The MultiChoice Talent Factory, mentored by Bobby Heaney, is a "once in a lifetime experience," according to Bandile Mnguni.
Mnguni is a recent graduate of the programme. Born in Pietermaritzburg, he is the youngest in his family, with two older brothers. A true passion for directing, cinematography and editing led him to study Film and TV Production at Creative Arts College. From there, he was selected to be part of the MultiChoice Academy Class of 2020.
We spoke with him to find out more about his life, the work he does and his plans for the future…
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and the work you do.
I am a young filmmaker with a passion for directing, cinematography and editing. I share an equal passion for music - if I had the talent and skill for music, I probably would’ve pursued a career as a musician.
You were selected to be part of the MultiChoice Academy Class of 2020, could you tell us a bit more about the programme?
The programme is multifaceted and covers a broad spectrum of the industry. As part of the Academy, the 14 interns are placed to work and network on South Africa’s leading television productions such as Gomora, The River, The Queen
and Getroud Met Rugby
, just to name a few.
These placements give you great insight into what really goes into producing these widely watched shows. After placements on the various production sets, we are expected to make four films for Mzansi Magic which we produce and shoot completely on our own - but also with the guidance of Heaney and supervising producers. The programme is a great reality check for young and ambitious filmmakers on how tough and demanding the industry really is. It’s also rewarding, with consistent and relentless work.
Share with us some of the production sets you were part of and what you learned from this experience.
I was placed on three different production companies/sets. The first was the set of Eccentric Circus, for their film A Zulu Christmas
. The beautiful thing about being on the Eccentric Circus set was that they’re also a product of the MultiChoice Academy. The second company I was placed at was T and W, the content creation agency responsible for the documentary series Chasing the Sun
My final placement was at Getroud Met Rugby
at Overberg Produksies. Getroud Met Rugby
production set is a well-oiled machine and runs very smoothly and effectively. My biggest learning point from working on that was that preparation and a collaborative team will make production more seamless.
What do you enjoy most about filmmaking?
I have a great love and passion for creating! Through the gift of imagination, you can have an idea of a story and a clear picture of that story. To be able to hone an intangible idea in your mind and manifest it physically in the real world is something I think is precious and very spiritual. I enjoy that.
Tell us about projects you have been part of which were exciting and successful, and why they were exciting and successful.
Amongst the many projects we worked on during my time in the Academy, the two that were stand out and exciting to work on were the Public Service Announcements (PSA) for the United Nation. The PSA’s were aimed at getting people to stop the spread of fake news. It was exciting and an honour to produce work for such a renowned organisation.
What I believe made those PSA’s a success was their unique and youthful approach to stopping the spread of fake news. The PSA’s being aired on television was also a success in my books.
What does the future look like for you?
I imagine that it is filled with great opportunities to work on amazing productions and to learn from industry leaders. Further into the future, I see myself applying that knowledge to create my own work that is brave and different, work that is unique to my story but relatable, work in the form of commercials and films.
What advice would you give to people who are looking to enter the film industry?
You have to have the passion for it, without the passion you can only make it so far.
I am far from being and achieving all that I set out to in the industry, but all the doors that have opened for me opened through doing the work consistently and passionately. There’s no substitute for hard work and sacrifice. Do your research, know the people in the industry. Have a teachable spirit, be a sponge to those who have gone before you and soak up as much knowledge from them as you can.
Finally, I would say attitude. Always maintain a great attitude, when things get tough, keep your head up and keep it moving.