Master Classes

Master Class 1 Description
Find your cinematic voice.
Presented by Prof Lieza Louw and Karin Preller
 See, feel and hear your film. Ideas for artistic and creative identity development for young filmmakers. Join a collective journey with painting/drawing and film-based techniques to discover your own identity as a filmmaker.
Master Class 2 Description
Wesgro presents: Meet Todd Brown, Head of International Acquisitions, XYZ Films A one-hour masterclass on how to package your film for international sales and distribution opportunities.
Master Class 3 Description
How to build a festival strategy. Presented by Jana Wolff This masterclass explains how the exposure at a festival can promote your film, what you should know about festivals, how to build a strategy, how and what to prepare and how to make the most of the festival participation of your film.
Master Class 4 Description
International film festivals & short films.
Presented by Wouter Jansen
With plenty of film festivals out there and new ones popping up every day, it is easy to get lost trying to find the ones that suit your film (and you) best. When and where to start whilst working on your film? What festivals to screen at in the beginning and what choices should you make after having your premiere? How can you get the most out of your festival run? What are the possibilities for spreading and screening your film online? Wouter will answer all these questions and explain what the best way is to get your short film out into the world. This master class includes a special screening of My Mamma Is Bossies – a short distributed internationally by Square Eyes.
Master Class 5 Description
Developing audiences through short-form video on TikTok Carla Harris, the Media Partnerships Lead for TikTok in Sub-Saharan Africa, will discuss the multitude of opportunities that TikTok in-app features offer filmmakers. Guiding you on how to build audiences and community for your craft which can turn into bankable opportunities both on and off TikTok.
Master Class 6 Description
Building and Monetising a YouTube channel Danilo Acquisto, CEO and co-founder of Special Effects Media South Africa, will unpack the basics of YouTube and help you to build your audience (channel and brand) and then to look at the various ways to monetise your YouTube content. Successful YouTubers will have the opportunity to share their experience.

SSF Panel Discussions

Topic Description Panel Members Time
M-Net Studios present: Co-production opportunities and strategies Co-productions have emerged as the future of the industry, and is changing the way television gets made. Join this discussion to get an understanding of what the international appetite is for South African co-productions, where the opportunities are, and how to structure the creative proposal and finance plans. Nicola van Niekerk (facilitator).
Allan Sperling, Harriet Gavshon, Kaye Ann Williams, Thierry Cassuto, Layla Swart, Nomsa Philiso
13:45-14:45
Topic Description Panel Members Time
Women in Film Women in film and TV production talk about their experiences of and impact on the industry and how to foster opportunities and embrace challenges. Kaye Ann Williams (facilitator).
Vlokkie Gordon, Thandi Davids, Amy Jephta, Layla Swart
13:30-14:30
Topic Description Panel Members Time
Theatrical distribution of local films during a global pandemic.
Hosted by Helen Kuun from Indigenous Film Distribution
The pandemic leaves filmmakers with a conundrum: Do I take the risk to release my new local feature or documentary in cinemas knowing that there might still be some COVID protocols and restrictions in place, limiting capacity and thus box office performance, or do I wait? If I do decide to distribute, what can I expect from this release? And how do I best support and market my cinema release as a producer or filmmaker? Helen Kuun (facilitator).
Tanya Rossouw, Christeen Willemse, Thandeka Zwana,
12:00-13:00
Panel: International representation for screenwriters and directors.
Hosted by Wikus du Toit
A conversation about international representation in the TV and film industry with seasoned literary talent agents from South Africa and the UK. Find out: How do you reach out and get representation? What are the pitfalls? What are studios and platforms looking for and what does representation entail? What are the international trends in screenwriting? Wikus du Toit (facilitator).
David Kayser, Anthony Mestriner, Aiofe Lennon-Ritchie
16:00-17:00

Speakers

Allan Sperling is originally from Denmark, but he is currently based in Johannesburg where he serves as the Executive Head of Physical Productions at MultiChoice. He is working on co-production, post-production, education, financing and distribution for various projects.

Amy Jephta is a screenwriter, director and playwright from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town.

She has three feature film credits to her name including South Africa’s 2018 Golden Globes submission, Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story. As a playwright, her work has been directed by Danny Boyle for the Royal Court. Amy is the 2017 recipient of the Eugène Marais Prize for Drama and the 2019 recipient of one of South Africa’s highest art accolades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre. She now focuses on producing for film and television via her company, Nagvlug Films. Her acclaimed directorial feature debut, Barakat, was South Africa’s entry for the 2022 Oscars.

Anthony Mestriner has been a film and television literary agent for 15 years at Casarotto Ramsay & Associates in London – one of the world’s most prestigious agencies representing writers, directors, heads of department and rights. Current clients include Edward Berger (Melrose), Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders), Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones), Nora Fingscheidt (The Unforgivable) and Duncan Macmillan (1984). Prior to becoming an agent, Anthony worked for Spyglass Entertainment in Los Angeles and attended film school at Southern Methodist University & UCLA.

