot have announced their plans to take over the world and yes, we are here for it! You’ve probably come across Zandi’s work before; She has spent over 4 years as a director with Arcade Content where she quickly made a name for herself as a character-driven filmmaker who brings a powerful visual language and strong cinematic references to her work. She now joins the stable at Robot where she’ll pair her experience working on some of the country’s top brands, with her authentic approach to creating work that champions black female stories.

With an emphasis on culture, humour and storytelling, Zandi’s reel is already loaded with work that is edgy and adventurous. Her quiet confidence is disarming and her smart wit, eclectic style and the massive star quality that surrounds her stays with you long after that Zoom call has ended. But don’t just take our word for it, the Mail & Guardian agree, having added Zandi, who is also an acclaimed writer and creative, to their prestigious list of Top 200 Young South Africans, thank you very much.

Q: It’s been said that a lot of your work, although different is style, all in some way speaks to a black female audience, do you agree?

Zandi: Yes. The kind of brands that want to speak to black women have now changed. It’s no longer just beauty, fashion or household. Brands wanting to reach a young adult female audience has become my territory, and I’m proud of it. I feel like I can do it with a sense of authenticity. There is no one black voice or one black woman that I represent though. To be able to foreground black women in advertising for brands that aren’t necessarily thought of as a ‘black female brands’, like Takealot for instance, is something I’m very confident in doing and I’m excited to continue creating this kind of work with Robot.

Q: Most directors resist being pigeonholed into certain categories, why do you think it works in your favour?

Zandi: I think a lot of directors don’t want to feel boxed in. I understand that, but I really enjoy crafting work for people that I can relate to, and I’m good at it. Like I said, because all kinds of brands are now looking to communicate with this group, the category is a lot more interesting.

Q: You already have some really impressive culture and fashion work on your reel, what work will you be looking to do more of with Robot?

Zandi: You know, when I started my career as a filmmaker many years ago I was just happy to be working. In the beginning, you don’t really care what you’re directing, you’re just happy to be on set. Then you reach a point where you ask yourself ‘am I still this person, am I still interested in this’ so then you have to question what you do want to do and how to become a bit more selective about the work that comes your way. So now, at this stage of my career, I’m drawn more toward great writing and clever storytelling and I would love to direct more sport and more narrative work in the future.

Zandi Did That

Even though Zandi herself has a strong voice, her work lets the brand and the product shine. She carefully uses her taste and sensibility to draw attention to the brand in edgy and bold ways. There is a refreshing combination of authenticity and a strong cinematic quality to her reel. While always considerate of exactly the kind of audience she is communicating to, and being honest in their representation, she doesn’t take herself or her work too seriously. There’s a real playfulness and slightly frivolous quality to her spots, while still being grounded in storytelling and performance. Here are just a few of our faves.


Dark & Lovely



We got the skinny on Zandi from Robot Executive Producer and production veteran, Liam Johnson.

Liam: Zandi is a considered filmmaker who no doubt will move the industry into a more adventurous place. She engages her audience in a really smart way and her experience as a writer, creative and collaborator is such a great fit for Robot. Not to mention that she brings such an alternative edge as a director and she still knows how to have fun while doing it. She’ll be teaming up with the phenomenally experienced Producer, Peta Sacke who together will form an unstoppable team. In the early parts of my career, I learnt so much from Peta and this is just such a great fit. We are really excited about what lies ahead.

Wanna (s)talk some more? Robot Website and Instagram

*Credit: Headline picture by Andile Buka

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Executive Producer: Liam Johnson

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

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