Motion City Films toast to a decade of filmmaking with new look

‘Helen & Kim’, the two-headed director team, opened Motion City Films’ doors over ten years ago. Since then they have established themselves as a duo with a rich, stylistic approach that carefully balances narrative and aesthetic. Their reel is filled with nuanced and authentic performances, especially evident in some of their latest projects. We look into this power-duo’s approach to their work so you know which of your boards/scripts would need that special Helen & Kim touch.

Those first few years at Motion City saw Helen J. Raine and Kim Hinrichs hustling hard (like many people starting out), wearing many hats and cutting their teeth on smaller branded content projects and music videos. It paid off. Crafting their own aesthetic and balancing beautiful visual with beautiful story in both commercials and narrative filmmaking, the team have definitely found their groove….and they have the awards to back it all up. Motion City was ranked 4th best production company in SA by the Loeries in their 3rd year of operation, they nabbed a Pencil for Creativity For Good at the D&AD awards and their short film ‘Boni & Wes’ has just been selected for the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Q: Congrats on reaching the 10-year milestone! You’ve also rebranded the Motion City look and feel, why now?

Helen: Even though we are in a space where we are creating work we really enjoy, we also feel that we can finally breathe a bit and take stock. We wanted to celebrate everything we’ve achieved and what better way than with a bit of a makeover.
Kim: We worked with designer Alessandro Betti and explained that we wanted something that was more Helen and I and that spoke to who we are as a company. The new look is a lot more visual and playful. It’s fun to work with us and we want to show that.

Motion City Films has also joined forces with Executive Producer Lisa Grobler. Lisa provides strong-like-bull production support, having worked in production and service in some of the biggest production companies in the country for over 26 years. With Lisa’s backing, Motion City has also launched a service department…damn, what did you do today?

‘We’ve come a long way but ultimately we want to continue to create work that leaves the audience with some authentic insight into humanity that creates a lasting emotional connection.’ – Helen

An example of this kind of work is the team’s short film, ‘Boni & Wes’. This true love story follows a couple’s openly queer relationship at an all-girls school, Wes’ journey with his trans identity and the struggles of a long-distance relationship. At the centre though is a beautiful love story.


We’re not the only ones that dug this film. ‘Boni & Wes’ was awarded the Grand Prix prize at the 2020 CICLOPE Africa awards and Best of Craft in the IDIDTHAT Craft Awards #BOOM

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards’ guest judge, Suhana Gordhan, ECD at FCB Joburg at the time (now ECD at Duke Group), had this to say about the film: “This is a hard story to tell because in many ways it’s still a protest story in this country, and in the world. I think it’s remarkable to be able to do protest in a gentle and tender way. Every choice made by the directors – from the way the narration overlays the story, to the quiet yet confrontational intimacy to the mingling of moments of light and shade – makes this film really powerful, effortlessly honest, and beautiful.”

Q: ‘Boni & Wes’ feels so real, like we’re taking a look into their real lives. How did you achieve that?

Helen: So much of Boni Mnisi and Wesley Leal is in this film. We based so many scenes on photographs they had of themselves or art they liked. So much of the film was built from their life, their home, their clothes. We needed it to be very personal and lived in. That’s our sweet spot as filmmakers, we are always looking for details like that and how to build on the story while balancing it with visuals.
Kim: The fact that they trusted us with their story meant so much to us and we didn’t want to f*ck it up. We wanted to make them proud.

They Did That

Helen & Kim are versatile and emotive filmmakers with strong storytelling abilities as well as being intuitive performance directors. And, in case you needed some reminding of the Motion City work out there, here are a few of our favourite spots from their reel.

Mr D Food ‘Home Cooking’

VW ‘Legend Lives On’


Cell C ‘Don’t Hang Up’

If this is what the first ten years look like, we can’t wait to see where Motion City Films is headed next. Congrats on the milestone you beauties! Wanna (s)talk some more? Motion City Films on IDIDTHAT and Company Website.

Contact Motion City Films

Executive Producer: Lisa Grobler
+27 82 451 5968

View Website

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

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This Editorial is paid for by Motion City Films. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact and we’ll make it happen! #Boom