Aoife Lennon-Ritchie is a managing partner of Torchwood, a literary and scouting agency with offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Along with her partner, David Kayser, she represents emerging and internationally acclaimed writers, directors, script editors, and a select number of producers working in film and television. As well as representing above-the-line talent, Aoife runs the Lennon-Ritchie Agency which represents authors internationally and sells film rights and international publishing rights on behalf of South African and overseas publishing houses including Penguin Random House South Africa, Pan Macmillan South Africa, Jonathan Ball Publishers, and Duck Creek Press New Zealand.

Carla Harris is the Media Partnerships Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa at TikTok focused on working with media, entertainment, sports and any other content-driven organisations to support their growth on TikTok. Carla and her team across Africa, support partners in reaching new audiences and building communities for their brands and businesses on TikTok organically and through partnership projects. The fans/audiences are already on TikTok, Carla and her team help their partners to be a part of those conversations.

Prior to TikTok, Carla was the Senior Content Specialist for Online Video at MultiChoice as well as the MCN Manager for all of MultiChoice’s YouTube channels. She had the opportunity to not only be one of the first YouTube MCN Managers in South Africa but also the first MCN Manager of a broadcaster to launch YouTube’s Player for Publishers in the EMEA region. Working with brands within the MultiChoice stable from SuperSport to Africa Magic, Carla has experience in the entertainment and media space as platform, publisher and as a creator, understanding the online video ecosystem from all touch points.

Christeen Willemse started her career at Ster-Kinekor in 2011 as the CRM marketing manager in Gauteng, gaining valuable insight into driving consumer behaviour. She moved to Cape Town a year later and now heads up Regional Marketing on behalf of the business, which includes Namibia and Zambia.

Danilo Acquisto is the CEO and co-founder of online video specialist business and YouTube MCN, Special Effects Media South Africa. Before venturing into producing for TV and radio, he had a 10-year career in the world of video and audio, starting from presenting TV shows like Hectic Nine-9, Afternoon Express and Win a Home and radio shows like the Hit 30 on Good Hope FM. In 2017, he partnered with an international YouTube MCN to build a local offering.

David Kayser is a literary agent based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He spent the best part of the last decade in London at Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Ltd – one of the world’s leading creative agencies, representing both emerging and internationally acclaimed writers, directors, and heads of department across film, television, and theatre. David studied at Rhodes University and The Oxford School of Drama, was mentored by industry stalwart Rachel Holroyd and has worked alongside multiple Academy-nominated and BAFTA-winning writers and directors.

Dorothee Wenner is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and writer based in Berlin. She is an external curator at the Humboldt Forum for Film and Cinema, and a delegate to the Berlin International Film Festival for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Since its inception in 2005, Dorothee Wenner belongs to the jury of the Lagos-based African Movie Academy Awards. Her latest work as a filmmaker was the web series Kinshasa Collection (www.kinshasa-collection.com). 

Harriet Gavshon heads Quizzical Pictures – one of South Africa’s leading film and television companies. She has twenty five years’ experience, making some of South Africa’s most celebrated and loved television productions including Soul City, iNumber Number, Diamond City and The Girl from St Agnes. Factual programmes she has produced include Masterchef South Africa and A Country Imagined with Johnny Clegg. Most recently, she has produced, with Serena Cullen, the drama series Reyka which has been sold to over 80 countries. She has been awarded a Crystal Award for Women of Courage and Vision from Women in Film and a special award as a woman veteran artist by the Department of Arts and Culture.

Helen Kuun is Managing Director of Indigenous Film Development & Distribution. She set up the company in 2009 to create the first independent film distribution company targeted specifically at feature films produced in South Africa and Africa. She has more than 25 years’ experience with all aspects of film distribution in South Africa across all platforms, from publicity and marketing to acquisitions, development, and sales. To date, the Indigenous Film Distribution team, an all-women 100% black-owned company, has released over 130 features including Liefling – Die Movie, Four Corners, Inxeba (The Wound), Racheltjie de Beer, Losing Lerato, Rafiki, Knuckle City, This is Not a Burial it’s a Resurrection and Barakat

Irfaan Fredericks is the former co-owner of Kalahari Film and Media, an internationally recognised production company which he operated alongside his business partner, Michael S. Murphy, from 2014 to 2021 – most notably as African facilitation producer on Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, as well as line producing SAF3, an international television series from the creators of Baywatch starring Dolph Lundgren. He has produced numerous commercials for blue-chip companies like Coca-Cola, Toyota and Disney. By late 2020, Irfaan worked independently as series producer of the Showmax original Tali’s Baby Diary. In the same year, he founded Wallflower Production to develop original content from Africa for a global audience

Karin Preller is a Johannesburg artist. After a short career in Law, she completed a Master of Arts degree (Cum Laude) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg after which she lectured in Art History at Unisa and other tertiary institutions. Currently, she is a full-time artist and busy with her doctorate degree at the University of Johannesburg. Her work has been displayed at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Sasol, Absa, Unisa, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, the Pretoria Art Museum, the office of the Public Protector, ATKV and Standard Bank.

