iDidTht Gets Schooled. Meet the New Wave of Filmmakers.
There’s a totally different beast of a generation emerging. One that is being influenced by political movements, uprisings, Instagram and Lemonade, and they’re coming for us. But no need to do the scared emoji face just yet, it’s a good thing. Advertising and content is rife with misrepresentation, which leads to inauthentic communication. We need to start taking note of who is writing the story, who is in the story and who the story is for. Because if you don’t understand this new market, if you do not have a lived experience of it, you run the risk of not only missing the mark, but also being downright offensive. This is what we learnt after meeting with emerging young filmmakers, director Jabu Newman and producer Mvelisi Mvandaba, a team that will bring your content a lot closer to the truth, add value, understanding and engagement. Their skill set would be fundamental to any team creating online content, web series or commercials that aim to target this complex demographic. In short, they are here to disrupt!
Wait, what? Start from the beginning.
Back in 2010, Executive Producer, Janette de Villiers created inc. – a collaborative creative hub where Janette, alongside an impressive roster of local directors, animators, writers, editors, coffee machines and more, started creating ‘out the box’ content, putting their spin on traditional ads and employing young emerging talent. iDidTht met up with Janette, who introduced us to her latest team members, Jabu and Mvelisi, and explained what makes this wave of new talent so unique and why you should work with them.
‘inc. is where the nurturing of young talent happens. But there is always a strong executive producer behind them. We give them personal attention to grow them, and make sure the production is always of the highest standard.’
Although Jabu and Mvelisi are both only 22 years old (yes that’s when most of us were on the couch with hangovers, regrets and KFC), Janette believes that the duo bring an invaluable perspective and skill set to inc.
Yeah so? What makes them so special anyway?
Janette: ‘They are incredibly resourceful. They’re used to doing everything for free. Every film they’ve ever made, before they got their break, was for free. They’re so used to making do with next to nothing. In a time when cost is everything, that says a lot. But most importantly they represent the new South African youth – in so many ways. They are not restricted by old school process and hierarchy. They are both keen and hungry and far more collaborative. There is a zero ego approach with the new wave of filmmakers. They come in so grateful and really want to create authentic communication.’
Janette was first introduced to Jabu Newman’s directorial debut series, The Foxy Five, by Mvelisi, who insisted on signing her immediately. The series was written and directed, on zero budget, by Jabu, while she was studying film, politics and media at UCT. The Fees Must Fall protest erupted and she felt obliged to write something that speaks to it and create content online that’s actually by and for black South African womxn. The result is an intersectional feminist web series that kicks patriarchy’s ass.
Check out this trailer and then show it to your parents.
With so few black female voices being listened to, you really get the sense that Jabu feels a responsibility to create content with integrity. Just by watching The Foxy Five, it’s clear that she brings with her an ideological understanding of the South African youth. The series deals with topics of sexism, feminism, racism and politics, but it also feels incredibly authentic and while she employs the 70’s style of American blaxploitation films, it’s firmly situated within a South African context.
And there is no better producer to accompany her than Mvelisi Mvandaba. You might remember him as Meany Dlamini in Spud 3, but he’s come a long way since. Under the careful mentorship of Janette and her team, he is now a fully fledged producer, who works under the watchful eye and support of inc.
These aren’t the apathetic millennials we were told to watch out for. They are resourceful, hard working, politically minded, cultural experts. In short, they’re ‘woke af’ (I extensively Googled exactly how to use that phrase). They want their work to have value and integrity but also look damn cool. And yes, you guessed it, when asked what ad they wish they did, they both simultaneously answered: adidas Originals by Terence Neale.
Jabu: ‘As filmmakers, we have a responsibility to reflect the times that we’re in and reflect issues that a lot of us aren’t talking about. This is what society is accessing. We have a responsibility to give them truthful content.’
Mvelisi breaks it down for us even further: ‘We are the generation of change makers. With all the movements that have emerged over the last few years, there is a desire from us to put our stamp out there. That’s why the youth have this thing about ‘I can’t work for the man anymore, I’m going to do it for myself’ – that’s the mentality. That means that there are now young black creative’s being able to tell their stories and we don’t have 55-year-old, white, male, Bob, writing copy for a really black story.’
iDidTht: ‘Do you think Bob is the whitest name?
Mvelisi: ‘Hahaha, um honestly, Bob is not so common in South Africa and I’m trying not to offend anyone.’
Ididtht: ‘You’re right, like how many Bob’s could there be?!’
There’s no doubt that Jabu and Mvelisi are incredibly in touch and on fleek…
Jabu: ‘On fleek is not a thing anymore…’
There’s no doubt that Jabu and Mvelisi are incredibly in touch and on fleek, ‘but they’re only 22’ I hear you clamour, ‘what do they know’?! Hey, sit down! It’s precisely because they are so young that they should be taken seriously. Do not for one moment underestimate the knowledge and understanding these two fiercely ambitious filmmakers bring with them.
iDidTht: ‘So finally, what change would you like to bring to the industry?’
Jabu: ‘More black women in the industry.’
Mvelisi: ‘More black women in the industry.’
Janette: ‘Thank God… There’s f*ck-all out there for black women.’
They drop their mics and hit the road. Call them.
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Writer – Anne Hirsch / Art Director – Julie Maunder
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