they

They is an award-winning production company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. They specialises in commercials, branded content and anything else that is interesting in the world of filmmaking.

Johannesburg, Cape Town & Durban

Executive Producer & Co-Owner: Darren Gordon
Directors: Alan Irvin (Co-Owner) / Grant De Sousa / David Prior

TALENT

ALAN IRVIN  |  DIRECTOR

He has grown an impeccable name for himself in the industry where he has been recognised by his peers winning numerous creative industry awards and has produced some of South Africa’s most loved commercials. Alan has received accolades at Cannes Lions, D&AD’s, Midas Awards, and many Loeire awards. View Work

GRANT DE SOUSA |  DIRECTOR

Grant proves his mettle as a performance director, being able to extract impressive interpretations from his cast. His keen creative eye and immaculate attention to detail make him a favorite choice as a director both locally and abroad. View Work

DAVID PRIOR |  DIRECTOR

David lives in Cape Town, brews rum, beer and photographs things beautifully. He is one of the most awarded photographers in South Africa, and is recognized globally. He has spent years studying a bottle of ice cold beer, and food and beverages, and has become an authority in the art of capturing life’s small pleasures. View Work.

Awarded by IDIDTHAT

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Grant de Sousa
Sunbet ‘The Stunted Man’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Steph van Niekerk, Creative Director at TBWA Hunt Lascaris
June 2024

Steph’s comment: ‘We’ve had a few Hollywood-inspired epics in the last couple of years but I have to commend the scale of this piece and the amount of detail and work that went into it. I can imagine that you guys were definitely ‘not bored’ for several months. Well done.’

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Wandile Xaba
Rent A Store ‘Santiago’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Steph van Niekerk, Creative Director at Grey/WPP Liquid
December 2021

Steph’s comment: ‘For a piece shot on a shoestring, and let’s be honest, in this pandemic those are becoming the norm, I really enjoyed this piece. It’s a charming story of an Argentinian Expat who stores his skiing equipment in the hopes that it will one day snow in Joburg. Story aside, I found the performances really charming and believable. And if they are really non-actors, then even more reason for Wandile to get a special mention for Direction. The temptation often is to over complicate things with loads of cuts and editing techniques, but this piece didn’t try too hard. It’s just an entertaining, understated piece that allowed the story to shine. Nice one, They and Wandile.’

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
They | Alan Irvin
Momentum ‘Giant’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Greg Rom, Director at Gentlemen Films
April 2021

Greg’s comment: “What I really liked about Alan’s treatment of this story was the level of intrigue he was able to create by holding back on information. That opening shot hooked me and with a wonderfully balanced use of considered visual storytelling and soaring soundtrack he kept me intrigued right until the pay off line. From the cinematography to the smart visual effects, it’s the type of direction that employs many elements to bring the storytelling to the fore. He did an excellent job of focusing on the character’s journey and by so doing, took me on an emotive one.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Mel Ismail
Wimpy/Engen ‘The Next Stop’ (Directors Cut)
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: PJ Eales, ECD at Machine_
January 2021

PJ’s comment: “There was a lot of really emotional work entered this time round so this spot for Wimpy by Mel Ismail was like a breath of fresh air. I actually hadn’t seen the spot before this and the joke reveal made me laugh out loud, so much so that I watched it over and over again. The performances from mom and dad are fantastic, but Mel has done some incredible work in the way she directed the little girl, her facial expressions and the little nuances that Mel coaxed out of her are simply sublime.”

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
They | Grant de Sousa
Chicken Licken ‘The Legend of Big John (Extended version)’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Juliet Honey, Creative Director at Net#work BBDO
December 2018

Judges Comment: “It’s another case of the battle of the chicken burgers. This month Chicken Licken’s epic Legend of Big John pips Nandos’ ‘You people’ to the post. Big John is jam-packed with fun moments and hidden references making it rewarding to watch more than once (especially for us ad people). It’s always great when a piece of work feels like it was produced with lots of love.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Alan Irvin
Mahindra ‘The Wanderer’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Xolisa Dyeshana, Chief Creative Officer and Partner at Joe Public
October 2018

Judges Comment: “This is a charming piece, beautifully shot and quite different from the car advertising we’re used to, which is usually about a list of features with little to no attention paid to the story. So well done to they Films and Alan Irvin.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Grant de Sousa
Ster Kinekor ‘The Reign of Ian’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Camilla Clerke, Creative Director at Hellocomputer
January 2018

Judges Comment: “Pretty much a 1,5 hour movie made into a 1,5 minute ad – it’s got the whole plot.
We watch as Ian falls from grace as his power-high becomes too much for his office. The casting is good – from Ian (SA’s answer to Zach Galifianakis) to the extras. The music is full of drama. And the acting, although a little overdone and a bit forced in parts (but I guess that was the point), hits the right note. A littttle obvious, but still a good mini movie reminding us to watch the real thing.”

AWARDED: BEST IN CRAFT (DIRECTION)
They | Alan Irvin
Chicken Licken ‘Icelandic Boy’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Nkanyezi Masango, Creative Director at King James Group
October 2017

Judges Comment: “For mastery in directing, Chicken Licken is my pick for Best of Reel. It’s such an ambitious script, which in the wrong hands, could have easily been an epic disaster. But the director handled the challenge with finesse and great production values. It’s shot beautifully, yet feels real with just the right level of subtle humour and flawless performances. Hats off to Alan Irvin, the team and a brave client. The trip to Iceland was well worth it.”

