Dr Tanja Sakota-Kokot – Head of Division and Senior Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9757
Tanja Sakota-Kokot has lectured at Wits University since 1999. During this time she has also guest lectured at ARCADA Film School in Finland and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Tanja has all her Degrees from Wits: BA in Dramatic Art, MA by Dissertation and PhD. After graduating with a BA and winning the Edgar Bold prize for the top Television student, Tanja Sakota-Kokot started working as a Scriptwriter and later as a Troubleshooter for Caplan Wilkie, a production house focusing on promos and on-air imagery for both Mnet and the SABC. Thereafter, Tanja moved towards directing inserts for The Television Production Company. This launched her interest in the ideological impact of documenting actual events. In 1995 Tanja flew to Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia to begin research for her MA Dissertation, which focused on the merging of factual and fictional boundaries in war reporting, particularly with reference to Documentary Film. In 1999 Tanja started working for Wits and has since taught in both Documentary and Fiction within both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The critical questions which arose through interaction within her courses encouraged her to make 180 degree turn for her PhD where she examined how we understand conflict through fiction film focusing on how the global environment views Africa and the Middle East. Tanja is now continuing her research through publishing in Academic Journals. Her article “When the Past Talks to the Present: Fiction Narrative and the ‘Other’ in Hotel Rwanda”, published in Critical Arts, Vol 27 (2): 211-234 examines some of the ideas explored in her PhD.
Motto: You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try
Prof Jyoti Mistry – Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Division
Tel 011 717 9746
Jyoti Mistry has taught at New York University, University of Vienna and Arcada University of Applied Science Polytechnic in Helsinki. Jyoti Mistry’s filmography includes films, documentaries and film installations. Her research areas include cultural policy, questions of identity and multiculturalism. Mistry has also worked as a photography and film curator.
Her recent film Le Boeuf sur le Toit (2010/80min/HDv) premiered at the Durban International Film Festival and forms part of a new installation project that comprises of 4 separate installations that explore various facets of urban and city life.09:21:25 (2011/10min/HDv) is currently part of WELTRAUM: Die Kunst und ein Traum; an exhibition at the Kunsthalle, Wien (April –August 2011) commemorating man’s fiftieth anniversary of space travel.The installation of ITCHY CITYfrom her highly acclaimed film i mike what I like(2006/50min/Dv) was part of the exhibition AFROPOLIS, Cologne (November 2010- April 2011)
Selected Publications: “Seeing Communities out of Context: Notes on a Photographic Exhibition” In: Images and Communities: The Visual Construction of the Social (2007); “Johannesburg: Vocabularies of the Visceral and Expressions of Multiple Practices” In : African Cities Reader (2009); “The Eighth Muse: Sport and Film, Sport on Film” in Sport versus Art (2010) .
Damon Heatlie – Senior Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9743
Damon Heatlie has taught at UCT, UWC, the University of Transkei, and guest lectured at Arcada University in Helsinki. He has an MA in Literary Studies (cum laude) from UCT and an MBA from Wits Business School. He is currently working on a Creative PhD in the Wits School of Arts.
Prior to lecturing at Wits, Damon worked in the local film industry as a producer, director, editor and screenwriter. Having produced over 60 music videos (from Brenda Fassie to Mandoza), he also directed videos for such musical heavyweights as Hugh Masekela and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). He has been nominated for South African Music Awards for these. Damon has produced several long-form documentaries for broadcast – these include Waiting for Justice (etv, 52 min, 1999), which won the Sithengi 1999 Best New Documentary Award, Phuzekhemisi (SABC, 52min, 2004) and Legends of the Casbah (72 min, 2012), which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in 2012. He has worked and continues to be involved as a scriptwriter/script editor in feature film development and television dramas. He has also directed short films, including Ziyawa (26 min, 2003) and Jackpot (20 min, 2009).
Damon currently lectures in the fields of scriptwriting and directing, but also teaches in music video and film studies courses. His research interests include the profitability and sustainability of the South African feature film industry, scriptwriting and narrative theory, cinematic representations of history, auteur filmmaking, postmodernism and postcolonial theory.
