From their humble beginnings in a small garage in Emmarentia, Hungry Films is now producing around 42 projects in just a year – that’s almost one a week gang! Look, we’re not like prone to hyperbole or anything but is it really a coincidence that Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google were also started in a garage? #WeThinkNot
5 Years later, Hungry may have upgraded to sexier offices but their essence of ‘family first’ has remained the same. We go behind the doors of this new aged South African household who keep the principles of honesty and support close to their hearts.
When Executive Producer Jackie Nel and Director Oscar Strauss first launched Hungry, Jackie was, in true Producer style, meticulous about every detail. From the get-go she was eager to make Hungry a success story and even had the Hungry Films name verified at a centre for Nameology (yes, it’s a thing). The Nameologist (we actually don’t know if that is a thing) assured her that Hungry would shower them with an abundance of money. Music to a Producer’s ears. Work came in fast and furiously and Jackie approached long time friend and colleague, Executive Producer Gaye Leong, to join the team and step in as co-owner alongside their Production Manager and partner Vuyo Depha. This move also made Hungry one of the very few 100% female owned production companies in South Africa. Jackie and Gaye, with their extensive experience in the world of production and advertising, began handpicking the Directors that would make up their dream family unit. Hungry is now home to 6 Directors (hang onto your data because we’re about to introduce you to them), Producer extraordinaire Cherice Whewell, Production Support Musa Ntshangase and in-house Producer Neil Hindle.
Introducing the Greedy Bunch
One thing that all the Directors at Hungry share is their insatiable appetite for commercials work. They’re all extremely passionate about the industry and apart from meeting every single morning to share a cup of coffee (except for Director Kofi Zwana, who ironically prefers orange juice) downstairs from the office, they wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else than on set.
iDidTht: ‘How did you choose your team?’
Gaye: ‘For us it boils down to relationships. Everyone in our team contributes to this collaborative creative synergy that we’re passionate about at Hungry. That synergy makes for better work’. Jackie: ‘Exactly. Also, Gaye and I don’t have children of our own, so for us our Directors are our family and we’ve been lucky enough to choose them very carefully. They all have unique energies and skills, but all share a love of storytelling and are fiercely intelligent.’ Gaye: ‘Jackie has really made sure that we are a strong core team who really just want to work and have a fabulous time while doing it.’
The two matriarchs literally spoke about their 5 Hungry lions for hours and like real mothers we feared that they might even whip out some baby pictures. Instead, we got a great breakdown of each Director with some kickass work to show off. We also asked Jackie and Gaye, seeing as they are the head of the Hungry household and in charge of budgets, to guess what all their Directors would order as their last meal. Let’s see how they match up with the real answers…
Director Ian Difford – The Hero Shot Guy
Ian’s name is synonymous with food porn. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who is as passionate about getting that performance out of a beer or obsesses as much about the way a seeded bun falls onto a piece of cos lettuce. Needless to say the man will make you want to lick the screen. His years of experience has made him a tabletop specialist with a wide range of return clients, some having been with him for over 9 years. Ian’s background in photography means he has an eye for beauty and his latest stills campaign over Christmas for Jameson saw the whiskey house’s numbers increase exponentially.
Ian’s Hungry Last Meal
Jackie and Gaye: ‘Ian is such a delightful snob haha. Probably prawns or crayfish.’ Ian: ‘Well close, it’s actually devilled lamb kidneys on toast.’ iDidTht: 🤢 Jackie and Gaye: ‘Ian no man, we would never let you order that!’
Jameson ‘Triple Distilled’
Steers ‘My Burger’
Director Oscar Strauss – The Performance Enforcer
Oscar’s wealth of experience as a Director means he can pretty much get a performance out of anyone. And yes, he is the man responsible for directing the GLAAD Bags Prisoner ad – probs one of our favourite from the Oscar reel and Shots agreed as they listed that ad as one of the ten best ads in the world that year. Oscar has an eye for the peculiar, a knack for comedy, loves directing strong characters and kids of all ages adore him (maybe because he has two of his own or maybe because he kind of looks like a Scandinavian Father Christmas 🎅). Oh, and did we mention he’s also a pretty good ice hockey player?! I mean ice hockey…in South Africa? Who writes his script?
