There’s a lack of organised funding initiatives for young disadvantaged storytellers and aspirant filmmakers in South Africa.  But, says Siza Masombuka, a young filmmakers who studied at AFDA, there is internal support from established production companies and agencies to fresh, hard-working talent.

Siza Masombuka
“It’s all about how you market yourself,” says Masombuka, who believes you need to recognise yourself as a brand.

“I think most successes in the industry are very much orientated around who you know and also recognising yourself as a brand. Opportunities show themselves in the strangest ways and you need to open yourself up to taking advantage of them.”

She added that, on the other hand, the industry is also skills orientated, as with anything else. “It’s moving more and more into the technological age and you need to inform yourself on all facets of the technological paradigm.”

Masombuka started a production company, Enflesh Films, with some partners while still studying.  “It’s named after the simple notion of touching the flesh of your creative input and investment,” she explains.

She says they’ve found funding, whether from the public or private sector, far more complex than they originally thought.  “But we have found that with the business model of self- funding our non creative work into our creative work, we have managed to avoid many problems with corporate dictatorship and conflict over creative property.”

Masombuka is also currently interning at Saatchi & Saatchi and believes advertising is her next resting place.

She sees herself as “an indigenous mind with knowledge of the African market. This is where I wish to base myself, in all streams of media, and hopefully successfully integrate all mediums to effectively communicate to audiences globally.

“One thing I’ve learnt at varsity and working is that one can never teach nor learn creativity, but rather the conventions of what has come before and the business of creativity. Something new happens everyday and art is simply reliving that experience and duplicating reality somehow. There are therefore endless possibilities – it’s an amazing industry.”

Her understanding of the film realm has convinced her that the modern conventions and traditional means of film production are derived from a very Americanised blueprint. But she believes that once South African indigenous stories are out there, a very distinctive voice can resonate and filmmakers can find a very comfortable place in both South Africa and in Africa’s economy.