Kaye Ann Williams joined Penguin Films in 2008 – first as a freelance writer and later as the Head of Development. She has co-produced many television series, including Shreds and Dreams II, Zibondiwe, Stokvel and You Deserve It. She co-scripted and produced Ingoma, the SAFTA-winning made-for-TV movie for Mzansi Magic. Kaye also co-scripted the award-winning feature Krotoa.

Kaye started at kykNET channels in 2015, where she worked as a commissioning editor, successfully launching the SAFTA-nominated soap Suidooster. She is now Senior Manager for Commissioned Content at M-Net Channels. This includes movies, locally scripted and reality content. In 2019, she launched Trackers with the M-Net team – a major co-production with HBO Cinemax and ZDFE.

Laetitia Pople is the art and entertainment editor at Network24. For the last 30 years, she is an art journalist for the Afrikaans dailies. She has served on various judging panels such as Fiëstas-, Kanna-, Silverskermfees- and the ATKV awards.

Layla Swart, co-founder of Yellowbone Entertainment, is one of South Africa’s most accomplished producers and editors. Layla was selected as the sole representative of the Film and Creative Industries Sector at the 2018 President’s South Africa Investment Conference and was awarded the SAFTA Youth Achiever Prize for 2019. She won the 2020 SAFTA for Best Editor of a Feature Film, and her films Sew the Winter to My Skin and Knuckle City were South Africa’s entries for the Academy Awards in 2019 and 2020. In 2020, she produced the television series Blood Psalms which airs on Showmax and Canal Plus in February 2022. 

Leon van Nierop has been working for 46 years in the entertainment industry. He started as a radio broadcaster at the SABC in 1975 and wrote movie reviews for radio, magazines, newspapers and television. For 25 years, he has lectured at various universities in film production and screenwriting. Between 2004 and 2008, he was the head of TUT Film School as Special professor in Film, and wrote two movie scripts, Wolwedans in die skemer and Ballade vir ’n enkeling. He hosted several television quiz shows, produced a television series on the history of the South African movie, Daar doer in die fliek, and published it as a book too. He has written 36 romance novels, various radio dramas as well as television dramas and series and has recently completed a one-man theatre piece.

Lieza Louw is an academic, film producer and researcher at the Arts Research Africa, Wits University, and a part-time lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology. Her research is on memory, nostalgy, landscape studies, the archive and documentary movies. Recent movies include Like Shooting Sardines in a Barrel (2018) and St Cuthbert’s: This Is What I Like About My Place (2020). 

Mandisa Zitha is Festival Director of the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival. She is an ambassador for the South African film industry and is committed to the development of emerging talent in the documentary industry. Zitha received the 2020 Mbokodo Award for Women in Media. She was instrumental in building Encounters’ partnerships with Sichuan TV Festival in China (which took seven local films and two filmmakers to a festival in China), the French Embassy for the first Africadoc South African writing residency (designed to develop African documentary cinema), and the 2012 partnership with Al Jazeera English, which saw 20 African documentaries pitch to the global broadcaster.

Marianne Thamm is a writer, editor and journalist. She was brought up in Pretoria where she learned to speak Afrikaans and to love Afrikaans. Currently, she is co-editor of the Daily Maverick.

Monica Rorvik heads the film and media promotion team at Wesgro, which is the Cape Town and Western Cape region’s Tourism Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. She previously worked as Durban International Film Festival assistant manager and headed their industry programmes. While there she developed her passion for growing the talent in Africa and was seminal in the formation of Talents Durban in partnership with the Berlinale Talent programme. She is a seasoned film programme curator and often serves on international juries, selection panels and market expert programmes for international festivals and markets. Rorvik is also a certified African Film Commissioner.

Nicola van Niekerk is a broadcast and television professional with more than 17 years’ experience in the industry. She has worked in production in a variety of genres, from drama, soap, variety shows and documentary, and produced content for various broadcasters around the globe.

Nicola joined kykNET in 2012 as Commissioning Editor and was later promoted to kykNET Head of Production. She has been in her current role of Senior Manager for scripted content and current affairs since 2018. Most recently, she launched Devilsdorp, Showmax’s first true crime documentary series which obtained strong viewership and sales. She is passionate about content, and especially content in Afrikaans. Her current slate includes exciting international co-productions and documentaries with international partners.

