Council 2016-2017

THE WGSA COUNCIL:  2016 – 2017

All WGSA services are rendered by the below volunteer council members and the part-time executive officer.

Sihle Hlophe

Chairperson

Award-winning writer and director Sihle Hlophe has been in the local TV and film industry for 8 years.  She holds a MA in Communication Studies, a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing and a BA in the Dramatic Arts. Hlophe is the founder of Passion Seed Communications, a film and TV production company that has been commissioned by organisations such the SABC, the Mindset Channel on DSTV, SABMiller and the Foundation For Human Rights. Hlophe is the writer and director of Nomfundo, a 12-minute film that is currently in post-production. Hlophe wrote and directed “As I Am”, one of the first SiSwati films of cinematic quality. The award-winning short film has been screened as far afield as the USA, Switzerland and Tanzania. Her most recent film “The Aftermath” has been screened at the Mzansi Women’s Film Festival (RSA) and the “African Women Narratives on Xenophobia” initiative.

Hlophe has worked as a scriptwriter on popular TV shows such as Scandal on eTV, Dreamworld on SABC 1, Mutual Friends on SABC 1 and Vuka Mawulele on Mzansi Magic. Hlophe has also worked as a scriptwriter, content director, production manager and postproduction supervisor for various production companies. Hlophe has also worked as a Writing and Directing Lecturer at AFDA. Her work has been screened on SABC, DSTV, eTV and YLE in Finland. Hlophe’s major achievements include being one of the winners of the NFVF Short Film Scriptwriting Competition in 2012 and being an exchange student in Finland during her final year at the University of the Witwatersrand. With her unique skillset and natural talent for storytelling, Hlophe looks set to leave an indelible mark on the South African TV and film industry.

Anirood Singh

Co-Vice Chair:  Legal Services

Anirood is a former civil engineer with a BA, BProc, LLB, Postgraduate Diploma in Medicine and Law, LLM, LLD and an MA in Creative Writing cum laude. In ‘active retirement’, he currently practices as an Advocate of the High Court as well as non-executive director of companies and advisor to the public sector. Anirood is a published writer, engaged in writing fiction and non-fiction, plays, screenplays, as well as legal and other documents. He is a member of PEN, the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANFASA), the SA Writers Circle, and the Writers’ Guild of SA.  Further details from www.oroccipictures.com

Mamokuena Makhema

Co-Vice Chair:  Communication, Relations, Marketing and Branding

I hold a double degree in Theatre Studies and History from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and a MA in Film from Wits School of Arts (WSOA).

I previously worked at Film Resource Unit (FRU) as a projects manager in Audience Development. I later proceeded to freelancing in the Film and Television industry as a writer and content producer for a short while before I joined Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) as head of Research and Education.

Upon leaving FEPACI I rejoined the industry as content producer, director and scriptwriter. During this period I also briefly worked for SABC as a Content Producer. In July, 2010 I was appointed by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Film Programme as a lecturer in Screenwriting and Film Theory and Criticism. I resigned from TUT end of 2015.

During my time at TUT I completed the NFVF Spark and Masters programmes under SEDIBA and in 2015 I became one of the Spark writing mentors in KZN.

I am currently working as a freelancer writing and directing for Television

Matthew Kalil

Co-Vice Chair:  Professional Development and Membership

With an MA in Screenwriting from The Northern Film School (Leeds), and a degree in Environmental and Geographic Science, Matthew Kalil has spent the last few years directing and writing independent short films, feature films, documentaries and television shows.

He has also been lecturing at various institutions including the University of Cape Town, AFDA Film School and TISH at New York University.

His projects and collaborations have been exhibited, screened and broadcast in Denmark, Canada, France, New Zealand, America, Thailand, Sweden, Morocco and South Africa. His work often explores themes relating to political and environmental issues, as well as aspects of popular culture and identity in contemporary society.

He has received various funding and awards from institutes such as The Commonwealth Scholarship, Yorkshire and Humberside Arts, The National Arts Council, The South African Screenwriting Institute and The National Film and Video Foundation.

