You’d be seriously mistaken to confuse SJ’s confidence or ambition for arrogance. If there’s one thing this young director is as passionate about as creating strong South African narratives, it’s giving back to the industry or what he calls ‘bringing down the ladder’.
SJ: The secret in supporting young talent in this industry is mentorship and there is a gaping hole when it comes to people willing to teach. I am blessed to have had Lourens van Rensburg (owner of 7Films), who really understood the notion of mentoring. It’s not about teaching someone the skill to be a director, it’s about building their lives, teaching them to be responsible business people and how to use their art form to support themselves and the people around them. We should be mentoring to create transformation, not cash cows.
And SJ has already started taking his own advice. He recently teamed up with Creative Director Nkanyezi Masango and founded Blackboard, a company focused on transforming the creative industry by inspiring disadvantaged high school students to participate in it.
SJ: Blackboard follows the philosophy we have about ‘sending down the ladder’, going to disadvantaged schools and teaching them about film and advertising and that it’s aviable career path. Obviously, the challenge is, because it’s Nkanyezi and myself, that we are very busy, but we’re trying our best and we appreciate as much help as we can get.