Shimmy Isaacs cracks the whip as film director and producer

Shimmy Isaacs. Picture: File

Shimmy Isaacs. Picture: File

Published Mar 16, 2024

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Cape Town - South African media personality Shimmy Isaacs is claiming her space in the film industry and is showing flames in her new role as director and producer of her long-awaited sitcom called Mince Jou Hare.

The 42-year-old Worcester-born and bred actor and comedian sat down with Weekend Argus to spill the tea on her latest endeavours.

Before her breakthrough as an artist, Shimmy worked as stock controller for Mr Price and later moved to Cape Town where she worked in her best friend's vintage clothing store.

She studied acting at AFDA and says she changed comedy over the 20 years in the industry.

We caught up with the booked and busy artist as she finished the filming on her soon-to-be released Showmax sitcom.

Shimmy Isaacs. Picture: Jack Lestrade

Mince Jou Hare is set in Worcester, and is based on a story about Shimmy's Mom, Frieda, as a hairdresser and her pursuit of her own destiny.

For Shimmy, her film finally making the cut is a major achievement, since she created the pilot project five years ago with a small group of actors who were also her friends.

“I was a little heartbroken when my Frieda pilot project was shelved five years ago, but now its finally getting the platform it deserves and tells the stories that resonate with people. We had to do a name change that still hooked people and so I came up with Mince Jou Hare.”

Shimmy, who played roles in various films and soapies, including the Netflix series Unseen, Arendsvlei, Tali’s Joburg Diary, Rykie and Terugkeer, will also hit our TV screens again in the new Afrikaans Skemergrond telenovela on kykNET&kie which will showcase a story full of deeply held family secrets, revenge, true love, lies and crumbling friendships. It starts in July.

But for Shimmy, her biggest dream was creating her own film to tell her stories.

The crew spent a few days filming on set in Zeekoevlei and ended off in Worcester this week.

She describes the story around the sitcom: “It’s about my mother and her salon set in Worcester, my mom is one of the most courageous women, she became a single mom early in life with three girls, she used to be a factory worker and when I was eight, she quit her job and was doing hair part time.

“I remember asking her why she left her job, she told me to better myself and my mom worked herself up and still equips herself today.

“Her life speaks of an aspirational story of a woman who took herself through beauty school and then ends up getting this salon.”

Shimmy describes her sitcom as “an old coloured show with new faces that the country doesn’t know, but you’re going to see them in a lead capacity, not just a support role, and that was really important to me.”

Her experience of getting on the other side of the camera, has opened a new world for her, and in turn, she is creating space to elevate others.

“My writing and my producing has really elevated me in positions where I am truly able to say I am the table, not the table of anyone else created for me but I had to create this for myself.

“I also got to discover others like Arlene Petersen, this is part of why I created this sitcom, I wanted to elevate a comedian.

Shimmy Isaacs and Arlene Petersen on set. Picture: Supplied

“Stand up comedy is something that found me and I was just naturally very good at it. But film is what I have my degree in, I studied film.

“I have my honours in screenwriting and acting and my masters in producing. So it’s only natural that I would be as committed to the film and the writing as I was to stand up and still am actually to stand up.

“I have no fear stepping away from something in order to build something else and this is what happened for me. I intentionally knew I was going to step away from the stand up stage and do this at 150%, where I’m in a position to call the shots for the rest of us ... where I’m in a position to control the outcome of a creative project.”

Her sitcom is aimed at a younger target market based on the demographics of the average Showmax viewers.

“I wanted to pull in a younger audience towards this and I wanted to be a little bit more colloquial in the title. You know, it is how we speak, so I really want it from the get go because Frieda as my mother’s name is obviously a beautiful name. You know, but with that, it sounded quite formal and so I want the show to go on for a while.”

Shimmy Isaacs and Cinematographer Gavin Sterley

‘Mince Jou Hare’ is set to air in May this year on Showmax and stars Melissa De vries, Anja Human, Euodia Samson, Gershwin Mias and Emile Smit.

Shimmy says her break into the production side of the industry, is set to open doors for many.

“As brown people, we are rich in stories and so its always amazing to see how much we are growing in this space and how much we show resilience through our productions.”

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