FirstPencil is an all female 1 BB BEE Level 1 South African production company servicing clients in both South Africa and abroad.  We are passionate about creating work that combines powerful aesthetics, real connection and careful consideration.

Cape Town & Johannesburg

Directors: Justine Puren-Calverley / Mark Middlewick
Producer: Lebo Mabuela

Company Website

Director  & Co-founder  |  Justine Puren Calverley
Justine has worked on projects ranging from subtle and warm performance pieces to complex 3D animation, realistic visual effects, outlandish stop-frame, Big Data documentaries and even the collation of a Fashion Show. Her love for the craft shows in her attention to detail and scrupulous integrity to concept, regardless of the brief.

Director  |  Mark Middlewick

Mark has directed commercials for brands across the globe.  He’s especially skilled in comedy and any work that tells a story. Mark uses his film background to find the heart in every project and on set he has a knack for drawing out memorable performances (he’s even directed Adrien Brody in his short film “The Mascot”). When he’s not jet-setting or shooting the next big campaign, he’s working on one of his short films.

Producer  |  Lebo Mabuela
Lebo is the glue that keeps both the team and the production together. She’s our tie-breaker and our final decision.
With over 10 years of production experience, Lebo can negotiate any location, wrangle any crew and bring together any production – big or small.

  • 2016 CICLOPE New Balance – Dean (Silver – Editing)
  • 2016 New Generation Awards – Dstv From My Home to Your Home (Best Integrated Marketing Campaign by an Agency),  (Most Innovative Digital Campaign by a Large Agency)
  • 2016 Loeries – SANBS – Sit down to Save lives  (Silver)
  • 2015 Cannes – War Museum – Cup of Life  (Bronze)
  • 2015 Loeries – War Museum – Cup of Life (Gold)

First Pencil

13 9th Street

Producer: Lebo Mabuela
+27 071 687 0508

Awarded by IDIDTHAT 

First Pencil | Justine Puren-Calverley
Standard Bank ‘HeforShe’ (Directors Edit & Final Mix)
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Marc Algranti, EP / Music Supervisor at Pulse Music
February 2020

Judge’s comment: “Justine’s direction drew me in from the very first breath of this film. She takes you along the emotional journey. Her point of view puts you right into these women’s feelings. We never get to see their faces, the brave faces they need to put on everyday. The shortness of breath upfront creates a sense of unease and this unease continues throughout the film. Justine has managed to portray a very uncomfortable reality that is very moving and has resulted in a powerful piece of work. Well done.”

First Pencil | Justine Puren-Calverley
Siemens ‘FABRIC’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Xolisa Dyeshana, Chief Creative Officer and Partner at Joe Public
October 2018

Judges Comment: “This piece, whilst not being a traditional commercial is a beautiful idea and it’s beautifully shot. It’s very easy to switch off or for the mind to wander when looking at very technical type of visuals, but this one kept my attention till the end.”

Featured Work 

Featured Stories

Justine Calverley’s latest car ad is a cinematic fantasy ride on Mars for Toyota

March 23rd, 2023|Comments Off on Justine Calverley’s latest car ad is a cinematic fantasy ride on Mars for Toyota

Justine Calverley’s spot for Toyota and FCB Joburg is a big-scale cinematic car ad that seamlessly blends visually stunning locations with VFX. The adventurous spot landed Justine 3rd position in AdForum’s Top 5 Best Directors Worldwide for March and we can see why. We spoke to the First Pencil filmmaker about her approach to the work.

FirstPencil’s new director only gives two F’s

September 29th, 2021|Comments Off on FirstPencil’s new director only gives two F’s

The only thing that matches director Mo Matli's obsession with film is her obsession with fitness, or as she puts it: ‘I only give two Fs, film and fitness’. Another F we would add is feeling, something her work is full of. Combine Mo’s tenacity and her drive to craft meaningful work with the production support and backing of an established house like FirstPencil and watch out world!

FirstPencil, 3 become 4 as Bryony Webster joins the team

November 13th, 2020|Comments Off on FirstPencil, 3 become 4 as Bryony Webster joins the team

We get the scoop on the latest addition to the FirstPencil team, Producer Bryony Webster. As the production company has steadily been taking on bigger more complex boards, so their production load has increased. Never wanting to compromise on production values, FirstPencil decided to enlist another powerhouse of a producer to boost their production team.