Kenneth Kaplan – Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9753
Kenneth Kaplan has worked in the film and television industry in New York, Hong Kong and across the African continent for over twenty years. His debut feature film, PURE BLOOD, which he wrote, directed and co-produced received the Lucio Fulci Award at the Rome Fantafestival. He also produced the feature film, SLEEPER’S WAKE, which premiered at the Toronto International and BFI London Film Festivals. His television directing credits include the Emmy nominated youth drama series, SCOUT SAFARI, aired on NBC networks in the USA. For South African television he executive produced, wrote and directed two seasons of the long running political drama series 90 PLEIN STREET for SABC 2. He also directed a season of HARD COPY on SABC 3.
After completing his post-graduate studies overseas, Kenneth worked as a field producer in South Africa for the Emmy Award winning SOUTH AFRICA NOW, a weekly news program carried in 40 countries around the world and banned in South Africa for challenging the severe press restrictions imposed under the then State of Emergency. Other documentaries and TV work which he directed are THE LIFE & TIMES OF CHRIS HANI (AFRIVISION/SABC) and the multi-season award winning reality series S’CAMTO GROUNDBREAKERS (loveLife/SABC).
Kenneth holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television (New York University), BA (Hons) Archaeology (Wits), BA (Hons) Dramatic Arts (Wits)
Pervaiz Khan – Associate Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9754
Pervaiz Khan is a writer, filmmaker, visual arts curator and artist who has made documentaries, short fictions, music videos, new-media installations; and worked on feature films. He is an award-winning film curator (including the British Film Institute’s Paddy Whannel Award for innovation in film education), and was Head of Media at the Triangle Arts & Media Centre (Aston University). In the 80s he established Vokani, Britain’s first touring circuit for black & third world films.In the late 80s and early 90s as the curator of the Third Cinema Focus (Birmingham International Film & TV Festival) he brought together filmmakers, writers and critics from across the globe. He has curated for the National Film Theatre(London).
For a decade he was a contributing editor of ‘Sight & Sound’, the world’s longest established film magazine. He co-edited, with John Akomfrah, issue 36 of the radical film journal ‘Framework – Third Scenario: Theory & Politics of Location’.He trained as an actor with the inspirational Joseph Mydell, and co-founded Duende Performance Company. He has a MA in Screenwriting and his passion for film ranges from experimental documentaries to popular cinema. He is interested in the role contemporary visual culture – photography, cinema, television and the web – plays in constructing our understanding of race, class, migration and nationhood. Pervaiz lectures in screenwriting at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Nobunye Levin – Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9768
Nobunye has a BA in Dramatic Arts and a MA in the field of Film and Television (with distinction). She works primarily in experimental film but is also interested in video art, installation and how the process of “documenting” intersects with these practices. Nobunye’s film Thymesis (2008) was screened at the Next Reel International Film Festival (2010) in Singapore. While, I am Saartjie Baartman (2009) was selected for the international competition section of the 56th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (2010), in Germany and was also screened at the Durban International Film Festival (2010). Her research interests are diverse and are often concerned with or seek to explore ideas related to alternative cinemas, postcolonial studies, gender studies, corporeality and cinematic representation as well as notions pertaining to experimental cinema with regards to both its theory and practice. Nobunye was also featured in the “200 Young South Africans You Must Take to Lunch” (2010), which is a yearly supplement that appears in the Mail and Guardian newspaper.
Lieza Louw – Senior Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9742
Lieza Louw enjoys working with young people with whom she shares her professional and academic experience. After completing a BSc and a secondary teaching diploma (UCT), a short stint as a Physical Science and Mathematics teacher and as one of the first female photographers at a Sunday newspaper, she joined the film industry. Lieza worked with celebrated filmmakers such as Jamie Uys and Katinka Heys before launching a solo career as producer/ director. Her work includes acclaimed documentary films, environmental and educational programming, corporate work for Wits and the Cradle of Humankind.
Jurgen Meekel – Senior Tutor
Tel 011 717 9785
Jurgen Meekel graduated cum laude from the Rietveld Academy of Fine-Arts in audio-visual design in Amsterdam (1989). After studying he worked on contemporary installation, sculpture and video pieces. From 1996 till today he has focussed on motion-graphic design, camera and sound work, compositing, visual effects, editing and music scoring for video productions. He was Head of Department Special/Visual Effects at the AFDA filmschool, Johannesburg, from 2005-2009.
