40 young filmmakers set to make mark with campaign to highlight GBV issues Thato Molamu

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

MICT Seta-accredited film and television business academy, Leaders In Motion Academy (LIMA), acclaimed for producing two international award-winning films (48 Hour Film Competition), has its sights set on being at the forefront of raising awareness and effectively contributing to remedying the social ill of Gender-Based Violence that maintains its plague on South African society. With skills development, creative entrepreneurship, and digital content at its core, LIMA announces this year’s 16 Short Filmmakers Project with the theme 16 Days of Activism.

Founded by renowned media personality and social entrepreneur, Thato Molamu, Leaders In Motion Academy launched their 16 Short Filmmakers Project this year, which will see 40 young filmmakers take center stage (16 writers, 16 directors, 8 producers) and produce 16 short films under the theme “16 days of activism”. The leading production company for the films is Molamu’s creative agency Gateway Media, trading as Leaders In Motion Media Africa “LIMMA” which has over 10 years of experience in producing films.

This is the second year since 2019, operating at this magnitude. The student filmmakers will go through a month boot camp of training and pre-production, and at the production phase, the 16 directors and 8 producers will work with a professional crew to produce their 2-5 minute films edited by established and award-winning female editor Pricilla Mandlate.

The program has experienced facilitators on board, which include the likes of Vuyani Bila, Kalumbu Kapisa and Bongi Ndaba, with collaborators from alumni of different institutions like TUT, SAE Institute, NEMISA and LIMA.

Molamu’s passion is inspired by his unending love for business and education. As a scholar himself, he isn’t just a media personality but holds a PGDIP in Business Management from Henley Business School, a certificate in finance from UCT, a project management for non-project managers from GIBS, and an entrepreneurship certificate from North-West University Business School. Molamu, though known for his many television roles, is an entrepreneur at heart.

Growing up in Bophuthatswana played a role in his patriotic need to pass the skills and knowledge baton to a younger generation that can tell local stories, grow the creative tech economy in fields like gaming, animation, and virtual reality, create better narratives about Africa, and create entertaining content that can appeal globally. The most crucial element of the CSI culture of this initiative is for students to be empowered with skills they can use to make a living for themselves and their families and better their very own communities with what they learn from LIMA.

Speaking on the essence of the theme, Molamu shares: “This year’s theme is 16 days of activism. The stats of GBVF have risen to concerning numbers, including the high unemployment rate in this country and globally. More than ever, this is the most critical time to harness an outcome-based educational ventures for youth by not only developing their creative skills but their business skills and also by giving them market access, creating future jobs, developing better curriculums from high school and normalising access as studying to be a creative is an expensive career choice. The creative sector employs more than the mining sector. If job creation and small businesses are government and private sector priorities, the business of the creative must be high on our national agenda.“

Molamu’s desire is to see some, if not all, of the creatives, entrepreneurs, and writers in the project become globally competitive players in the international arena. His hope is that this project creates real actionable conversations around GBVF, addresses the challenges faced by the country of high youth unemployment, and reduce violence in our societies.

“Our television screens, to a great degree, are filled with violent content, and my hope is that we can start to rethink our content strategies both online and traditional broadcasting as television/film is such a powerful tool in driving narratives. In a country with so much inequality, I think we need to develop more conscious leaders in content creation and strike a healthy balance in our commissioning outputs and tell our stories that promote our beautiful and rich culture,” shares Thato Molamu.

He adds: “Leadership is a critical skill, and we want to unearth true potential for young people, skills of listening, financial management, people skills, risk management, and strategy, and this program aims to develop that using film as a tool.”

The 16 Short Filmmakers project was initiated in 2019 as a pilot project with 92 students from the Pretoria and Alexandra LIMA campuses. Over the years, LIMA has funded and supported over 200 young filmmakers and assisting them in kickstarting their businesses with on the job learning experience of producing broadcast-quality short films to raise awareness and drive positive change in our communities.

For Molamu he says it’s better at times to give someone skills rather than just food to bridge the poverty divide and help them become sustainable beyond aid. Through programs like these, Molamu aims to grow skills in the creative economy, increase investments platforms, and, which in turn will, help reduce the challenges of unemployment and social ills.

Image: Supplied

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