Former interns turned star filmmakers on hit Mzansi Magic show

M-Net’s Magic in Motion Film Academy alumni show us their brilliant filmmaking skills with their new show, Impilo. Watch it on Mzansi Magic.

Meeting each other as interns at M-Net’s Magic in Motion Academy in 2015 and spending time at MultiChoice’s Enterprise Development programme, writer Mbali Zulu, producer Aluta Qupa and director Thembalethu Mfebe went on to start their own production company A Tribe Called Story.

After Mzansi Magic commissioned the trio to produce three movies – Moratuwa, Umqhele and Unkosikazi Wokuqala – they developed a 13-part drama series Impilo, about a schoolboy who becomes ensnared by his dad’s pyramid scheme in Alexandra.

Mbali Zulu described Impilo as “a genuine, coming-of-age-story. We have this trope of absent fathers in South Africa, so we’re exploring the relationship between a matric boy trying to be a man and reconnecting with his father he hasn’t seen in 10 years. It’s actually an emotional story that anyone in the world can relate to.”

Thembalethu Mfebe said in an interview: “We’re young people, we’re starting out – it’s about being taken seriously and trying to know how to lead people who have been there before you. That can be a bit complicated. Also, now that we’ve put our project out there, it’s out there for people to criticise and have their own opinion, so I’m just nervous about that.”

Aluta Qupa said that she has grown as a person, as a creative and as an entrepreneur. “I went from trying to find a job, to being determined to create jobs for others. My passion is to tell our African stories. Having the ability to educate, entertain and influence society and make a difference gives me quite an adrenalin rush.”

Aluta went on to praise Multichoice’s Enterprise Development programme which she said allowed them to showcase what they are capable of doing. “This kind of initiative ensures everyone is given a fair chance to get into the industry, to show what they can do and refine their craft.”

About what they still have to achieve and the type of TV stories they still want to tell as A Tribe Called Story, Thembalethu said they want to tell the stories that young people are living: “What we are going through, stories that people can relate to – as well as going international.” He said he would still like to one day collaborate with American showrunner, writer and producer, Shonda Rhimes.

The trio aspires to produce a weekday TV soapie, multi-season local series and feature films! With the hopes of being “part of putting a proper stamp” on the country’s TV industry.

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