100 World Class South Africans: Teboho Mahlatsi

2013-06-13 12:00

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Hard-hitting filmmaker

No other local TV series has caused such a stir as the ground-breaking Yizo Yizo (1999-2004).

It was debated in Parliament, discussed on CNN and Sky, studied at Cambridge and NYU, won numerous awards (including the Cinema Tout Ecrand in Geneva for Best International Series) and was the first TV series ever to be screened at the Venice Film Festival.

From his first project, the reality series Ghetto Diaries (before reality TV was a phenomenon), Mahlatsi has stood out.

His short film Portrait of a Young Man Drowning won a Silver Lion in Venice in 1999; Mahlatsi was later the jury president of the Corto Cortissimo (short-film section) of the Venice Festival.

He was chosen for the Cannes L’Atelier in 2006, where new-generation directors pitch scripts to producers, and attended the writer/director laboratories at Sundance.

Another TV series, Jacob’s Cross, was broadcast all over Africa, and he’s just finished the acclaimed Shuga: Love, Sex and Money, a youth drama promoting safe sex screened in 72 countries.

He was head-hunted to direct this series, filmed in Kenya, by MTV Network Africa.

Next up is that first full-length feature he wrote seven years ago.

The boy from the Vaal Triangle who loved punk music and westerns has grown up into a visionary creating life-changing TV.

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