The best way to explain the noticeable shift at Rudeboy is to introduce you to the new directors joining the team; Hallie Haller and director-duo Helen and Kim. A creative mindful group who share more than just the same headshot photographer. Committed to inclusivity, championing minorities and ethical filmmaking, the new directors and Rudeboy partners could not be more on the same page. A group of filmmakers who live and breathe their values and we are here for it!
New offices and new hires
Four years since opening their doors in Johannesburg, Rudeboy has now expanded its South African footprint to include an office in Cape Town. The three new filmmakers will be joining the Rudeboy directors Mpho Twala and Monde Gumede on the cross-country roster. All of them come with experience directing and self-producing their own short films, documentaries, music videos, branded content and narrative work. Apart from bringing a filmmaking sensibility to commercials directing, it’s got to be said that these are also downright lekker people. They all have their hearts and minds in the right place and are the kind of humans that leave you feeling better than when they found you.
Rudeboy and humans-first filmmaking
‘Rudeboy is made up of the humans that are in it. Rudeboy is a place created by the people in it. We are only as good as those that choose to be here. They determine who we are. For us, it’s important to keep the coffee hot, keep the doors open, keep the internet running and give the support to our humans to produce great film.’ Says Partner and Director Mpho Twala.
What first attracted Partners Sabelo Mahlangu and Mpho Twala to their new directing team was their short film work and content pieces. Executive Producer Sabelo says: ‘Helen and Kim are such established directors already. We have always been impressed by their well-crafted films, but also the socially responsible work they create. It’s when we saw their film ‘Boni and Wes’ that we were taken by the telling of such a powerful true story, a story that needs to be told so delicately. They managed to capture such raw intimacy and honesty in the smallest of moments and that requires a truly detailed and conscious filmmaker.’
Sabelo continues: ‘Similarly with Hallie’s film ‘Belovely’. This offbeat take on the expectations of romance really resonated with us, although the film is rather surreal, it’s rooted in such truth, awkward truth, funny truth, but truth. We can’t wait to see Hallie’s ability to capture this kind of nuanced storytelling translate into the world of commercials.’
Helen and Kim
View Helen + Kim’s work >
The director team Helen and Kim are certainly not new to the commercials scene. The duo, known for being strong storytellers and performance directors opened Motion City Films over ten years ago. They have won numerous awards, including the most recent, the Grand Prix at the 2020 CICLOPE Africa Awards for their short ‘Boni and Wes’.
Mpho: ‘Boni and Wes grabbed my attention. They bring another sensibility to the work; Kim with his technical know-how and love for the visual and Helen with her knack for performance directing. Seldom do you find people who express who they are rather than the things they think the market wants to see and these two are who they are, just themselves. And damn they love the craft.’
Sabelo: ‘There is a tone and consideration to their work and a love for epic scale and emotive storytelling.They are big thinkers, who’ll get big brands and big campaigns.’
For Helen and Kim, who are used to wearing many hats during production, Rudeboy offers the perfect platform so they can focus on the craft. Helen says: ‘Not only will Rudeboy give us invaluable production support but it’s a place where our cultures and ethics are aligned, from the way they believe in treating crew to championing minorities, whether it’s women in film or people of colour. Ethically and culturally it’s the perfect fit.’
View Hallie’s work >
Yes, the word is overused but AUTHENTIC AUTHENTIC AUTHENTIC is what you get from Hallie. There is no BS. She already lives out the things she cares about, invaluable when you want to create AUTHENTIC (there’s that word again) work. As a fairly new name to the commercials industry, Hallie says: ‘I’m interested in cultural production that creates opportunity, fosters community and examines how we may live more meaningful lives.’ After kickstarting her career in the industry as a videographer she spent 6 years in Taipei doing everything from teaching to wine importing. Since returning, armed with the courage of a fine Taiwanese Domaine Shu Sheng wine, Hallie has created a multitude of short films and branded content and is currently completing her first documentary, out in November.
Did we mention she’s also an infectiously great person who makes you want to be better? Hallie campaigns for social justice in all aspects of her life and is a proudly Brown Girls Doc Mafia member, a ForCreativeGirls mentor, a One World Media documentary fellow and an ambassador for GirlsInFilm’s South African chapter.
Sabelo: ‘You probably wouldn’t know this about Hallie, but another major plus when you need it is that Hallie comes from a dance background and brings a strong foundational understanding of the mechanics of how to authentically portray dancers and big orchestrated movement scenes in commercials.’
Mpho: ‘Hallie is a phenomenal creative strategic thinker. Everything she does is based on how she can best serve the community her work is speaking to. This is a rare quality to have in the advertising space. I remember when I said to her ‘You must be careful of commercials, they will change you’ and she said, ‘No I’ll change them’.
Rudeboy’s success is rooted in the belief that filmmaking is a collective effort that can only be achieved when those involved are empowered and supported to take up space. The company might be known for creating award-winning, conceptual creative work, but it’s never been just about the work. At Rudeboy it’s equally as important how the work is made. Committed to creating a fertile ground for collaboration, inclusivity and respect, their values have always been rooted in creating mindful ethical filmmaking, no matter how big that budget. For that, you need a mindful team, tick!
Wanna (s)talk some more? Rudeboy on IDIDTHAT and Company Website.