Khulekani Mayisa is a director, photographer and stylist whose experimental style filmmaking first came onto our radar in 2017, her talent as a visual storyteller translates through her writing, filmmaking and even a simple instagram post from her will leave you captivated. Having recently showcased her film in the Gauteng Film Comission ‘Online Women Film Festival’ and chronicling her journey though life and creativity through her blog TheKhulestMama we caught up with Khule to learn more about her journey through filmmaking and creative ventures.
How do you define yourself as a writer, filmmaker and what inspired you to become one?
I identify as an artist as I have various forms of creative expression: film, photography, and fashion. I developed a love for film when I gave into the curiosity of discovering how my favourites were made. We had dvd’s at home, and after watching a movie I enjoyed, I’d explore other features. That’s when I came across the behind-the-scenes process, which intrigued me far more. I may not have known it then, but those moments played a big role in determining what I eventually wanted to do with my life. Photography was always a big part of my life growing up, as we had a designated family photographer. Outside of that, my mother owned a camera so I have vivid memories of posing for even the most mundane moments, as well as taking photos. My love for fashion developed from learning how the matriarchs of my family made an event of dressing up. We’d often bond over shopping and ‘modelling’ the clothes we bought for each other.
What makes your style of storytelling unique and what themes interest you?
My visual language revolves around black women, as that’s the perspective I can tell authentic stories from. It’s an experience I know and understand all too well, so when I approach a subject, I already know it’ll resonate with those for whom I have intended it. I love creating with and for women, with an intention to shift the narrative for the girl child of the future. A narrative that includes them and considers their stories as worthy of being heard.
Please tell us more about your recent and current creative projects ?
My first film, Scribbled In Red, was created in my honours year when I had no idea what subject I was going to shoot for my experimental project. I then bought a few props, explored with red subject matter at home, and by the time I was done shooting, I had already decided that menstruation would be my topic. I took on a similar approach for my second film about gender-based violence – this time with purple subject matter – and am currently collecting more visuals for my next one. The aim is to turn my experimental work into a series that creates dialogue around topics that often get swept under the rug. Hopefully, it inspires a need for change long-term. In the meantime, you can find the music video I recently directed, called Love Me/Leave Me by (Pretoria-based artist) Setso, which is available on Youtube.
What do you feel the next step in the film, television and entertainment industry should be?
The next step for the film, television and entertainment industry is simple;
Hire more black women to create what you see on your TV screens. The ‘boys club’ nature of the industry is incredibly unfair to talented women who want to be taken seriously as directors, directors of photography, editors, etc. It’s time for the industry to adapt. In fact, It’s overdue.
Industry heavyweights should learn to take a chance on inexperienced filmmakers and photographers willing to learn on the job. They all had to start somewhere, and it was probably because someone took a chance on them too. Paying it forward should be seen as a virtue, as there’s always something to learn from the youth.
What would you say to upcoming fellow writers and filmmakers to inspire them?
My advice to upcoming filmmakers and writers: you have a vision and you owe it to yourself to see it through. Your belief in yourself – despite all the rejection and failure you have yet to face – will determine why others should believe in you. Trust yourself, even when you’re not sure what you’re doing, because life eventually rewards your efforts. Constantly remind yourself why the industry needs you: no one else can execute your vision the way you can.
Follow Khule on :
Facebook: Khule Mayisa
Vimeo: Khule Mayisa