Oscar’s Hungry Last Meal
Jackie and Gaye: ‘A classic hamburger and chips.’ Oscar: ‘Look I know you two are sort of like my real mothers, although I’m old enough to be the family uncle, but it’s actually cottage pie, the way my mother made it when I was a boy.’ Jackie and Gaye: ‘You mean your biological mother…’ Oscar: ‘Ha, yes that one.’
Toyota Hilux ‘The Toughest Challenge’
Nestle ‘Laughing Babies’
Kofi Zwana – The All-Rounder
From the age of 21 Kofi’s filmmaking light has shined bright like a diamond (thank you Rihanna). Only two months out of film school he won his first gold at the International Sports Advertising Awards. He’s a young, grounded, versatile Director with experience as a Photographer, Camera Operator, Assistant Director, Editor and Sound Designer. His porti includes commercials, music videos, long form, and post-heavy jobs.
Kofi’s Hungry Last Meal
Jackie and Gaye: ‘Despite the fact that he is our thinnest Director, he’s our meat man. So we think steak and chips.’ Kofi: ‘Very close guys. But I want to add some crayfish to that and make it a specialised ‘Surf & Turf’ Jackie and Gaye: ‘That can be arranged.’ Kofi: ‘Also with a side of veg instead of chips so as to be somewhat healthy.’ iDidTht: ‘Yeah cause you really want to stay healthy on that last meal Kofi.’ Kofi: ‘Haha, hey I try…’
Axe ‘Modern Man’
DStv Business ‘Rivals’
Director Juniper – The Problem Solver
Juniper is an adrenalin junkie who loves getting her hands dirty. Her passion for solving the technical problems on a shoot is only matched by her love of cars and big explosions. She was even selected as one of the 12 best Automotive Directors from around the world by Source Showcase. A complete petrol head who lives for a challenge and is a meticulous performance Director. Juniper can also nail those one-takers, in-camera effects or stop frame animations.
Juniper’s Hungry Last Meal
Jackie and Gaye: ‘Pancakes with cinnamon and sugar.’ Juniper: ‘If it’s breakfast it has to be Gaye’s banana bread. If its lunch I’d opt for a pizza with all the cheese and pineapple.’ Jackie and Gaye: ‘Juniper you’ve been hiding things from us.’ Juniper: ‘Hey haha, I need some privacy…’
Cell C ‘Taxi’
Toyota Fortuner ‘The Valley Of Reflection’
Malo 8 – The Teddy Bear
Malo 8 is passionate about capturing authentic feel good South African stories and finding the humour in everyday situations. His background directing theatre productions, TV shows and films means he understands how to get that performance from his actors. Malo 8 is about as charismatic as you’ll get – an eccentric soul totally in touch with our country and its people. He’s also best served with one of his hats from his epic collection.
Malo 8’s Hungry Last Meal
Jackie and Gaye: ‘Probably something Asian. Perhaps a beautiful Japanese meal – something delicious and expensive.’ Malo 8: ‘Haha, I hope you’re paying for that. Actually, it’s an Emperor’s Breakfast.’ iDidTht: ‘We have no idea what that is, but we want it now!’
SARB ‘The Madiba In Me’
From their ravenous start in that garage in Emmarentia, Hungry has grown from strength to strength. Now housed in their legit offices in Joburg, Hungry’s positioning is still just as simple; they are dedicated to offering client’s premium work, hands-on efficient service and value relationships above all else. They believe in connections and creating lasting friendships with the people they work with. In short, they’re the kind of family you’d want to have dinner with and we’re pretty sure they’ll leave you hungry to work with Hungry more (yeah, we couldn’t help ourselves)…
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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