On Wednesday, 16 July we hosted our third Show & Tell evening of creative talks during which director Wim Steytler and Joe Public’s Sonia Dearling and Marina Andreoli revealed some invaluable insights about their process. Here’s a recap of the talks:
Wim Steytler – “An Unlikely Relationship”
Ever since he moved away from his idyllic childhood home on a farm called Diemersfontein in Wellington in the Western Cape, Wim Steytler has been rebelling against the dream of having a white picket fence and all that goes with it. While he does admit that the prospect of having a medical aid is slowly becoming more appealing, he’s not willing to give up the thrill of doing what he truly loves which, in his case, is telling uniquely African stories.
Currently working as a commercials director for Picture Tree, Wim places a large emphasis on personal work and for the past while has been creating a series of photographs that stem from his fascination with the hijacked and abandoned buildings in the Johannesburg CBD. Along with his partners in crime – Hero and G – whom he met in Soweto two years ago, Wim is on a constant quest to get behind closed doors. Wanting to do more than create a catalogue of dilapidated environments, he combined the stark reality with elements of fantasy by using these spaces as “studios” in which to stage unexpected scenes.
Not without purpose, however, as one of Wim’s main aims is to bring to light the very real issue of xenophobia. He has come into contact with many expats who fear for their lives daily, and endeavours through his work to present this unfortunate reality in a way that will cause people to really take notice. Being persistent he has found that epic moments present themselves and the collection of images that he has built up over time are not only beautiful photographs in their own right, but also function as references for future film related projects.
In fact, this is precisely how his music video for Haezer’s track Minted came to be – which tells the tale of two Afrocentric characters (“Hero” and “The Rat Catcher”) fighting for the oppressed and marginalized. Shooting the music video was an immense challenge. For starters it was almost impossible to gain permission to shoot in the abandoned buildings and then, getting 30+ actors (who were all street cast) into one of them was another matter entirely. The music video is intense, gripping and stirs up a debate about an issue that needs to be addressed.
It’s unsurprising then that for the music video, Wim was recently recognized as a Young Director Award winner in Cannes. For Wim, when it comes to telling stories that are difficult in nature it’s not a matter of if we do, but how we tell them. These stories are important and so it helps to look at them from a different angle to create something that is layered, challenging and open for a diverse range of interpretations. As a filmmaker, Wim believes that Africa is the future and urges us to become comfortable telling our own stories with confidence.
Sonia Dearling and Marina Andreoli – “A Recipe for the Hungry”
Sonia Dearling joined Joe Public as a designer and illustrator at the beginning of the year, while Marina Andreoli joined shortly after in March. So, when the two were paired together to enter the Cannes Young Lions Competition (which is compulsory at the agency for all staff members under 28 years old), they barely knew each other. Fortunately, after being thrown into the deep end together, they realized they had a lot in common – like their shared Italian heritage, and the fact that they were both in Sodwana for new year’s and didn’t once bump into one another.
The competition brief they were given to execute in only 48 hours was as follows: “Create a 60 second advertisement to encourage the South African public to vote in the upcoming elections.” The time constraint presented an obvious obstacle, as the pair had to carefully navigate which direction they wanted their concept to progress in. They came up with a plan of action to firstly establish what they wanted to say and secondly, to work with the skills and resources they had readily available. Their concept was based around the certain insight that most people who choose to vote are driven by the fact that they won’t be able to complain if they don’t. Using the fact that the ad was going to be aired in a cinema to their advantage, they came up with a commercial (below) titled “Don’t live with someone else’s choices”.
In April, two weeks after they’d submitted their entry, Sonia and Marina learnt that they had won the South African leg of the Young Lions Competition and by June they were off to Cannes. Here they were met with a brief for the second round of the competition, which was centered on raising support for abused children. While they weren’t the overall winners, the experience proved to be incredibly valuable, rewarding and exciting. Their learnings from the entire process led them to formulate a simple set of principles that can be applied to virtually any project or brief:
Our next Show & Tell will be taking place mid-August to coincide with our annual Creative Women series, and will focus on women in creativity. Stay tuned for more details!