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Alan Irvin
Dairymaid ‘Evil Twin’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Eoin Welsh, Chief Creative Officer at Havas Worldwide
August 2016

Judges Comment: “A lovely  little story that manages to feature cute kids and ice-cream without being sickly sweet. It’s a real art in this kind of storytelling to keep on the right side of the cheese line, and this spot pulls it off.d it advertises. Nice one, Sunu.

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Dave Meinert
Ster-Kinekor ‘Open Eyes’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Pepe Marais, Chief Creative Officer at Joe Public
May 2016

Judges Comment: “Those who know me know that I have a soft spot for work that makes a meaningful difference. The Open Eyes piece for Ster Kinekor is not just noble in its intent but it is also magnificently executed by Dave Meinert from They. An idea that gives vision to a young man – now what can beat that?

AWARDED: CRAFT MENTION (DIRECTION)
They | Dave Meinert
‘The Pegasus Project’
IDIDTHAT Judge: Eoin Welsh, Chief Creative Officer at Havas Worldwide
May 2015

Judges Comment: “OK, So it’s a tearjerker with a cute dog in it. The cynic in me says it’s playing to the crowd. But the softie in me says then I must be in that crowd because tears were jerked a little – and it surprised me by not quite going the route I thought it would. Head says too easy, heart says fuck you head, it got to me – and isn’t that what good filmmaking is supposed to do?”

Featured Work

IDIDTHAT Featured Stories 

THEY is proud to add Robin Goode to their directors roster

January 26th, 2024|Comments Off on THEY is proud to add Robin Goode to their directors roster

Robin is one of those true filmmakers with incredible visual artistry chops. He’s blessed with the double superpower of being able to create evocative imagery while crafting powerful performances. With multiple Cannes Lion awards, a Loerie Grand Prix, over 15 years of commercial directing experience and two feature films under his belt, Robin adds his experience to the already established roster at They.

Read carefully before using They

November 14th, 2022|Comments Off on Read carefully before using They

About to celebrate their ninth birthday as one of South Africa’s well-established production companies, They has released their updated operating manual. Known for their trademark use of the old school 4:3 TVs in their company design, the epic step-by-step guide covers everything from the basics to their more advanced functions. Read before use and become familiar with all the features of directors Alan Irvin, Grant De Sousa, Melany Ismail, Wandile Xaba and David Prior today.

They ‘We commit to black female directors’

August 7th, 2020|Comments Off on They ‘We commit to black female directors’

Directing duo Lusanda Mgoduka and Melany Ismail have partnered with They’s founders, Darren Gordon and Alan Irvin. The refreshed They family, joined by female director, Wandile Xaba, unpack the challenge of getting black female directors through the pitch room doors, not to mention black queer and trans directors. They ask the ad industry to step up and join them because it’s not just a They thing, it’s an us thing, a South African thing.

Featured Showcases

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards June 2024

July 8th, 2024|

This month's IDIDTHAT.co Craft Awards were judged by the illustrious judgy-McJudgersons Steph van Niekerk, ECD at TBWA Hunt Lascaris and Anton Visser, Director at Patriot Films. A standing ovation goes to Thina Zibi from Giant Films and Zee Ntuli from Darling Films for taking home Best in Craft for June. 

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards January 2024

February 8th, 2024|

This month's IDIDTHAT.co Craft Awards were judged by the Judge Judy's themselves, order in the court for Alan Irvin, Director at They Films  and all rise for Danni Pinch, ECD at Accenture Song. Congratulations to Darling Films' Chloe Coetsee and independent director Dave Meinert who both took home Best in Craft.

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards September 2023

October 13th, 2023|

What a month! Really great work was entered, and there was a lot of it, making it really tough for our judges, but they pulled through. September’s (we know, we know, we’re a bit late this month but we blame the glitz, the hangovers and the velvety seats of this year’s Loeries) IDIDTHAT.co Craft Awards were judged by the insightful and wise Kirk Gainsford, Chief Creative Officer, MullenLowe SA and Katlego Baaitse, Director at Spitfire Films. Congratulations to Dean Blumberg from Massïf, Zee Ntuli from Darling Films and Peter Pohorsky from Plank on taking home Best of Craft. Well done for doing well!

She Did That at Loeries 2022 – Directors

February 7th, 2023|

The 2022 Loeries Official Rankings were released last week and although we don't think awards and accolades mean everything (they're pretty cool though), they definitely get our attention when they reflect the high level of work being created by some of the talented women and non-binary people in our industry right now. Below we have showcased five of the top-ranked film directors in the country according to the Loeries. Congratulations and here's to seeing a lot more representation in 2023 💪🏾

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards November 2022

December 9th, 2022|

This month’s IDIDTHAT.co Craft Awards were judged by the very top of our Xmas wishlist; Grant Sithole, Chief Product Officer of Publicis Groupe Africa and Nicole Ackermann, Director at Romance. This was a particularly tough month to judge with a lot of stand-out work, but rising to the top is Paul Ward from Giant Films and Tristan Holmes from The Star Film Company.

Read carefully before using They

November 14th, 2022|

About to celebrate their ninth birthday as one of South Africa’s well-established production companies, They has released their updated operating manual. Known for their trademark use of the old school 4:3 TVs in their company design, the epic step-by-step guide covers everything from the basics to their more advanced functions. Read before use and become familiar with all the features of directors Alan Irvin, Grant De Sousa, Melany Ismail, Wandile Xaba and David Prior today.