4 women behind-the-scenes that rule the roost

Amy Jeptha. Picture: Instagram

Amy Jeptha. Picture: Instagram

Published Jul 19, 2021


With Women’s Month just around the corner, IOL Entertainment looks at four women behind the camera that make magic happen on screen.

From being in front of the camera to going behind-the-scenes, these are four South African directors ruling the roost.

Catherine Cooke, director on “iNumber Number”, “Girl of St. Agnes”, “The River” and “Reyka”

Catherine Cooke. Picture: Supplied

Golden Horn award winning director, Catherine Cook found herself in front of the camera as an actress before getting behind it and directing some award winning shows like “iNumber Number” and “The River”.

She has also directed Showmax’s “Girl of St. Agnes” and her latest series “Reyka” will be premiering on M-Net later this month.

Cooke’s robust imagination gives her the ability to lift the writers’ creation off paper and breathe life into their work.

“My acting background has especially been helpful to me as a director, as I feel actors can trust me to respect and hold their vulnerability safe in front of the camera.

“My work in theatre and my years as an assistant director also taught me to have discipline on my sets,” she said in an online interview.

Zimkhitha Maseko, “The River”, “Legacy”

Zimkhitha Maseko. Picture: Supplied.

Powerhouse, Zimkhitha Maseko fell in love with directing when she interned on the set of e.tv’s “Rhythm City”.

She’s been directing for the past 7 years on shows like Mzansi Magic’s “Zabalaza”, SABC3’s “High Rollers”, e.tv’s “Harvest”, “Imbewu: The Seed” and “Durban Gen” and is currently directing M-Net’s award-winning telenovela, “Legacy”.

She believes females directing film and television should be standard and not viewed as a novel thing.

“Anyone with a keen sense for emotive translation of screenplays/story through the various tools that we have to utilize should be at the helm and be afforded an opportunity to direct”.

She added: “It's problematic that we still have to be identified as "female directors" whereas our male counterparts are not referred to as "male directors,” she said.

Maseko said representation and transformation is key in this industry and a cheque to match would also be great.

“Seeing as we all do the same job and the pressure are the same whether male or female - failure to execute your job results in a bad show.

“With all that said, we definitely need more representation across all disciplines in this business, like sound man are almost always men”.

Maseko, who runs Exit Media said her dream job is to see her company fully established and she producing and directing stories that are close to her heart.

Roxanne Blaise, director on “Arendsvlei”

Safta nominated director, Roxanne Blaise is the talented woman behind kykNET&kie’s telenovela “Arendsvlei”.

Blaise started in the industry as a theatre actress and director, before moving to acting on television and in film.

On TV she acted on shows like “Sara Se Geheim” where she played the character Gadija. She also acted on three season of the show she currently directs, “Arendsvlei” as Elsa.

Her past directorship include “Il console italiano” and “Tali's Wedding Diary” in 2017.

Amy Jeptha, director on “Skemerdans”, “Suidooster“ and ”Nkululeko“

Amy Jeptha. Picture: Instagram

Celebrated theatre practitioner, filmmaker, playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jeptha is a force to be reckon with.

Jeptha's original crime thriller series, “Skemerdans”, was commissioned by Showmax under her company banner, Nagvlug Films and was released this year.

Jeptha’s focus is now on producing for film and television.

Her feature debut, “Barakat”, was released theatrically in 2021 after a string of festival appearances.

It was also award for Best Narrative at the 23rd Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Festival in the US.

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