FirstPencil welcomes commercial director Mo Matli to the team. The only thing that matches Mo’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. As a director Mo’s superpower is to disarm her performers with her open joyous spirit, leading them to share authentically of themselves. Combine Mo’s tenacity and her drive to craft meaningful work with the production support and backing of an established house like Frist Pencil and watch out world!
FirstPencil Executive Producer Bryony Webster says: ‘Mo is focused, committed and works unbelievably hard. She fought to get where she is today and doesn’t take any of it for granted. She is such an adaptable director, yet has a very clear idea of what she wants. While she is incredibly disciplined, her exuberance and positivity is downright infectious. From the moment we met her we knew she was FirstPencil material.’
Originally from the rural Eastern Cape Mo grew up all over South Africa. Her creative journey started when she majored in fashion photography while freelancing as an events photographer. She was accepted for a learnership programme in videography, where she quickly found her groove in shooting and editing, something she still does in some of her own projects today. Mo’s talent was recognised very early on in her career and she was added to the Mandela 100 icon list for her photography as activism work. Her voice and point of view translate seamlessly to film when she is directing and she has the ability to tackle heavy subject matter with sensitivity and heart.
Mo has an ability to get her performers to intimately open up to her, evident in some of her recent work for Standard Bank. Her work gives the audience space to breathe in the moments, but it’s Mo and her point of view that stands out. ‘Mo is fearless. She will always go above and beyond and push to really flesh out the story, whether that’s in performance or visually. She is also really collaborative and manages to draw such truth from her performers who trust her wholeheartedly.’ Says FirstPencil Co-Founder and Director Justine Calverley.
Even as a relatively young filmmaker, Mo Matli is a name you shouldn’t forget. In fact, you only need to follow Mo on Instagram to realise the extent of her determination and drive (and fans; with just under 10k followers 🤩). When we mentioned she is obsessed with fitness, we meant it! ‘I signed up with a gym in June 2018 and I haven’t looked back since. I wanted to do something that was entirely for me and about me. It is a way to hold myself accountable and the discipline and focus feed into my filmmaking work.’ Says Mo.
Mo Did That
“You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are”. That’s the first thing I picked up from Mo when we first met with her, being authentic.‘ Says Lebo Mabuela, FirstPencil C0-Founder and Production HOD.
Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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