ROMANCE

We are ROMANCE, a Cape Town-based production company with both an international and local focus. We make commercials, music videos, and creative content. Above all else, we put creative work first.

Cape Town

Directors: Greg Gray / Emilie Badenhorst / Jabu Nadia Newman / Justice Mukheli / Nicole Maria Ackermann / Terence Neale
Executive Producers: Rozanne Rocha-Gray / Helena Woodfine

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ROMANCE is a Cape Town-based production company founded in 2017. Our handpicked roster of directors and producers allows us to be flexible and focused. Backed by a solid production infrastructure, we’ve been able to create stand out content that we can be proud of. Above all else, we put creative work first. We’ve won awards, racked up millions of views, and worked with amazing people. But we’d like to let the work speak for itself. 

Throughout his career Greg has consistently won awards from all the major advertising shows; including Cannes, Clios, AD&D, The Loerie’s, and One Show.

In 2017, Terence became the first ever South African director to win a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions for his Adidas “Original is Never Finished” spot, that also received accolades from D&AD, One Show, Webby, Ciclope Festival and the AICP.

CAPE TOWN OFFICE

86 Hout Street, Cape Town, 8001
Tel: +27 21 001 0881

Executive Producer: Helena Woodfine
helena@romancefilms.tv
+27 (0)83 626 0422

Awarded by IDIDTHAT

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (Direction)
KFC ‘Anything For The Taste’
Romance Films | Greg Gray

September 2022

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Tian van den Heever ECD at FCB
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Rob van den Bragt, Animation & VFX Supervisor / Head of Production at Chocolate Tribe

Tian’s comment: ‘KFC’s new “Anything for the taste” hero content piece (AKA “ad”) went viral in the agency circles on the day of its release with good reason. It is two and a half minutes of filmic joy. Everything is doing all of the things. The performances are charming and funny without ever going near overplayed or hokey. The car shots featuring the iconic Cressida are immaculate. The lighting is lovely and the colouring is delicious. The product shots are mouthwatering and effortlessly integrated into the narrative. The splitscreens are sublime and the edit is beat-perfect. Even the titles pay their rent in full. And it has a killer track. It’s a sweet, retro-futurist, crowd-pleasing, visual smorgasbord that more than lives up to the hype. Greg Gray directed the pants off this one. ‘

Rob’s comment: ‘This 2:31 true crime ad is so beautifully and wittingly told it has you glued to the screen. The simple misdemeanour at first, the steadily increasing pace, the lengthening criminal record for “Mr. Molapo”, the happy nostalgic summer holiday music track and the wonderful ending, manages to deliver us a full-blown entertaining story in just two and half minutes. Chocolate Tribe did work on the visual effects for this ad, but it is simply not possible to abstain from voting for this wonderful KFC commercial. The wonderful casting, well-directed performances, warm soulful photography, balanced timing, and so on is Greg Gray at his best. Definitely worthy of the IDIDTHT Craft Best. Well done!’

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (Direction)
Chicken Licken ‘Soul Bites – Petrol’
Romance Films | Greg Gray

February 2022

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Mzi Kumalo, Founder and Director at Olamuk

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (Direction)

Chicken Licken ‘Soul Bites – Petrol’
Chicken Licken ‘Soul Bites – Rasta’

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Claudi Potter, Integrated CD at Joe Public United

Mzi’s comment: ‘Greg captured the performances really well, especially when one considers that his characters did not say a word. Most of it was in the performance beats and the choice of casting. Expressive faces and performances which made for a great comedic spot.’

Claudi’s comment: ‘This is a piece from Joe Public, but I couldn’t overlook the craft of the director on these spots. The cast, the performances and the timing of the humour is bang on. There are so many details that make you want to watch these spots again and again (*insert flirty hillbilly wink here). So enjoyable!’

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Soul Bites ‘Loanshark’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Tebza, Director at The Star Film Company.
November 2021

Tebza’s comment: ‘What more can you say about Greg; cinematic excellence, pitch-perfect comedy and a great cast. Greg has a way of making even the smallest ideas look epic. He gives scale to the mundane, and this is no different. A simple story but it feels like a movie. I’ve been a fan of Greg since I can remember and it surprises me how year in and year out he keeps making great work. His consistency is admirable and an example to all of us.’

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Soul Bites ‘Lotto’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Kabelo Moshapalo, Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy Johannesburg
November 2021

Kabelo’s comment: ‘All the spots, in this series, are pure fun and action-packed with so much story and attention to detail in such a short space of time. They’re visually rich and beautifully textured with really awesome performances. The Lotto one is my fav. Greg transports you distinctly into this very imaginative world, where every frame is humorous eye candy drawing you in and never missing a beat. Every watch is entertaining and leaves you yearning for more.’

