Local female film-maker forges ahead in male-dominated arena

After identifying a gap in local film making production process, the eThekwini Municipality’s film industry development unit, the Durban Film Office introduced SCOUT, a location scouting and management programme as part of its overall mandate to encourage more film making in Durban.  One of the 2014 SCOUT participants, Sindisiwe Mngadi, has really taken the opportunity afforded her and is making waves in the industry, not only locally but on a national level too.

 Toni Monty, Head of the DFO explains: “SCOUT is an intensive programme developed to professionally develop local location scouts and expose young and previously disadvantaged filmmakers to the business of location scouting and with the aim that they will eventually move into full location management. We have had two sessions with local filmmakers one in 2014 and another in 2016. Participants took part in a one week theory class and two weeks of practical knowledge programme which also included a formal and accredited NOSA training in Basic fire Awareness, Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health and Health and Environment Representative Training, with professional Locations Manager Neville Botha from Unit Co-Op.”

 Twenty-eight year old, Sindisiwe, who is based on the Berea, worked at local production company Durban Motion Pictures after leaving school, where she gained invaluable experience working on the job and training at the same time.

 The young go-getter started her company, Lopper Media in 2010, with a focus on video production for events and editing. In the last few years she has ventured into film and commercial production services, and is fast developing a name for herself as a reputable service provider with a range of services that include location scouting, location and unit management, as well as security services .

 “The scouting programme was very informative and it opened my eyes to the many opportunities that we have in Durban from a locations point of view and also within the industry as a whole,” she says.

 “The knowledge that I gained from the training helped me so much and made me take my business more seriously,” she enthuses. “After doing the SCOUT programme my business has definitely improved and grown very fast. We have even ventured into location and unit management, and we recently were able to work with major production companies such as Born Free Media, Natives at Large and Mobile Media, and I was also a location and unit manager for a recent Red Bull Commercial that was managed by Mobile Media, here in Durban - the best two days ever,” she says.

Determined to make a real go of this industry, Sindisiwe is currently in Johannesburg where she is hoping to finalise the details for three new short films being shot in Durban. 

 “I am really excited about the opportunities that have come up and I am hoping to grow my business into a major unit management one.”