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Director talks Netflix series and African content on a global platform

Lead actress Ama Qamata and director Nosipho Dumisa have a chat while shooting scenes for Netflix series Blood & Water

Lead actress Ama Qamata and director Nosipho Dumisa have a chat while shooting scenes for Netflix series Blood & Water

Published May 28, 2020


Nosipho Dumisa is the young

and vibrant director of the latest Netflix African Original hit series, Blood & Water.

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The award-winning 32-year-old directs a cast of many fresh faces, including Ama Qamata, a rising talent who can also be seen on Mzansi Magic’s Gomora, and new face Khosi Ngema. The story revolves around 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo (Qamata) as she investigates the cold case of her abducted-at-birth older sister.

Dumisa said the six-part series would resonate with viewers because it is an authentic African narrative with universal themes.

“I believe audiences have been crying out for fresh talent that is also diverse, so I think they will truly love the balance we’ve struck with the incredible actors on the show.

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“For local audiences, I think they’ll enjoy the pace, production quality and familiarity of our world, which is presented in an exciting way.

“For international audiences, they’ll have never seen South Africa, let alone Africa, portrayed in this way. The world of Blood & Water is aspirational and beautiful.”

Netflix has been deliberate in its showcase of African talent recently and local productions have the chance to be received by a global audience.

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Dumisa said it had been a long time coming.

“The world has been starving for content from Africa. We saw how well Black Panther did and that wasn’t even produced by Africans. Since Blood & Water launched, we’ve seen the excitement. The world is ready for a new voice and that voice is Africa.”

Dumisa said it was important

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for storytellers to remain on the pulse of changes in society and to be able to adapt.

“We provide not only entertainment but alternative perspectives. I always challenge myself to present content that’s not only entertaining but reflective of our society, in order to encourage dialogue and debate about who we are. I’m not sure how my role will evolve but it has to evolve. I have to evolve and continue to take risks if I’m to grow and remain relevant.”

Covid-19 has forced film-makers and producers to become more innovative, she said.

“I’ve read about productions that have quarantined the whole cast and crew in little towns so they could work. Of course, this isn’t possible for everyone. Filming short format content with smart phones is on the rise, because people can film in their own homes. In our own productions, we’ve had to streamline the way we work. Still, there remain challenges, particularly when filming on locations or having to create stunts on set.”

Dumisa said the television industry has been hit hard around the world.

“Many productions, which account for many freelance crew and actors, have had to stop work. Film releases have been delayed, some indefinitely, it’s painful to see.

“As not only a storyteller, but also production company owner (Gambit Films), it’s been challenging. However, this industry has always been able to adapt and change. Streaming services were a response to a need, and TV was a response to a need that came before it. I’m certain we’ll prevail.”

The one thing Dumisa hopes audiences take away from her work is the heart she has put into it.

“I put everything into each story and I hope that people take that and reflect upon the world we live in.”

Blood & Water is now available on Netflix for streaming. See Lifestyle

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