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (Direction)
Chicken Licken ‘Feel the Fire’
Romance Films | Greg Gray

October 2021

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Kim Geldenhuys, Director at 0307

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (Direction)

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge:  Tseliso Rangaka, Chief Creative Officer FCB Joburg

Kim’s comment: ‘Chicken Licken and Greg Gray are no strangers to these woods, so I’ll be brief. “Feel The Fire” has all the hallmarks of a great ad. The cast is amazing, the art department is double nailed, the cinematography is world class and the story unfolds in a masterclass of attention to detail. So why only a special mention? Controversy alert. I think some directors are in a league of their own and don’t really compete with anyone except themselves. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing film by all accounts. It’s also classic Greg Gray. I would have loved Greg on a rocket kicking intergalactic ass, drop the mic or camera kind of stuff. It’s the standard he set.’

Tseliso’s comment: ‘Chicken Licken and Greg Gray are no strangers to these woods, so I’ll be brief. “Feel The Fire” has all the hallmarks of a great ad. The cast is amazing, the art department is double nailed, the cinematography is world class and the story unfolds in a masterclass of attention to detail. So why only a special mention? Controversy alert. I think some directors are in a league of their own and don’t really compete with anyone except themselves. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing film by all accounts. It’s also classic Greg Gray. I would have loved Greg on a rocket kicking intergalactic ass, drop the mic or camera kind of stuff. It’s the standard he set.’

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Nedbank ‘The Anti-Advertising Advertising Campaign’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Adam Howard, Owner, Composer and Engineer at Howard Audio
June 2021

Adam’s comment: ‘This campaign directed by Greg Gray just shows off his amazing skills at shooting just about anything. The campaign just oozes luxury and each genre of film is a directing marvel as Greg nails each pastiche, but in a subtle way gives each film his own trademark touches. Having seen Greg at work, I know the amount of detail and work he puts into every project and this was a huge campaign excellently executed.’

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Jabu Nadia Newman
NOWNESS ‘The Dream That Refused Me’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Neo Mashigo, Chief Creative Officer of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa
March 2021

Neo’s comment: ‘It’s beautiful to see Africans represented in an unapologetically beautiful way that looks into the future of what is possible for the African narrative. Jabu patiently pulls us into the story allowing enough space for the images from the past, present and future to live together seamlessly. The Director takes through different worlds as if one is flipping through channels of new aesthetics of the African diaspora. This short film had me thinking about value of not boxing Africa into a singular.’

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Savanna Jean ‘Survivor’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Suhana Gordhan, ECD at FCB Joburg
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Ricky Boyd, Film Editor at Deliverance Post
March 2020

Suhana’s comment: “Oh what a joy! I laugh every single time I watch this piece because it so accurately captures the pretentiousness that has become the world of gin. I like that this is an ad about all the fuss and pomp around serving a gin cocktail and so the choice to have such attention to detail, such craft and perfection in the styling, wardrobe and performances – from the tattoos and the earring the bartender is sporting to the exaggerated flair in his serving performance, makes it all extra rewarding.”
Ricky’s comment: “As always Greg deliverers with this ad. It would be hard not to give it a mention. We have become used to his consistent attention to detail, from casting, locations and performance. This ad was fun to make and it is apparent in its execution.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | MJ van Dorssen
CANSA ‘Don’t Fear The Finger’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Graeme Jenner, ECD of King James Group JHB
November 2019

Judges Comment: “MJ van Dorssen, I don’t know who you are, but I do know you’re very funny. You must be quite larney too, because someone from Romance described this ad as ‘Hitchcockian’ on Instagram. No wait, I just checked again, it actually says ‘Hitchcock-inspired’. I prefer ‘Hitchcockian’ myself, but larney nonetheless. Truth be told, everyone knows I just like a good bum joke, and that’s exactly what this is. Well done MJ van Dorssen, whoever you are.”

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Nedbank ‘Secrets (Sizwe & Alinah)’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Steph Van Niekerk, CD at Grey Africa/Liquid and Moses, Cat.
October 2019

Judges Comment:
Steph: This is a tense film and once you get into it, it grips you. It could quite easily have veered into the dramatic, but the performances are beautifully restrained.
Moses: The music, edit and framing all work together to capture the isolation and anxiety of the protagonist. It puts the burden of the secret squarely on him for such is the Tao of Secrets.
Steph: What do you know of the Tao of Secrets? You’re a cat.
Moses: There’s a dead bat under your bed…
Moses: I feel so much better now.

