It is im­por­tant to not let your cir­cum­stances de­fine you,” SJ says. “You are not a prod­uct of your cir­cum­stances; you are a prod­uct of your at­ti­tude.

In Flight Magazine - - DIRECTING THE FUTURE OF FILM -

SJ’s mother passed away when he was young and his aunt and un­cle took him in. Hav­ing had very lit­tle con­tact with his fam­ily pre­vi­ously, the ex­pe­ri­ence honed his de­sire to suc­ceed and build re­la­tional bridges across com­mu­ni­ties.

This de­ter­mi­na­tion en­abled SJ to pur­sue his dream of study­ing di­rect­ing and writ­ing at AFDA in Jo­han­nes­burg. Although he stepped into the cre­ative in­dus­try where imag­i­na­tion is one’s only limit, his film style re­flects his roots and is in­spired by real sto­ries and real char­ac­ters. He be­lieves, af­ter all, that re­al­ity is stronger than fic­tion.

His “big break” came when he was ap­pointed as film di­rec­tor in 2015 at 7Films, un­der the helm of dis­tin­guished owner and di­rec­tor Lourens van Rens­burg. Lourens took him un­der his wing and of­fered him valu­able men­tor­ship along the way.This guid­ance, to­gether with much ded­i­ca­tion, led SJ to the point of be­ing named a part­ner at 7Films in 2016.

“It is im­por­tant to not let your cir­cum­stances de­fine you,” SJ says. “You are not a prod­uct of your cir­cum­stances; you are a prod­uct of your at­ti­tude.”

His pas­sion for film stems from a de­sire to make a dif­fer­ence in his com­mu­nity and to bring the com­mu­nity’s ideas and sto­ries to the fore­front of so­ci­ety.This is also why SJ is part of a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion called Black­board.The NPO in­tends to push CapeTown’s cre­ative in­dus­try to be­come more racially di­verse, in or­der to make it more im­pact­ful and rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

SJ be­lieves that most town­ship stu­dents don’t con­sider cre­ative ca­reers as an op­tion be­cause they do not know that it ex­ists. “Our am­bi­tion is to change that. We want to give more peo­ple in townships an op­por­tu­nity to be ex­posed to the world of film. Win­ning a Cannes Lion is some­thing that I could only have dreamt of. It still feels very sur­real. If I think back, it was the op­por­tu­nity to learn from Lourens that really helped me to sharpen my skill.”

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