He spearheaded the creation of the Amarabella Township Film Festival, screening and making films in Cape Town’s informal settlements

Ritesh Seecharan

Treasurer & Capacity Building

Ritesh started off as a self-taught screenwriter (thanks to Google) and  completed his first movie script in December 2014. He thought he was done, The End … fade to black. YAY, now he could retire on an Island taking long walks on the beach whilst listening to Kenny G… NOT. Record scratch moment when he contacted the WGSA, nope…. that was just the first draft. It was a hard pill to swallow but he quickly realised that through lots and lots of workshops and the extensive training and wisdom from fellow writers, he might just get his sunset and silhouette dream.

Godisamang Khunou

PDP Regional Manager: Johannesburg

I started in the entertainment industry while I was still a student at AFDA Film School, I interned at the SABC as a production Assistant and at DV8 Films as a Transcript writer. I took the opportunities to learn outside of school by attending workshops from the Young Producers Forum, Discop Africa, and the NFVF Sedibeng Emerging Producers Forum. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium in 2013. I worked as a freelancer in 2014, trainee producer on the feature film “Tell Me Sweet Something”, a journalist for thevent.tv and a Production manager for a short film funded by the NFVF titled ‘Into the Ring”. I was headhunted by Multichoice late 2014, I worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist for just over a year, during that time my Experimental film “Brief Encounters of A Sexual Kind” was screened at the Bojanala Film festival and I was selected for Talents Durban as one of the forty new voices of African cinema. I am still at Multichoice and I have just recently changed to a Video On Demand Operations Specialist for Dstv Catch Up and Box Office.

Stanley Bhebhe

PDP Regional Manager: Pretoria

I obtained a Bachelors of Commerce Degree specialising in Entrepreneurship from the University of Pretoria. I then completed an internship in copy editing at GQ Magazine South Africa, after which I entered the world of marketing by undertaking PR and branding positions at Pernod Ricard, the world’s joint leading spirits and wine company. After three years at the company I decided to leave corporate in order to pursue my dream of scriptwriting and film making, and so the journey continues.

Clea Mallinson

PDP Regional Manager:  Cape Town

Clea graduated with an Honours degree in film from UCT in 2004. She wrote and directed a TV documentary in Xhosa, “Pinky and the Computers” in 2009. In 2010 she graduated with an MA in screenwriting from the Huston School of Film & Digital Media in Ireland. That year she received a scholarship to attend a summer screenwriting course at UCLA. Creating animation, short fiction and quirky documentary, exploring themes of self-expression, connection and the environment is what Clea loves to do. She is currently co-editing a feature documentary, writing a literary adaptation feature film and developing a short animation set in the Eastern Cape with the assistance of the NFVF.

Yolanda Mogatusi

PDP Regional Manager:  Soweto

 I am a witty scriptwriter and up and coming young director. After graduating from a South African film school called AFDA in 2006, I leaped into the industry with the Afrikaans SABC 2 sitcom “Askies”, which I co-created with Teboho Pietersen. I wrote a number of scripts on the sitcom and was trained as a multi-cam director on the show by some award winning directors, while providing creative direction in my capacity as producer.

 While working on the sitcom, I was selected into business school to study a Post-graduate qualification in Management. This qualification I received from the internationally accredited Wits Business School. I have also successfully completed the NFVF Spark writer’s programme and was fortunate enough to attend Robert Mckee’s story Seminar when he was in South Africa in 2011. I recently attended the 5th Durban talent campus this July, and was one of 50 young African filmmakers from around the continent to be selected into the programme. In 2010 I co-created, wrote and directed a teen lifestyle programme for Sabc 3, which was very well received and ran for 2 seasons. Current projects include two feature film scripts that I’m developing.

 I’m a multi-layered individual, with an entrepreneurial spirit and I one day seek to be a power-player in making the South African film industry a very viable career option to a free generation that will maintain and create new international standards in our bourgeoning industry.

