Over 4 years ago JT Moatshe joined Spitfire as their in-house sound designer and music composer. Fiercely in love with film, curious and eager to learn, he worked his way up to videographer and photographer and eventually found his seat at the table as a fully-fledged Spitfire director. JT has already built up quite a reel of content and commercials, but what makes this filmmaker such an agile director is his ability to combine his visuals with his ear for music and sound design chops. Here’s why JT Moatshe should be on your radar.
Executive Producer, Liesl Lategan first signed JT as Spitfire’s in-house sound producer and resident cool guy, which saw him working mostly on behind-the-scenes content. According to Liesl, she knew he was so much more and says: ‘We hit the jackpot with JT. With his rich background and experience as a music producer, he has gone on to blossom into this agile content director with a vengeance. He is incredibly talented and has grown so quickly as a filmmaker. JT is so skilled and brings so much more to the table as a filmmaker and he is a wonderful person to work with. It’s an absolute privilege to have him a part of the team.’
Not a lot of directors can say they have their own sound studio, or look this cool in it!
Not a traditional entry into filmmaking, JT’s creative career was very much built in the music industry. He first picked up the Xylophone in primary school but we suspect his street cred has more to do with his skills as a drummer and beatmaker who signed his first deal with Universal Music in 2018 and now owns his own music label, Sequence Creative Productions. JT, also known as BeatkillaBlack or Black Samurai in the music circles, says: ‘Music has always been the backbone for inspiration for me, something that keeps me growing. Music doesn’t stop, genres keep emerging and that’s what keeps me more informed. The pace at which music is made is so fast and so changing, today it’s Electro, tomorrow it’s EDM. Music and the culture that comes with the different genres enable me to bring another perspective to filmmaking and constantly rethink ways in which to service our stories, especially ekasi stories. Film combined with the right sound and music can be incredibly emotive and even transformative.’
Before joining Spitfire, JT studied Film and Sound Design, where he learnt to understand how to connect visuals with music in a meaningful way. Once signed with the Spitfire family, director and industry veteran AK began mentoring JT but the relationship quickly developed into that of collaborators. Now the two often work on projects together. Backed with the support of Spitfire producers, Liesl Lategan, Baleseng Makola, Relebohile & trainee director Hloni, JT is passionate about finding and rethinking ways of telling South African stories. ‘It’s refreshing to see the South African environment and its people explored in new ways. There are so many stories that need to be told, retold, and redefined and that’s what excites me most about being a director. I have an opportunity to reflect and share our narratives and our country authentically with the world.’
Not only a filmmaker and music producer, JT is an experienced photographer (see his work here) and edits many of his projects, not to mention having his finger firmly on the pulse of skating and street culture – Spitfire’s very own Swiss Army Knife.