How I fell in love with Movies and became a filmmaker!

I was born in apartheid era South Africa in 1965 and spent my formative years living in the bush in the middle of nowhere (Broederstroom) a tiny town near the Magaliesberg Mountains. My grandfather named his property: “Bundu” a word meaning the wilds; a distant or wilderness region.

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My childhood was strange in that I grew up consuming a collision of cultures. My first books as a child were Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa’s “Indaba my Children” & “Africa is my Witness”. Disney came much later! Then I devoured a mashup of “Jock of the Bushveld”, the writings of Herman Charles Bosman and then Charles Dickens. I developed a deep appreciation of African and Western European Culture.

In my early years I experienced a number of traumatic events and saw things that deeply disturbed me about South Africa. I couldn’t quite make sense of why black people were seen as inferior and were thought of by some as little better than animals. This inequity plagued me and caused me to question many things. Why was our country like this? Why did some religions support this? Why? Why? Why? I was a troubled and serious child. My burning questions just grew stronger... why did people treat each other this way? Why was human life so expendable? Why was there so much hatred?

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When I was 9 I had a life changing experience. My parents took me to see an ‘African' Musical in Johannesburg, a 90 minute drive from the bush. It was called "Ipi Tombi". I loved it! I asked my mother if she would get me a cassette of the music so I could keep listening to it. She obliged. I went back to Bundu and for the next few weeks, I wore that tape out... playing it again and again.


"Ipi Tombi" was a Western re-interpretation of Tribal drumming and singing, but still, it rocked my soul. I found a bunch of old metal cake tins in the kitchen and turned them into make-shift drums. I stared out into the beautiful bush, played the cassette and banged on my ‘drums’ non-stop.

At a certain moment I remember being filled with a staggering feeling. A surge of energy moved up my body and poured out of my eyes as tears. I’d never experienced anything like it! The music pounded in my ears and my heart exploded with tingling joy! I came to know this feeling as joy and love. As the tears poured down my face, it occurred to me that if everyone in my country could feel this feeling, they would never hurt another person, say an unkind word or want to kill someone. Perhaps this was the solution for my country? For all the hate, all the discord, the racism and dehumanization.

I dreamed up the naive plan to build really big speakers, to allow other people to hear this music. I realized I lived in a valley and the sound would have to go over the hills. Also, I realized it was an 8 hour drive to the ocean, so these speakers would have to be MASSIVE. Skyscraper MASSIVE. If only the whole country could hear the music and feel the feeling I had, everything would be better. This thought consumed me for many years.

Needless to say, I never did figure out how to build REALLY BIG speakers. BUT, something wonderful happened when I was 13. I was in Lisbon, Portugal with my parents and I had the great fortune to see that ‘little space opera’… STAR WARS!

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I watched this incredible film with my mouth hanging open. When it was done I walked out deeply involved with my own private thoughts. My parents were trying to figure out what I was feeling. I was stunned. Not just about the film AND the story AND the FORCE… but because I had found my speakers! I had found a method to reach the whole world. MOVIES!

From the age of 13 onwards, I became obsessed with being a film-maker. I fell in love with making movies!

And that’s how it all started!

Written by a dear friend Warren Nebe - on the passing of Madiba

By Warren Nebe

President Barak Obama's statement on the pasing of Madiba: "At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages.

Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa -- and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings -- and countries -- can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. A free South Africa at peace with itself -- that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived -- a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace."

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

In 1991, I had the privilege of shooting a movie of the stage play ‘Sarafina’. During one of our shoot days we had the unique honor of being visited by Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on set. It was bizarre, we were meeting the man we were making a film about. As I shook his hand and looked into his eyes I was overwhelmed with an intense surge of emotion and awe. This moment ranked as one of the greatest highlights of my life.

It is with deep sadness that I heard the official news last night that Madiba is no longer with us. Where to begin? When someone has had such a profound impact on so many?

When I was in high school and college in apartheid era South Africa I would hear his name spoken with deep reverence. We all heard stories of his 4 hour speech during his trial when he said:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

These are the words of a great man. Indeed he did make a sacrifice. He was sentenced to life imprisonment (of which he served 27 years).

I got a call last night from a dear South African friend reminding me of the day he was released from prison. We reminisced about how we ran up and down the streets of Johannesburg screaming with jubilation like crazy people. We were crazy. Young, passionate, fierce and euphoric. This great man was finally free! Seeing him become President was like a dream come true. It was the South Africa we all yearned for. Today, coupled with these fond memories - I feel a deep pain. A light has gone out in the world.

My sadness, as well as perhaps 50 million other South Africans, knows no bounds. His goodness and unyielding principles cause an aching inside of me. The beauty of who he was, leaves me crying my heart out. His life meant something. He showed us a way. A way to be a truly great human. If I could be 1% of the man he was, I would be proud.

Mark Vicente
December 6th, 2013

The Gift - from Big Lazy Robot

I found this phenomenal short on Vimeo. I found it on the Biglazyrobot Vimeo Channel. Below is their intro of the video.

"Directed by Carl E. Rinsch, ‘The Gift’ Belongs to the "pararell Lines" Phillips Cinema campaning. Placed in Russia, The Gift is a Sci-Fi short with a savage Chase sequence on it. We made more than 20 full CGI shots for the short. Check out the animated pictures to see how it has been done. We also made the vechicles and some characters desings. We enjoyed creating such an unusual atmosphere and sense. Not the regular Sci-fi film we are used to see..."