Nomsa Philiso has extensive broadcast and media experience, spanning over 26 years – a quarter of that decade having been spent with the South African Public broadcaster. She has worked across media sales, channel and content management as well as technology project implementation, and has an in-depth understanding of audience needs across the spectrum. She joined MultiChoice in January 2020 as Channel Director for Local Entertainment and was appointed Executive Head: Programming in October 2021.

Salome Cromhout from Nu Metro Cinemas developed a holistic understanding and deep domain knowledge of the film industry in her 26 years of experience with film distribution, sales and cinema management. She held various positions where she was involved, among other things, with the development and management of content strategies and campaigns, as well as the analysis of market trends with the aim of effectively targeting audiences. Salome is currently Nu Metro’s content manager. She is responsible for the implementation of strategy and the accompanying scheduling plans. This includes content from Hollywood, Europe, South Africa and Africa, Bollywood and Asia. Her portfolio also includes alternative content – like sporting events, music concerts or performances of comedians in cinemas.

After spending 12 years in various operational roles within Ster-Kinekor, Tanya Rossouw moved into their Content & Programming Team as a scheduler where she spent the last six years. Her key focus areas include circuit line-up planning, scheduling, and administration.

Thandeka Zwana joined Indigenous Film Distribution in 2018 as Development Executive with the aim of enhancing the catalogue of the company that is known for being a leader in the distribution of locally produced feature films. She joined the film Industry in 2004, working in production at DV8 Films, followed by many years as a freelance line producer for various award-winning television series and  feature films, including the documentary Robert Sobukwe: A Great Soul. After completing the SEDIBA course in script editing, she was approached by the National Film and Video Foundation in 2011 to be part of a team responsible for developing and promoting South African films, both locally and internationally.

Thandi Davids has spent over 25 years working across the media industry. She began her career in PR and moved on to produce for live TV broadcast, worked in the print media industry and with the United Nations to deliver major events. She is an award-winning marketer and ran her own marketing agency that included various multinational clients. She served as Africa Regional Director for Fox International Channels and is a founding partner and Executive Producer at StoryScope. Thandi serves as co-chair of the Independent Producers Organisation, and on the boards of the Durban Film Mart and the Lionel Ngakane Foundation.

Thierry Cassuto is the founder and CEO of the production company Both Worlds. His international career in television and film spans over 30 years as studio executive, channel director, writer-creator and producer. He created the arts and entertainment channel Paris Première, was a founding executive at M6, before joining Hollywood animation studio Hanna-Barbera as president for French-speaking countries. As a producer in France and for over 20 years in South Africa, Thierry has produced hundreds of hours of scripted, non-scripted, and animated TV shows, including the twice international Emmy-nominated and multiple SAFTA-winner ZANEWS: Puppet Nation. Other shows include Point of Order for StarTimes, Parlement Parlement for kykNET, and Comedy Central News for ViacomCBS.

Todd Brown is an experienced film festival programmer and founder of international and independent film focused website ScreenAnarchy.com (originally TwitchFilm.com). He joined XYZ Films in 2009 as Head of International Acquisitions. In his time at XYZ, Brown has shown a strong focus on emerging talent and territories and has served as a producer or executive producer on a wide range of Cannes, Toronto and Sundance-selected titles such as The Raid, Spring, Bushwick, XX and many more. Outside of his work at XYZ, Brown is also the head of the Macao Project Market – an international co-production market focused on projects that bridge Asian and Western elements that operates as part of the International Film Festival And Awards Macao.

Vlokkie Gordon, CEO of Advantage Entertainment, has a career spanning over 35 years in the entertainment industry, with more than 58 motion pictures, TV movies and television series credits to her name. She is one of South Africa’s most accomplished line producers and a highly sought-after supervising producer/co-producer of international and South African productions, and has built up a strong team of South Africa’s most skilled management, technical crew and production personnel.

Wikus du Toit is a commissioning editor at M-Net for film, drama, comedy, and international co-productions. He holds an MA in Drama, a post-grad diploma in Tertiary Education, and a second MA in Adult Education with specific focus on the development of critical thought and creativity in film, TV and theatre. He is the executive producer of more than 15 Afrikaans films, including Toorbos, Barakat, Gaia, Fiela se Kind and Griekwastad.

Wouter Jansen is a Berlinale Talents alumnus who worked as the head of programming at the Go Short International Film Festival during the first 10 editions. He is the owner of Square Eyes, a company specialising in having outstanding non-mainstream films find the audience and recognition they deserve. With Square Eyes, Wouter represents bold, author-driven features and shorts, and collaborates closely with the filmmakers to devise festival distribution and sales strategies. This has resulted in a small catalogue of films premiering at prestigious festivals and winning multiple awards over the last few years, like main prizes at Cannes, TIFF, Berlin, Locarno and Clermont-Ferrand.