Face 2 Face with Siphiwo Ludumo Ratsibe

Face 2 Face with film producer and Chris Hani Film Forum chair, Siphiwo Ludumo Ratsibe

What do you do?

I am a film producer. Most people know me as an artist and a graphic designer, but those are just two of the 40 things I can do.

How did you get into film?

I’ve always had a passion for film – ever since I was a little boy, and my dream has always been to produce Hollywood blockbusters, but I’ve never dreamt of working for the SABC or any local TV studio. Instead I dream of creating my own independent TV station. (I believe it would create endless jobs and opportunities for thousands of people), but there are three major ways to get into film:
1. By writing a film.
2. Volunteering or becoming an ‘extra’ in a film.
3. Finding auditions online.

I started by writing a short film, then borrowed cameras from Zizamele Media and identified some actors – Ntombomzi Fatyela and her granddaughter. Then I shot the film, called ‘Choices’. It is part of a series of short films designed to help people choose wisely.

As the newly appointed Chris Hani Film Forum chairperson, What are some of the things you would like to achieve?
1 I want to establish a fully functional film office in Queenstown that will be fully staffed and focused on capacity-building.
2. To establish a fully equipped TV studio that will produce content for online TV, i.e. Apple TV, Amazon TV, Roku, YouTube etc.
3. To produce feature films and documentaries that will be shot locally.
4. Organise the 2022 Chris Hani Film Festival.

Do you think there are enough opportunities for young people to pursue a career in the industry?

TV creates opportunities for people to showcase their talents to bigger opportunities. Some people have become CEOs of big companies from being presenters on TV. What I expect our TV station to do is give people a chance to gain knowledge, experience and exposure so they have a reference when they apply for bigger jobs.

Are South Africans supportive of local industry?

South Africans are poorly informed about the film industry. As a result they are not very supportive, but I plan to change this through capacity building, that will be done through nationwide workshops. The other reason for the lack of support is poor quality content that does not make them feel the product deserves its price. The third reason is poor distribution strategies.

How has Covid-19 affected creatives in film and music?

First of all Covid-19 is over-rated. Nevertheless, film production is being affected at cinema level and music at concert level, but it is manageable on set and at music studios. TV Stations make their money through advertising and our goal is to produce international quality content so we can run international ads.

Who is your favourite actor/actress and why?

My favourite international actor is Mel Gibson (no one does it better), but my local favourite is Luthuli Dlamini. Among women, Sandra Bullock.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, which would it be?

‘Megamind’ is the only movie I can’t stop watching, the plot is phenomenal.

What cant you leave home without?

Apart from my cellphone? The trouble is because of my cellphone, I don’t leave home!

What do you love about Komani?

Tough question! Queenstown has the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen. One of them is my wife.

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