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we are hereTHE NUMBER FullTHE NUMBER at TIFF90 Plein Street 2016 SABC 2


South Africa’s National Film & Video Foundation has launched a thrilling initiative to empower new women filmmakers – and Born Free Media is a key co-producer.

Backed by BFM’s production expertise, five young female director-writer teams are making five half-hour fiction films.  The binding theme is “Democracy” – as South Africa prepares to celebrate the 20 years of freedom since its first democratic elections of 1994.

Following a special premiere of the top three films on 27 April 2014, all the films will be packaged and screened for television audiences during the year of celebration.

“Female applicants have been asked to submit concepts or scripts pertaining to the 20 years of democracy that have passed,” notes an NFVF review. “The stories could be a reflection on the last 20 years, hopes for the next 20 years, changes that have been observed from a female point of view, changes in gender policies in the last 20 years or any interesting or exciting concepts that address this theme.”

The women filmmakers and their respective stories are|


GenevieveAkal began her lifelong dance with storytelling when she studied theatre performance in her hometown of Durban. This was the genesis of her fascination with the crafty art of story making which led her to study writing and directing for film in New York. She has completed a Masters on Postmodern Identity and the Hipster subculture, as well as a Script Editing Masters through the NFVF Sediba Masters programme. She spent some time in the digital world where she managed and produced content for 2oceansvibe's online TV channel. She has written and directed a number of online commercials, web shows, music videos and short films. The most recent is a music video for US Indie band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. In 2012 MTV Voices profiled her as an up-and-coming writing and directorial voice in South Africa.


written and directed by Genevieve Akal

Lola once had an original writing voice, but now she’s a fashion blogger consumed with the pretense of a fashionably quirky and desirable lifestyle. She awakens on the day she will host a chic dinner party to secure a vapid ‘Chick Lit’ book deal. Before leaving for work, her corporate hipster husband, James, encourages her to take her anti-depressants and pack away her book studies of Sylvia Plath and Maya Angelou. Lola obliges and begins the dinner preparations. She sees a Bougainvillea shoot jutting in through the dining room window. She ignores it and focuses her attention on taking quirky ‘selfies’ of the dinner preparations which she tweets through the day to her followers. However the Bougainvillea continues to grow, intruding and harassing her throughout the day. Lola fights, cutting it down to a stump, but during the super chic dinner party it comes back – threatening her carefully constructed life of pretense and the book deal.



Lara Cunha, with a Cum Laude B-Tech degree in directing, Lara is a freelance writer and director. Whilst studying, Lara interned on the first Big Brother SA, and went on to work in many different production disciplines on reality shows such as Strictly Come Dancing. She has created and formatted her own children’s TV shows, directed a cinema advert and currently directs for All Access Mzansi.

Independently, Lara continues to make short films and documentaries.  Her short film ‘Child’ won the 48 hour film project in Johannesburg 2011, with Lara awarded as Best Writer and nominated for Best Director. ‘Child’ then placed in the Top 14 films internationally and was screened at the 65th Cannes Film Festival. In 2012, her short documentary ‘Palesa’s Fruit’ was selected for the semi-finals from thousands of international entries in Focus Forward. Lara is incredibly passionate about South Africa’s growing film industry and seeks to be at the forefront of transformative cinema.


Phuthi Nakene obtained a Cum Laude B-Tech degree from TUT. Whilst studying she interned for M-Net on Big Brother SA. On graduating, she joined the SABC on-air department as a promo producer, gaining valuable insights into programming and production. In 2005, Phuthi joined motion graphics company, Eject Media, as a producer handling mainly SABC accounts. Since 2007, Phuthi has produced Ses’khona for Tswelopele Productions, and also directs inserts for Top Billing. In 2011, Phuthi starred in the short film ‘Child’ which won the SA leg of the 48 Hour International Short Film Competition and was screened in Cannes. Although Phuthi has extensive producing experience, she decided to pursue her passion for acting and in 2012 completed the New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film course. Since graduating, Phuthi has worked on two feature films in New York as second assistant director. Her goal is to balance telling powerful stories from both behind and in front of the camera.


written by Lara Cunha and Phuthi Nakene, directed by Lara Cunha

In a quiet post office in an even quieter town, Reabetswe “Betty” Leopeng folds paper in an elaborate way as the clock ticks away the minutes of her life, which seems stuck in limbo like a parcel without an address. One day a tall, dark stranger enters the post-office. Although Betty doesn’t have the courage to serve the charismatic Hloni, later she finds herself irresistibly drawn to his parcel. She breaks all protocol and opens it. Betty is knocked unconscious by a mysterious light that beams from the apparatus inside. When Betty regains consciousness, she is different – loud, outgoing, eccentric and lecturing everyone about the changes they need to make to their lives. Has Betty been body-swapped by aliens or is her brain being warped by a tumor? Or could it be that years of self-imposed repression are suddenly rebounding in outrageous ways? 


