Girls in Film RSA and Blackboard are on a mission to get girls into filmmaking

Girls in Film (GiF) South Africa and Blackboard are on a mission to make advertising and filmmaking more accessible to young women. Both organisations work tirelessly to break down barriers for women, people of colour, trans and non-binary people in advertising and film. This year saw GiF and Blackboard collaborate for the first time. In partnership with Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, they helped to inspire a group of high school girls to become South Africa’s future directors and filmmakers.

Girls enrolled in the Blackboard programme, attended this year’s Encounter’s screening of films created by women, interacted in a Q&A, and participated in a short documentary filmmaking workshop tailored by Girls in Film RSA. GiF Ambassador and Romance Films’ director, Jabu Nadia Newman says: ‘Through this initiative GiF got to meet the newest and most promising future generation of filmmakers, as well as collaborate and share with these incredible students. We hope this inspires more creatives and filmmakers in our industry to share resources and information to help grow and network femme, non-binary and trans filmmakers.’

Founder of Blackboard and Group Executive Creative Director at King James, Nkanyezi Masango says: ‘The film industry is desperate for fresh voices. But there are so many barriers in place that don’t allow women, non-binary creatives and people of colour to thrive in the industry. Blackboard and GiF are working together to address this from different angles. We are committed to making the art of filmmaking accessible to the most under-represented communities in South Africa. Change can’t happen overnight but we won’t stop until it does.’

Through the partnership with Encounters, Girls in Film RSA this year worked to expand the festival space to include emerging filmmakers who might benefit from the professional development of a festival experience at the early stages of their careers. ‘Community Shapers’ saw a selection of micro-budget and experimental documentaries by promising independent filmmakers, from Africa and the African Diaspora. Each film gave a unique perspective and distinct stylistic interpretation of the short documentary format. The young female students enrolled in the Blackboard programme were inspired by the films and even more inspired by the women who made them.

Addressing gender representation in the advertising and film industry should be a priority for all of us, but it’s thanks to organisations like Girls in Film RSA and Blackboard that we are seeing real change. Please (s)talk some more and follow Girls in Film and Blackboard to find out how you can get involved. While we have your attention, check out IDIDTHAT’S monthly showcase of female filmmakers in South Africa titled ‘She Did That’, where we shine a spotlight on the women in the South African production industry.

Who is Girls in Film
Girls in Film is a non-profit organization and a global network that represents, champions, and connects women, non-binary and trans creatives in the film industry. The South African Chapter was launched in 2020 with support from the Girls in Film Global Network with the mission to make both the local and international industries more accessible to this new generation of filmmakers by sharing resources, insights, and opportunities. Girls In Film South Africa Team consists of: Jabu Nadia Newman, Chantel Clark, Gale Maimane, Godisamang Khunou, Hallie Haller, Vidal Thaver, Julie Machin.

Who is Blackboard
Blackboard is a non-profit organisation that is committed to transforming the creative industry from the ground up. Achieving meaningful diversity starts in the classroom, not the boardroom. That’s why Blackboard aims to break down barriers. And make creative careers more accessible to any child who dreams of being a filmmaker, art director, animator or anything that they haven’t even heard of yet. Basically, they’re here to democratise creativity.

‘SHE DID THAT’ is an initiative created by to get more women working in the Commercial Film Production industry.  SHE DID THAT showcases work done by women. SHE DID THAT connects women with industry leaders. SHE DID THAT creates opportunities for women to get work. SHE DID THAT gives a damn about women, non-binary, queer and trans talent in the commercial film production and advertising industry. If she did that, you’ll know that!
Spearheaded by Julie Maunder, Founder of and key connector in the advertising and production industry and Anne Hirsch, top writer for South Africa’s production industry and media and entertainment specialist.

Blackboard video and photos:
By Thando Mokwena

JHB Encounters Photo:
Photos by Kealeboga Mojela

CPT Encounters Photo:
Photo credit Lara McCusker and tag Encounters

Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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