DIFF2020 Winners


Born in Heidelberg, Germany, Abbesi Akhamie is a Nigerian-American writer/director currently based in the Washington D.C metro area. She received her MFA in Film from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and also holds a BA in Communications from George Mason University. Abbesi has travelled globally writing, directing, and producing stories from the African continent and its diaspora. She produced two African short films—Samedi Cinema and Facing North—that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016 and 2018. In 2017 she wrote and directed her debut short film Still Water Runs Deep in Nigeria that also premiered at TIFF and won ‘Best Student Film’ at the prestigious Aspen ShortsFest. She is a 2019 Berlinale Talent, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellow, and an NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Film. Currently, she works as a Production Manager within the Film and Video Studies department at GMU. She also in post-production on a short documentary as part of the Creative Culture fellowship program with the Jacob Burn Film Center. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family.

Jayan completed her BSc degree majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. Always assuming her analytic skills would be best suited to the sciences, she enjoyed a few years as an educator and then joined the exciting world of coding in object oriented programming. But she soon realized that her passion lay in the creative arts and she embarked on this new journey in 2005. She has produced numerous documentaries for SABC and her particular interests lies within spirituality and the multi-faith concept. Her dream came true when she produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for the movie ‘White Gold’in 2010. Moving forward with this, she went on to direct South Africa’s Number one film in 2017 ‘Keeping up with the Kandasamys’ and in 2019 produced, co-wrote and directed ‘Kandasamys: The Wedding’. These films and the world of the stories are treasures to her and it seems that Jayan Moodley has finally settled into a profession, a thrilling one at that, filmmaking.

Munya Chidzonga is a Filmmaker, Entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist, who has worked all over Africa in all disciplines of media, from online/social media platforms, to radio, television and the big screen. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Motion Picture Medium, majoring in Live Performance, Acting and Script-writing, from The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) in Cape town, South Africa. In 2012 he was awarded the highest acting honours in Zimbabwe, a NATIONAL ARTS MERIT AWARD (NAMA), for Best Actor in “The Gentleman”, a film he also Executive Produced and Distributed. IN 2017 Munya was nominated for the “best actor of Austral Africa” award by the prestigious Academy SOTIGUI in West Africa a part of the FESPACO annual festival for his role in the feature film “Escape” a project he was also Line Producer on.

Theresa Hill is manager at STEPS, a media for social change non- profit organisation.  She has worked on the award-winning Steps for the Future, Why Democracy? and Why Poverty? projects over the last 20 years. She is the acquisitions manager for the free-to-view Afridocs online documentary platform. She is a Ladima Foundation board member and has participated in various film festival juries and selection panels.

Bongi Ndaba is a South African born and bred writer, director and producer who started in theatre as a child in 1993, then moved to write for television in 2003 at one of the top SA soapies Generations, which she ended up be a headwriter for in 2011. She raised their viewership by 3 million, breaking its own record. She did the same when she was head writer for Uzalo, the show broke its own AR record when it hit 10.2 million viewers in 2018. And she revived a dying show called Isidingo which saw a growth of more than a million viewers saving it from being canned by a channel. The following is her other TV writing portfolio.

Layla Swart is one of South Africa’s most accomplished producers, despite being only 32 years old. Churning out a litany of impressive work in record time through her production house Yellowbone Entertainment. After obtaining a post-graduate degree in film and media production from the University of Cape Town, Layla has been senior editor and post production supervisor on numerous South African feature films and her writing work has enjoyed success at international and South African festivals. 2015 saw her move into production full time on large-scale international television projects such as ABC’s Kings and Prophets and Paolo Sorrentino’s HBO series The Young Pope. She has produced and edited five multiple-award winning films for her company and is contributing to the development of young film makers with every step. As a young, female, producer of colour, Layla has shown incredible creative and financial fortitude and acuity in promoting and developing local film through creating mutually viable relationships with state and private sectors that makes her a force to be reckoned with within the film industry. Layla has produced two films that have been South Africa’s official selection for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Category, Layla was recently awarded the South African Film and Television Awards, Youth Achiever prize for 2019, as well as the 2020 SAFTA for Best Editor of a feature film. Currently she is producing one of the largest 100% local television series in the history of SA television – Blood Psalms, which is scheduled for release in 2021.

Mykel Parish Ajaere Ph.D is the founder of Pan-African film consortium, largest community of African cinema stakeholders and chairperson of the Pan-African Film Development Foundation. He is creator of the Nollywood Travel Film Festival, publisher of Everything Nollywood magazine (the only dedicated magazine to the Nigerian film industry), co-founder of the Pan-African Development Summit and Executive director of the Pan-African Arts, Culture and Tourism Institute Canada. He has consulted for several organizations, diplomatic missions, cultural agencies, governments and institutions in Africa. He has also consulted for the Africa International Film Festival, Zanzibar International Film Festival, Mashariki Africa film festival, Afro- chinese arts and folklore festival Egypt, Prince Ebrahim Future Africa Foundation Gambia, and many more.

