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.