Some accomplishments are: Sound-recording and Graphics for documentary “Starkiss” in Hyderabad, India for Wilderell film which received a nomination (2002) at the Gouden Kalf Film festival (Dutch Oscars) for best long documentary. Sound engineering and Graphics for documentary Dabbah Wallah’s (Bombay) for VPRO which received publics choice at the IDFA (1999). Sound-engineering for ‘Punt NL’ (short observations in Holland), VPRO National TV broadcast won best short film at the Venice film festival (2000). Devised technical workflow, created graphics and visual effects for worlds first cell-phone feature film ‘Sms Sugarman. He lectures in Post Production at Wits Film &TV and continues producing and exhibiting his own work.
Nduka Mntambo – Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9999
Nduka Mntambo is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the Film and Television division in the Wits School of Arts (WSOA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. His documentary film titled Human (e) Settlements: Urban Challenge, which looks at the state of housing and human settlements in South Africa, premiered at the UN-Habit: World Urban Forum 6, Naples, Italy 2012. His experimental film; IF THIS BE A CITY, which is an exploration of the politics of space, citiness and desire, was selected to be part of the Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015 and was also part of the Urban Flux Film Festival, which was an official project of the France South Africa Seasons 2012/2013. He has worked as production designer for I Mike What I Like (2004) directed by Kgafela oa Magogodi which was later adapted to the eponymous feature length film directed by Jyoti Mistry. He is currently working with Mistry on a video installation titled Store in ac Cool Dry Place which explores the ritual of coffin production in three African cities: Accra, Addis Ababa and Johhanesburg.
The exhibtion will open at WAM (Wits Art Museum) and later travel to Michaelis Galleries at UCT (University of Cape Town).
Conference, Seminar and Symposium Presentations
• Cinema is wasted on Cinema presented at Performative Urbanisms; Fighting for and over the city; Expressing the city; Knowing the city organized by Wits City Institute Symposium in August 2015
• Of Spears, Pangas and Ncalas: Marikana The Musical After Marikana Third Commemorative Seminar held at the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the University of Johannesburg September 2015.
• A little piece of heaven, a short film produced and presented at Documentary and Diversity Doctoral School Intensive Course held at the National Film and Television Institute, Accra, Ghana October 2015
• Bua Le Yona- PhD case studies presentationat Southern Cities Studies Conference, Wits Cubes – 2014
Eran Tahor – Associate Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9912
Eran Tahor lectures in cinematography. For over ten years, since graduating from Wits University, Eran has been filming features, documentaries, commercials, corporate, music videos and drama series. Eran’s portfolio includes acclaimed South African TV drama series The Lab, A Place Called Home and the comedy series Sorted. On these and other projects Eran has collaborated with international directors Philip Noyce (Catch a Fire documentary – see Documentaries below), Mika Kiurismaki (Mama Afrika currently showing at Tribeca Film Festival, 2011) as well as some of our prominent writers and directors such as Barry Berk, Aryan Kaganof, Rollie Nikiwe, Akin Omotoso, Vincent Moloi, Riad Desai and many others.
Eran filmed several feature films: Hey Boy, Cryptid, Three and Half Lives of Philip Wetu (Namibia, directed by Richard Pakleppa) and Oil on Water – which was noted in South African press for its cinematography. Recently Eran picked up the South African Film and TV Award for his cinematography on the TV series Sorted and was nominated for his cinematography on the popular South African series A Place Called Home
Dylan Valley – Associate Lecturer
Tel 011 717 9752
Dylan Valley is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who views film as a liberatory tool. He holds an MA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and while there did his thesis documentary on the groundbreaking web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
He has directed various documentaries for South African and international television, namely the award winning Afrikaaps (2010), The Uprising of Hangberg (2010), Jumu’a (2011) and Incarcerated Knowledge (2013). He has also directed two documentary films for Al Jazeera’s Documentary Channel (via Hotspot Films, Cairo).
Dylan also spent a year as a commissioning editor in the SABC’s Factual Genre. When he is not teaching at Wits, he is the Film and Video Editor for the critical Pan-African arts, politics and culture blog, Africa is a Country.
Kgomotso Motsamai – Administrator
Tel 011 717 9749
Isaac Modise – Technical Stores Coordinator
Tel 011 717 9771
Isaac has a National N. Diploma in Electronic Engineering and a Certificate in Digital Media Production. He studied at Central Johannesburg college and SA college. Isaac’s responsibilities are running the equipment stores as well as doing maintenance and repairs to all equipment in the unit. Isaac also helps students with the use of equipment.
Donald Dawson – Technical Facilities Manager
Tel 011 717 9754
Trained at the SABC studios before joining WITS TV, Donald is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance, repair and installation of all equipment in the unit.