Armed with MPhil Development Studies (Sussex University, England) and Directing & Producing Certificate (US) and now doing Doctorate in Business Administration with Paris School of Business (France) Edmund Mhlongo is Durban based Artistic Director and Producer who has written and directed internationally acclaimed musicals such as “We Are Alive” (on street children in Durban - toured Denmark & London in 1996); the “Cry Not Child” (on effects of landmines on children of Angola, Mozambique and Bosnia - toured UK in 1997), the “Our Voice, Our Rights” (child labour awareness - performed in England in 1999), “Bayed Shaka: The Spear Is Born”(2003,“Jabulani SA Celebrate!”(2004-5), “Just Don’t...” (2006-7), “Chief Albert Luthuli: One Among Many” (2007, Madame President (2009-2013), Ithemba-Tattu (2012 NAF Ovation Award Winner), Culture Clash 2013), Sugar Daddies (2012), Amambazo the Musical (2014), Johnny Makhathini Musical (2015), The Carrier...Nandi the Musical (2018) among others. Edmund Mhlongo has been a recipient of Durban Theatre Awards for his amazing contribution to arts development in the community and for producing outstanding 2 theatre productions. He is a qualified Performing Arts Facilitator and a former columnist of Ilanga Newspaper’s Ishashalazi. He is a founder of international recognised K-CAP Theatre Company and a founder of the first proper community theatre facility Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre. He is a facilitator in Screenwriting and Performing Arts. Has produced over 15 actors for international productions such as Disney’s Lion King. He trains actors for both film and stage – mentor future stars and entrepreneurs.

Lesedi Oluko Moche is a Johannesburg based film festival programmer, television producer and documentary film advisor. She finds joy in places and spaces where storytelling from Africa and its diaspora reign supreme.

Or Lee-Tal is an Israeli cinema editor, born in 1981 and raised in Jerusalem and nowadays lives and works in Tel Aviv-Yafo.

Upon graduating from Tel Aviv University Film and Television faculty he edited a short film named "Martha Must Fly" which participated in Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation in 2011.

A year later two other short films he edited received respectful acknowledgement: "Return" participated in Cannes film festival Critics' Week, and "Stitches" won the "Student Visionary Award" in Tribeca Film Festival.

Since then his work has been presented in many other international festivals including two feature films that were presented in Locarno Film Festival: "People that are not me" (2016) and "The Dive" (2018).

"The Dive" also won "Best Film" in the Jerusalem Film Festival that year, and was selected for Toronto Film Festival and AFI Fest.

In 2019 he returned to Cannes Film Festival for the third time, with the short film he edited "Butterflies" which was an official selection of the festival, and later on was selected for Toronto Film Festival.

Last April (2020) Or won the Israeli film and television academy award for editing the documentary show "MA'ABAROT - The Israeli Transit Camps"

Enver was born in South Africa and grew up in England, Ghana and Zambia. He has studied both practical and theoretical aspects of Film and Television both locally and abroad, in England, Australia and Germany. Enver has worked on numerous television productions since 1994 and various high-profile corporate videos for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, the South African Forestry Company Ltd, HSRC AIDS Report, Global Campaign for Education, National Lotteries Board, Rio Tinto amongst others. Enver has also lectured in Television Journalism/Production at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) and the Academy of Television and Screen Arts. Enver’s also trained television producers in Zambia and Uganda. In addition to being a founding member of the Film and Publication Board (FPB) since 1998 – 2014, Enver served on The National Film & Video Foundation’s (NFVF) training and bursary committee for three terms. From 2012 to present Enver has been a South African Film & Television Award Judge (SAFTA). Enver is a current board member for the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) and acts as a mentor producer for the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission.

Monica Rorvik heads the film and media promotion division at Wesgro, which is Cape Town and Western Cape region's Tourism Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. She previously worked as Durban International Film Festival assistant manager and head of industry programmes, film programme curator, and has served on international juries, selection panels and market expert programmes. She is a certified African Film Commissioner.

Teboho Pietersen is the production analyst at KZN Film Commission where he plays a critical role in the film fund’s objective of facilitating sustainable growth in the film sector. He has a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry, skilled in developing policies, strategies, systems and workflows, managing multiple projects, Lecturing, Film Production, Television, Feature Films and script editing. He has completed the Management Development program at MANCOSA and has a Bachelor's degree in Motion Picture medium.

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