Benedikt Sebastian

Communications, relations, marketing

Benedikt Sebastian is a multidimensional artist: an actor, writer, musician and award-winning graphic designer. Combining his passion for Visual Communication and storytelling took him on a journey through motion graphics design into film making where he spent time behind and in front of the lens. As an actor he has appeared in many international and South African commercials, TV shows and films. He has studied and worked with some of South Africa’s finest talent. Thereafter he completed the LAMDA (London Academy of Dramatic Arts) theatre exam with distinction. Driven by a desire to hone his writing craft he went on to study Creative Writing at Emerson College in the UK. He was nominated for a Writer’s Guild of South Africa Muse award in 2015.

Mumtaaz Mahomed Peerbhay

Communications, relations, marketing

Mumtaaz is academically qualified with a BA (Film and English literature) from the Witwatersrand as well as having worked in the trenches of South African television for five years. At a young age she has directed an award winning documentary, series directed a youth technology show, created a popular prime time factual format for local television called, Our Perfect Wedding and currently maintains all the marketing material for an Afrikaans lifestyle channel on DSTV. In very little time she has applied herself to many different roles and quickly accumulated knowledge in this arena. She writes well, is adept with media formats, edits, creates stop frame animation and has a wide range of skills useful for the multi-tasking environment that the television industry demands.
Coming from a conservative community from which very few women creatives emerge Mumtaaz would like to enrich, promote and in some way or another educate young minds on the possibilities within the local industry. She has a keen interest in empowering young disadvantaged women to follow their passion for the creative realm.

Polani Fourie

Communications, relations, marketing

Former WGSA Vice Chair:  Communications, Relations Building & Marketing.
Identified by DIFF as one of the compelling new voices in African Filmmaking, she is a Screenwriter, Producer, Award-Winning Photographer and Actress.
She was the child-recipient of the ATKV Medal for Outstanding Cultural Leadership; awarded the prestigious ATKV study bursary in her later life – which helped pave the way for her to receive an Honors Degree in B. Com Business Communications. As top Photo Journalism student, she was selected as one of 15 to Major in Single-Camera Video Production. She furthered studies in Screenwriting at the Writing Studio, Acting at ACT Cape Town & Presenting at SABC.
Being a multi-faceted all-rounder, she has worked on set and behind the scenes at M-NET (Floor Manager for “Be on Go”), KYKNET (Production Manager for “Sediment”), Studio Zoo (Research Analyst / Story Researcher & Producer) & behind the scenes on “The Giver.” Acting accolades include a lead role for Skye Television UK & being booked for the season of “Black Sails”. When time allows, she freelances for the Award-Winning Production Company Imagenheart.
She’s a proud Alumni of the Berlinale Talents Durban – selected as one of 40 across Africa. Transformation Champion (mentoring member) for ATFT; one of three SA female writers nominated for Red Touch Media’s Writer’s Award & ABIA Award winner for Photography 2012 (African Bridal Industry Awards).
Her Screenwriting projects have been selected for NATPE Prague 2015 & Miami 2016, her Short film “The Riddle” approved for further development by DIFF – one of four Screenplays selected from across the continent. She is most passionate about her SA Unification film “Unite” – currently in pre-production with “Born to Win” producer Frans Cronje’.
During 2015 / 2016 she was a WGSA Council Member for Professional Development and then promoted to Vice-Chair: Portfolio Communications – which included Communications, Relations Building and Marketing – which she has done on all territories capable and more.

Accomplishments during the year include identifying new local & international opportunities for WGSA & fighting with all her might to open these doors. As a result, two international Screenwriter Agents are interested in working with us, via her. She is also liaising with Emmy Award Winners on a new film project to be rolled out in SA, with the support of E-TV & WGSA – that will have a well-known Hollywood mentor attached as Director – which will provide new opportunities and aid the development of our local writers.

She would like to continue building forward on the groundwork she has done during the previous cycle.
Her passion and strong point is also to help prepare & develop the confidence plus know-how of our members attending the international & local markets – she has always seen the industry as a whole – her inner motivation not just to make WGSA better, but to improve our SA film industry as a whole.