Lwazi Mvusi was awarded the Dux prize for academic excellence at school, Lwazi went on to complete a BA in Motion Picture at AFDA (who nominated her for the Mandela Rhodes scholarship), an Honours degree in Creative Writing at Wits, as well as a Masters in Film and TV at Wits. Her short story, Tat’omkhulu was published in Botsotso 16. As a co-writer on Mzansi Magic’s It’s For Life, Lwazi wrote seven of the primetime sitcom’s thirteen-episodes. Lwazi interned at Coal Stove Productions in 2012 and became part of their writing team for Tooth and Nails: Remix, a five part miniseries for Mzansi Magic. She has also conceived and written 3 made-for-TV films for Mzanzi Magic’s Lokshin Bioscope, Uthando Olungapheli, The Khumalos and WaBuya uMaDlamini. Lwazi is mindful of producing work that communicates a larger message and that provides a true character arc that enables the characters to become extraordinary in their own little way whilst still entertaining an audience.


written and directed by Lwazi Mvusi

As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, THE STATE looks 20 years ahead to a dystopian future. A system of apartheid exists between those who are blindly obedient to the State andthose who are not. Supporters reside in the gated suburbs where there is service delivery and work opportunities for all. Detractors are relegated to deprivation in the townships and can only enter the gated communities with a rarely-issued Pass. The government has the right to detain and ‘convert’ detractors without trial. This is the world that 24-year old Nomzamo learned to survive in after her activist parents’ death. Forced to fend for herself from an early age, she resents the choice her parents made and cares only for her own survival. Until a foray into the gated suburbs leads to her arrest and ‘conversion’ by The State. Will she comply and betray the activists or is defiance born in the darkest hours?



Lindiwe Mkhonza is a qualified Freelance Journalist who graduated through the International Correspondence School in Glasgow, Scotland. Lindiwe currently works as a creative scriptwriter in the entertainment industry, and is highly sought after as a corporate writer, having worked with 3SMedia, Terrapinn Media and International Institute of research (IIR) and Meridian Business Association (United Kingdom).

Also a business woman and an aspiring African economist writer; Lindiwe is diverse in her writing. However she always has the primary objective of incorporating and telling African, and particularly African women’s stories, stories of hope, bravery, beauty, strength and prosperity – and even that there can be a dark side - with the sole mandate to showcase another side of Africa and its femininity.


Nolitha Tshinavha has worked as a director, producer, production manager and co-ordinater on music, factual, documentary, music video and reality genres for KykNet, MK,  Mzansi Magic,  SABC and local hip-hop artists. She has certifications in Radio Production and TV & Film, a Marketing Management Diploma and is currently studying a BA Communications Science degree.

Nolitha’s career began in Port Elizabeth where she directed and produced the documentaries Vuk’Uzunzele -Still We Rise and Amabele Am. In 2008 Nolitha moved to Johannesburg. She worked at the NFVF as a training coordinator, then spent 3 years at M-net’s Magic Factory where she worked on numerous shows. In 2011 Nolitha moved to Dzuguda Productions and worked as Production Manager. In a leap of faith, May 2012 saw Nolitha creating Soultraxx Thinkmedia with a partner. She has produced and directed a music video for Genghiz Khan – Nam Ndibekhona, as well as Datz Watz Up – a series that features upcoming talent.


written by Lindiwe Mkhonza and Nolitha Tshinavha, and directed by Beathur Baker

Diana is manicurist to the elite. She is a perfectionist with nails, has a firm and soothing touch with massage and she’s a warm and caring listener – it seems she was born to make beautiful women even more beautiful. But Diana has a secret. A singer with a God-given talent, she was poisoned by a traumatic childhood experience. She believes she was denied the opportunity to share her voice and vocation with the world but she’s buried her resentment deep. Then famous singer, Sonia Mkize, becomes a client. Plucked from the gospel choirs of the township to become a chart-topping national favorite, Sonia awakens in Diana the dark memories of trauma and an insatiable jealousy. A dangerous, murderous jealousy. And now Sonia’s life is in the manicurist’s hands.


Anneke graduated with Honours in Drama from the University of Stellenbosch in 2002 and began a career as an actress, dancer, director and choreographer. She returned to tertiary study in 2007, completing courses in playwriting, screen writing and directing at masters level at Wits. After a couple of years as a promo writer, director and producer at Studio Zoo, Anneke relocated to Cape Town and  took up a position as radio DJ and Producer at Radio Houtstok.

In March 2010 she joined the team at Light and Dark Films as associate producer. In 2012 Anneke formed part of the writing team for RUGBY MOTORS, and wrote and directed the short film, LISTEN! for the 48 Hour Film Project. The film won awards for best original score, best sound design, best use of character and was awarded second place overall. In 2012 Anneke completed the NFVF's International Financing Emerging Producers Programme, and is currently training as a script editor on the NFVF's Sediba Masters.


written and directed by Anneke Villet

In the twilight of his life, 60-something Harry just wants to be left alone to lead his quiet existence. A dignified doorman at a five-star hotel by day, Harry spends his nights lovingly maintaining his collection of miniature trains. But the world is changing and it seems a free South Africa has no use for an older white man. He’s informed he’s too old for his job and must train his replacement before he leaves. Horror of horrors. The new doorman is a woman! She’s the boisterous, hyper social Vuyo who batters him with questions and nosy concern. Worse, Vuyo wins the attention of the beautiful, aging actress Marlene, whom Harry has quietly worshipped through the years she’s visited and stayed at the hotel. When Marlene takes Vuyo on a shopping trip, Harry finds an opportunity for revenge.







production info

In Production: 2013-2014
Produced by: NFVF with Born Free Media