Robot has signed director Ayanda Duma to their roster. An energetic audacious filmmaker with a bold comedic approach to character-driven storytelling. Unapologetically disruptive, hyper-intelligent and hilarious. When not behind the camera Ayanda also produces beats and bars under her rap alias, YANDU and finds the word ‘appropriate’ offensive. Hold onto your pearls folks.
We simply don’t have the word count capacity to list all Ayanda’s talents, so here are the SparkNotes; by 6 Ayanda had mastered the piano. She went on to hone her skills in classical music and became a self-taught double bass player… while also dabbling in modeling overseas, as one does. After 8 years of focusing on her music career, Ayanda decided to shake things up and followed her dream of becoming a filmmaker, although she still returns to music, whether it’s producing beats for her commercials work or rapping under her alias YANDU.
Screenshot from YANDU’s (Ayanda’s rap character) music video ‘Bouncy House.’
The start of Ayanda’s filmmaking career quickly mimicked the fast pace of the rest of her life and by her third year at film school, she was invited to premiere her short film at the Cannes Film Festival’s Horizon Award…HER THIRD YEAR! She went on to shadow the late director SJ at 7Films, spent time as a researcher at Giant Films and eventually joined Blacklist as a commercials director. Cut to present day and Ayanda has joined the Robot team.
On the move to Robot, she says: ‘They do such incredible fresh work at Robot. Stylistically, narratively, their approach to creativity and the people just fits with where I want to be. And to have the backing and support of such an established Executive Producer as Liam Johnson and be surrounded by such a talented roster of directors, how could I say no?’
Robot’s Managing Director and the one who first took notice of Ayanda’s work, Callan Paul, said of the signing: ‘We were looking for a director that would represent us and what we stand for. So much of this business is about working with people with the right energy, passionate about what they do or the company they represent. We don’t have room for ego here. After meeting Ayanda I saw the potential. She is incredibly talented and Robot is a platform where she can grow. We are very lucky because, to be perfectly honest, Ayanda is a quadruple threat.’
Ayanda has an infectious energy about her, a firecracker with a fantastic sense of humour, but she also has a serious political inclination. ‘I want to be able to use my lived experience to reflect the world back through film. 100% the entry point to my creation is always to subvert and challenge black stereotypes. I am interested in nuanced representation that is true to life, entertaining and well performed. In saying that, I will always find where the comedy or the levity that lives within the character portraits no matter the board.’
Robot’s Executive Producer Liam Johnson says: ‘Ayanda really is all the energy that we have tried to bundle up at Robot. To me, she represents the future of Robot. Not only does she bring a tenacity to the storytelling, but she also produces her own music and writes lyrics, and is wonderfully collaborative in her work. She’s the whole package.’
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