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Nedbank ‘Secrets’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Nikki Taylor-Garrett, CD at TBWA Hunt Lascaris
August 2019

Judges Comment: “Tension was built beautifully in this 15 minute film about the webs we weave. I couldn’t stop myself from taking screenshots of the perfectly framed, beautifully lit and considered scenarios.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Chicken Licken ‘Soul Sisters; Father and Son’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Claudi Potter, CD at Joe Public United
June 2019

Judges Comment: “The comic timing on this particular spot is really great, and I love the way the music and the performances work together – not just to get a smile from the audience, but to make us connect with this father and son in a more emotional way.”

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Chicken Licken ‘Sbu 2.0’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Peter Khoury, CCO at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris
April 2018

Judges Comment: “The Direction Craft category stood out for me. There were some great films whose stories were told compellingly. My overall pick goes to a story that was told with no tricks or fancy techniques; Greg Gray’s “Chicken Licken Sbu 2.0” – this gets my nod. Aesthetically it is a collision of first world tech and African grit. There is an honesty about how it is told. The little touches of magic and humour sprinkled throughout add charm and keep you captivated.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Greg Gray
Volkswagen Polo ‘Red Flashy Thingy’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Gareth McPherson, ECD at Publicis Machine
February 2018

Judges Comment: “VW are back with a good old SA production. Trading off the Polo’s well-entrenched ‘Confidence’ platform, Greg and team ROMANCE deliver a great comedic piece. From the casting, to set design, scene selection to strong voice-over, this commercial has been considered from every angle and very well put together. Congrats!”

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Terence Neale
Adidas Originals ‘Original Is Never Finished’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Liam Wielopolski, Chief Creative Officer, DDB South Africa
January 2017

Judges Comment: “Brace yourself for the bold new adidas Originals spot, “Original is never finished,” in support of its latest collection which recently launched worldwide. A visually stunning video, dark and menacing in its atmosphere, celebrates street culture, authenticity and going after one’s dreams. Features an inspiring remix of the iconic song “My Way” originally sung by Frank Sinatra, a lot of the spot’s visuals, whether it’s Snoop Dogg transforming into a canine, black basketballs raining from the sky or women destroying drones with baseball bats, work on shock value. And of course, some have been shocked. A quick scroll through the video’s comments on YouTube find as many accounts praising the ad’s visuals as labelling it “satanic”, “Illuminati” and just plain “weird”. But with over seven and a half million views since release, “Original is never finished” is already making a huge splash. Love it Terence Neale!”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
Romance Films | Terence Neale
Coca-Cola ‘Jordan Spieth – Rain’
IDIDTHAT Judge: Gordon Ray, Executive Creative Director, M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town.
September 2016

Judges Comment: “Another superb ad, highly entertaining, and laden with smiles and ‘how did they do that’s’ was Egg’s Coke ad, featuring golfer Jordan Spieth. A good old celebrity endorsement skilfully handled. Nice.”

Featured Work

Featured Stories

Romance Films’ director Jabu Newman speaks Gen-Z in Standard Bank’s latest commercial ‘10% Millionaires’

June 2nd, 2022|Comments Off on Romance Films’ director Jabu Newman speaks Gen-Z in Standard Bank’s latest commercial ‘10% Millionaires’

Director Jabu Newman has crafted a visually vibrant and unapologetically Gen-Z world for Standard Bank. Reality meets every young adult’s fantasy in the stylish tongue-in-cheek campaign that uses energetic TikTok-inspired transitions to authentically celebrate South Africa’s youth culture.

Romance Films’ performance director Emilie Badenhorst delivers bold love story in latest music video ‘Strangers’

January 28th, 2022|Comments Off on Romance Films’ performance director Emilie Badenhorst delivers bold love story in latest music video ‘Strangers’

Romance’s Emilie Badenhorst once again flexes her ability as a performance director in her new music video for DJ Dom Dolla. Celebrating those lost in the cracks of society, ‘Strangers’ is a passionate coming-of-age love story that catapults you out of your comfort zone. We spoke to Emilie about her unfiltered approach to directing and the importance of representation.

Jabu Nadia Newman from Romance Films explores black identity in a Nowness short film ‘The Dream That Refused Me’

March 16th, 2021|Comments Off on Jabu Nadia Newman from Romance Films explores black identity in a Nowness short film ‘The Dream That Refused Me’

Commissioned by well-known cultural platform NOWNESS and created by Romance Films, ‘The Dream That Refused Me’ is a visual poem that explores black identity through dance, digital filters, and collage artwork. We sat down with Director Jabu Nadia Newman to unpack this striking and surreal film.