I am Sandile Ntobela.
I am a passionate filmmaker and storyteller.
I was born in the beautiful village of Kwagcina in Sterkspruit near South Africa’s border with Lesotho, and grew up in the wonderful small town of Cookhouse in the Eastern Cape. When I was about seven years old I watched “The A Team” and damn, right there and then I knew i wanted to work in TV! Although of course at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do specifically.
Something amazing happened when I was nine, playing with friends inside a dark back room of our shack on a bright sunny day. Someone outside passed by a hole in the corrugated iron wall, and our attention was grabbed by their shadow as it crossed the the white sheet separating the kitchen and bedroom.
We asked one of my friends to run outside to play in front of the hole, and his actions played out in silhouette as if through a film projector. It excited all of us to see magic in motion.
After I passed matric i did not know where to go for my filmmaking studies; there were no film schools in the cities close to my home.
Finally in Cape Town I found an institute called the Community Arts Project, where I was educated in theatre and trained as an actor and storyteller. I became even more inspired to become the creative that I am today.
I performed in plays like Romeo and Juliet, Woza Albert, In Our Souls, and 9437 to Stadt which we staged at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
After the first semester of our second year we were given an internship opportunity, which I took at Waterfront Studios.
There I worked at Penguin Films under producers Roberta Durant and Sulette van Jaarsveld, training on-the-job in the creative and technical sides of television production. I worked as Studio Manager and Assistant Director on sitcoms and dramas Madam & Eve, Scoop Schoombie, SOS, Stokvel, Khululeka and Montana.
I also got my break to work in postproduction while training with editor Maryke Kruger.
I am very grateful for that help which prepared me to understand what needs to be done and how to save a lot of time while filming.
All of this experience prepared me to take a shot at telling my first story as a director.
I was working for Morula Pictures on the soapie Backstage for Etv when I met my friend and future business partner Tom Glenn. We got along very well and together shot a music video called “Kwenzeka Ntoni” for local hiphop legend ABOSH (aka Abongile Kroza).
Right then I knew I was born to tell stories.
We soon shot further music videos for other local acts Sukumukhanye and Oomavala.
I then moved from television to crew on local and international films as an Assistant Director.
It was an amazing blessing to work closely with some of the top filmmakers in the world.
I was AD on feature films including The Flier, Forgiveness, Lord of War, Blood Diamond, 10 000 BC, Mad Max – Fury Road, and series Black Sails, Dominion, Blood Drive, Troy and Roots.
In 2010 I produced and directed my own film DIRTY REASON.
I want to take this moment and thank everyone who contributed in shaping me to be the person that I am.
I want to thank the world for the kindness and love that everyone I have met in my journey of Filmmaking has given to me.
I thank God for loving me so much and blessing me with such a great life and my profession of filmmaking.
I thank my wife and children for allowing me to do exactly what i love although at times it is very challenging with distance, traveling and working away from my family and long hours at work.
God bless my family.