Director Imran Hamdulay has joined the team at Figment Films bringing with him over a decade’s filmmaking experience. Imran has spent his career predominantly focussed on directing award-winning long-form and feature films. The signing with Figment will see him finally get to prioritise his love of commercials directing while applying his invaluable experience in narrative drama, ability to draw natural performances from his actors and an empathetic approach to the short-form game.
Imran’s strength as a director lies in crafting stories that speak to the human condition. Whether it’s long-form or commercials, Imran has an inclusive approach to directing, while making sure the idea comes through in a heartfelt way. He also always considers who the audience is and how the story will affect them, making him a mindful detailed filmmaker.
You can’t talk about Imran without acknowledging what a flippen nice guy he is. Humble, open, considered and seriously down to earth, so much so that you would never guess all the fancy credits that follow him around. Imran is a recipient of the Robert Bosch Stiftung award and last year was invited to Cannes Film Festivals’s Marche Du Film as part of the prestigious Talentueuses Caméras d’Afrique. His projects have appeared in numerous labs including EAVE & IFFR Rotterdam and he has recently been profiled on CNN Inside Africa as one of Africa’s directors to watch, we couldn’t agree more.
Now that Imran has joined Figment Films and is focussing on commercials on a more permanent basis, we asked him to weigh in on what the director’s mind shift is between long-form and short: ‘For me, it’s all storytelling. It’s like writing a novel compared to writing a poem, you’re exercising the same emotional muscles. The commercials landscape has also changed and it’s not only about pushing a product onto people anymore. There’s an opportunity to really build an emotional landscape, something which I am very passionate about.’
Figment Films’ Owners, Di du Toit and Robin Goode, have been friends and mentors to Imran for over 6 years. Di says: ‘Imran has such empathy and his storytelling ability is rich, emotional and big on details, that really fits with the Figment way.’ Of his move to Figment, Imran says ‘I’ve always admired the work that Robin and Di have been doing, and at such a high level, it’s so ambitious. We have a great relationship and it’s those relationships that are so important. Features have taken up so much time, but I needed the right fit to commit to commercials. Figment is the right fit.’
A moment from Imran’s 2021 short film ‘Footprints’
Coming from a narrative background Imran is drawn to performance driven stories with heart, stories that move and spark a personal connection in him. He says: ‘I’m always looking for that little thing that speaks to me, where I come from, who I am.’
And Imran’s history has very much influenced who he is today as a director. Born to activist parents, Imran grew up in Athlone on the Cape Flats. His grandparents were immigrants from India and came to South Africa because of the Indo-Pakistan war in the 1940s. Imran says: ‘I have always felt a responsibility to carry those memories and put that back into my work. I feel a responsibility to find truth in what I’m doing and be led with empathy and hard work, those values come from my background and what was sacrificed by my grandparents and what was sacrificed by my dad and mom, so that I can now be privileged enough to work in a creative industry.’
Imran Did That
‘I was never told that being a creative was something I could do, nobody around me did it and that wasn’t what was valued as an identity. And now that we are opening ourselves up to more understanding, we are seeing the film industry become a lot more inclusive. That’s exciting because it means we are going to see different stories being told. Ads and films are going to come from a different disposition and a different history, that gets me really excited.’ Says Imran
Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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