Alexia Smit | She/Her | Senior Lecturer | Focus Genre

Alexia Smit is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Television studies from the University of Glasgow. Alexia teaches screen studies and screenwriting to undergraduate and postgraduate students at UCTs centre for film and media studies. She has supervised numerous postgraduate screenplays and has worked as a freelance script editor for the NFVF. Her academic research focusses on popular entertainment television, with a particular interest in South African reality television, gender, class, postfeminism and transnational African TV.
︎ Centre for Film and Media Studies

Amy Jephta | She/Her | Playwright | Focus Dialogue & Scripting

Amy Jephta hails from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town and works variously as a filmmaker, playwright, screenwriter, director and academic.

As a playwright, her work has been published in South Africa, performed at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, the Riksteatern in Stockholm, and at the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503 and the Jermyn Street Theatres in London. In 2015 and 2017, her writing was directed by Danny Boyle and performed by James McAvoy as part of The Children's Monologues at the Royal Court (London) and at Carnegie Hall (New York). As a screenwriter, Amy has four feature film credits to her name including the LGBT drama While You Weren’t Looking (2015: Out in Africa) and the biopic Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story (2018: Moving Billboard Pictures). Ellen was South Africa’s official submission to the 2018 Golden Globes for best Foreign Language Film. Amy’s short film, Soldaat (2017), won the Best Script and Best Short Film categories at the KykNet Silwerskermfees. She has staffed on several shows including Trackers (M-Net Channels/CINEMAX) and is the head writer on CATCH ME A KILLER, a 10-part crime drama series in development for eOne/M-Net based on South African forensic psychologist Mikki Pistorius' biography. Other projects in development include crime-action thriller DEVIL'S PEAK (Lookout Point Pictures, UK) alongside showrunner Matthew Orton (Netflix's Operation Finale) and period crime drama DETECTIVE COOPER for Goalpost Pictures (The Invisible Man). Amy's original crime thriller series, SKEMERDANS, was commissioned by Showmax under her company banner, Nagvlug Films and was released in 2021. In 2019, Amy developed an hour-long original drama pilot as part of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Impact program.

Amy has previously been named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Top Young South Africans, is the 2017 recipient of the national Eugene Marais Prize for Drama, the 2019 recipient of one of South Africa’s highest art accolades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre and the 2020 recipient of the Baumi Prize (presented at the Berlinale by Pandora Film and the Film-und Medienstiftung NRW, Germany). She now focuses on producing for film and television via her production company, Nagvlug Films. Her feature debut, Barakat, was released theatrically in 2021 after a string of festival appearances.

︎ amyjephta.com

Babalwa Baartman | She/Her |  Social Entrepreneur & Creative Producer | Focus Creative Producing

Babalwa Baartman is a social entrepreneur and aspiring creative producer who uses storytelling as a medium of healing to affect social change within the African community at large. Through her Production company, Sanusi,  she has co-written a short film “Sizohlala”, a story that highlights the occupation movements in South Africa and recently co-produced and co-wrote a feature “Mlungu Wam”, a psychological horror which addresses the issue of inequality in South Africa through the story and experience of a domestic worker and her daughter. In animation she currently has a 2D project in development, and runs a 2d Animation Programme with False Bay College and SAE graduates which is geared towards giving them the needed experience and skills advancement  to assist in their job market readiness

Christiaan Olwagen | He/Him | Theatre Director | Focus Character & Character Arc

Christiaan Olwagen is from Cape Town, South Africa. A recipient of two of South Africa’s highest accolades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award and the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize, Christiaan is a multi-award winning theatre director.

A Berlinale Talents alumni 2018. An ‘actors director’ Christiaan has worked with veteran South African heavyweights like Sandra Prinsloo, Marius Weyers and John Kani. His first feature ‘Johnny is nie Dood nie’ was described by critics as a landmark in Afrikaans cinema. Winner of 8 KykNet Silwerskerm festival awards including Best Picture and nominated for 4 SAFTAs. His second feature film “Kanarie” a coming of age LGBTQI story set against the backdrop of Apartheid has been selected to over 40 film festivals, including Inside Out in Toronto & Outfest in LA. “Kanarie'' was featured on Indiewire’s best LGBT films of 2018 and was nominated for a GLAAD media award for Best Film Limited Release 2019. His third feature film ‘The Seagull’ had its world premiere at the Moscow International film festival. His fourth feature film, Poppie Nongena, won 2 SAFTAs and is currently doing the festival circuit, winning multiple prizes, including Best Film at Efebo D'oro, Italian film festival. Christiaan is developing a limited series adaptation of Tatumkhulu Africa’s ‘Bitter Eden’ with Helena Spring Films, a sci-fi series ‘Honetrap’ with Wolflight and a neo-noir about Cape Town's underworld for M-Net.

Gabe Gabriel | They/He | Filmmaker | Focus Structure & Story Arc 

Gabe Gabriel is a queer South African filmmaker based between Cape Town and Los Angeles where they have been working as a writer, director, actor, and independent film producer since 2013. Most recently, Gabe has penned such works as ‘Granny Lee’, a feel-good South African dramedy about real-life transgender icon for Canada’s Fae Pictures; ‘Mavis and Grace’, a Thelma-and-Louise-type buddy cop Western for Amy Jephta and Zandré Coetzer’s Nagvlug Films; ‘Sabela Gold’, a 5-season gritty gold-rush crime drama with Danny Glover’s Louverture Films spearheading development, and ‘Mother City’, a psycho-sexual neo-noir drama series helmed by Christiaan Olwagen for MNET via Marche Media. In 2021, Gabe’ made their directorial debut with South Africa’s first gay romcom, ‘No Hiding Here’, which is currently available for streaming on Showmax. Their father-son road trip screenplay ‘Runs in the Family’ (developed with real-life father and director Ian Gabriel) is on the Netflix-NFVF shortlist for their R6m feature film funding initiative. Currently, Gabe can also be found breaking story for India’s Yash Raj Films’ latest commission: a 9-part one-hour crime drama series slated for production in early 2022 with director Gopi Puthran at the helm.

Gabe’s original works have placed them as a semi-finalist at the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition, the Final Draft Big Break Contest, the 5th annual Screencraft Fellowship, and the CBS Writers Mentorship programme.

Kelly Eve Koopman | She/Her | Activist Storyteller | Focus World Building

Kelly-Eve Koopman is an activist storyteller who works across genres and disciplines and currently writes for film and television, on a number of projects. With her partner Sarah Summers she has co-developed the webseries and dialogue platform Coloured Mentality and its associated storytelling hub Until We Remember. Kelly-Eve was also part of the We See You Movement, an LGBTQI artivist group who took on the political action of occupying a Camps Bay mansion last year during the height of the Covid crisis.

She is an alumni of the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity. She currently writes for theatre film and TV. Her debut title Because I Couldn't Kill You was published by Melinda Ferguson  in 2019, she has also co - curated the LGBTQI anthology They Called Me Queer. She has also been recently published in the new anthology, the Lockdown collection, published be Melinda Ferguson Books, an NB publishers imprint. She has participated in many critical dialogues around identity, race and gender on numerous platforms.

︎ Sunday Times Literary Awards
︎ New Frame ‘Where is our Land...’
︎ NB