Gorgeous Bushman chosen as top young director by The Storyteller Foundation

Gorgeous Bushman aka Bathandwa Ngwendu spent the past year enrolled in The Storyteller Foundation’s programme. As the first recipient of the Foundation, he’s gained invaluable directing experience working closely under the mentorship and guidance of Lourens van Rensburg at 7Films. Gorgeous has built up an impressive reel and has now officially joined the 7Films directing roster open for briefs with the full production support of the established team. We get into how he was selected as the top talent for the programme and his exciting move into full-time commercial directing.

The Storyteller Foundation is a mentorship and practical experience programme for young aspiring commercial directors. The Foundation was established by 7Films and agency 99c to honour the legacy of 7Films Director Siphiwe ‘SJ’ Myeza. Read more about the foundation and its goals here.

Gorgeous is an open book, a real heart-on-sleeve kind of guy who is easy to be around. In the first few moments of meeting him, we were immediately energised by his enthusiasm for filmmaking and his fresh take and creative point of view. Born in Khayelitsha, Gorgeous Bushman (a name Bathandwa gave himself at a young age that, according to him, ‘just kind of stuck’) grew up in an area just outside Cape Town’s centre called Kraaifontein. ‘It (Kraaifontein) is a predominantly coloured area and we were one of the first black families in a cul-de-sac in Bernadino Heights, a suburb in Kraaifontein. So as much as I identify as Xhosa I also see the world through a very coloured lens.’ Says Gorgeous. A storyteller and creative through and through, Gorgeous has a passion for dance, music and fashion. During his time at AFDA, Gorgeous launched Maak ‘n Plan, an online platform and podcast space where Gorgeous and his peers discuss and share creative and cultural insights.

‘I was at the point where I needed to turn my creativity into a career. I found out about The Storyteller Foundation mentorship programme and immediately sent a very professional mail to Lourens and he just replied with his number and said call me.’ Says Gorgeous. The 7Films team met with Gorgeous over breakfast, and the rest, as they say, is history. 7Films Producer Tinyiko Mvelase says: ‘We share similar values to Gorgeous. And that’s so important to me, Nina and Lourens. We had been looking for someone that wanted to be taken on this mentorship programme for a while. Gorgeous’ values, mixed with his work ethic is why he is the right candidate to take this journey with us.’ ‘We realised that we weren’t looking for the next SJ to join the programme because there wasn’t one, there was only one SJ, but there is only one Gorgeous. His determination and energy, it’s contagious. He simply had to be the first recipient.’ Adds Executive Producer Nina van Rensburg.

The Foundation’s programme saw Gorgeous working closely alongside Director Lourens for a year, from the moment the briefs came in all the way through to post-production. Gorgeous adds half-jokingly: ‘People will tell you that the school of Lourens van Rensburg is not an easy one.’ But it certainly paid off, and it’s almost unbelievable that Gorgeous has built such a rich reel in only 12 months. Below are some of our favourite spots, but go watch them all over here.





‘The programme offers young people so much experience but at the end of the day we are a people-based company and we believe that you have to support the human. It doesn’t help to have all the talent and all the opportunities but you are not supported. 7Films is a family and that support structure is there, that love is there. There is a safety net and this programme doesn’t just send you out into the world with hope you don’t stuff it up. This life can be cruel and we want to hold hands and walk together.’ Says Lourens.

The Storyteller Foundation’s support and mentorship of Gorgeous will continue as the next chapter will see him gain invaluable insight and experience on the creative agency side. ‘Gorgeous will be spending some time at the agency 99c with the creatives there. There he will get a real understanding of what agency life is and what the challenges are which offer invaluable insights and experiences for a director.’ Adds Lourens.

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Executive Producer: Nina van Rensburg

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

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