Mpho Twala is a people’s person, his infectious personality emanates positivity, shown in his astounding ability to ensure that everyone on set is taken care of. A producer turned creative director, Mpho believes every single person in the filmmaking process is important, resulting in his cohesive narratives coming to life on screen.
Mpho prides himself on his creativity and ability to flesh out ideas, however, he is a keen observer and always allows others to put their ideas first. He takes great pride and care in his work and his desire to understand his audience is shown in his craft.
Born in Soweto, Mpho has lived all over the world, from Cape Town to Antwerp (Belgium), before settling back in Johannesburg to follow his film and entrepreneurial career. Mpho started his career making tea, a well-worn film industry tradition, and has climbed through the ranks to become one of Africa’s most successful producers turned directors.
Working his way through production, Mpho found himself in Belgium, where he spent then next six years learning the ropes until South Africa called him home. Here his deep desire to create films that were significant to the African continent and its people was awakened. This led to a decision to forego his producing career. His directorial debut was a TKZee music video and he has subsequently worked with clients such as Nike, Bosch, Iwisa, P&G , Reckitt Benkiser, Unilever and Hennessey to name but a few, but he is mindful of being type-cast and loves all filmmaking.
Mpho has won a number of awards and accolades across the African continent for his commercial work. His Vicks “Speak up for Nigeria” TV commercial for Procter and Gamble was one of the Top 10 Nigerian TV commercials of 2011, completely refashioning Nigerian advertising and awakening a sense of nationalism and pride. It remains a case study demonstrating how national pride can be mobilised in advertising.
Mpho has worked at Velocity Afrika as a creative director and an executive partner. He was an executive partner, creative producer and co-director at Kalash Filmworks. He has also worked at Caviar Content Belgium, Fresh Water Films and Deadtime Productions.
Mpho has a real love for mentoring, a project he takes seriously, allocating time each year to spending time in other African countries where he encourages kids to tell their stories and dream their dreams.
He takes great pride and care in his work and his desire to understand his audience is shown in his craft – he pours his soul into each job, treating it as though it is his first. He quotes his daughter, Mhudi Blaise, when asked what inspires him most: “You are never fully dressed without a smile.”
People come first, to really understand someone and translate that to the screen, you need to live in their shoes. I want to tell real stories; the tale of poverty as an open wound. I want to explore real depictions of black boys growing into black men and what that means in South Africa. Film creates culture and culture creates film.
I am a dreamer, I want to be a mentor to dreamers. Everyone has a story inside them and film is a great opportunity to live that purpose.
– Mpho Twala, director, The Rudeboy Collective