The South African filmmaker known as Uzanenkosi was the original creator and
executive producer for his company, ANTS Multimedia, on the award-winning
television drama series InterSEXions. Also a writer, producer and director,
Uzanenkosi’s name is synonymous with productions like Evita & Loyiso’s Dinner with
The President, Zola 7, Big Brother Africa (I & II), A Place Called Home, 90 Plein
Street, Soul Buddyz and Desmond Dube’s Dube On Monday, among others. He recently
directed is debut feature film, uSKROEF noSEXY.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING KNOWN PROFESSIONALLY BY A SINGLE,
The upside: branding is easier. I am the only Uzanenkosi I know. If there is another
one out there, I would rather he was mistaken for me than I for him. The downside:
you forsake all nepotism benefits.
CAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME?
The famous actor Patrick Stewart pronounced it just fine when I received the Peabody
Award for InterSEXions. Since then, I’ve been unforgiving of those who don’t.
YOU’VE SUCCESSFULLY STRADLED BOTH TELEVISION AND FILM – WHICH MEDIUM DO
YOU PREFER AND WHY?
I prefer film. uSKROEF noSEXY, my one and only feature film, I own. All my work in
television belongs to somebody else.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR INTERSEXIONS?
I began to wonder what HIV/Aids was here to teach us. When the Tsunami hit in
2006, it surprised me how human beings put aside all the things that get in the way
of their lives (among them reasons not to want to learn the right way to pronounce
someone’s name) to help others. When I asked a colleague and friend why we do
that, he said disasters are here to teach us about compassion. The question I asked
next was what gave birth to InterSEXions.
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN FROM MAKING USKROEF NOSEXY?
Making films is like living in Africa – it is not for sissies. And guns aside, everyone
makes it out alive at the end of a film, but some friendships don’t survive it.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DIRECTORIAL STYLE? ARE YOU A HITLER OR A
I would like to think I am collaborative, but I am not. Whatever it takes – I want my
performance. With some actors need you to be a honey for them to do their best.
Some need you to come close to a Hitler. I was nowhere near him in uSKROEF
WHAT IS THE LOONIEST SHOOT YOU’VE EVER DONE AND WHY?
A few years ago, I had to direct a scene in which a student was trying to seduce, and
later blackmail, her professor. Whatever direction I gave, the student would play it
the same way. Whatever film example I pointed too, the actress hadn’t seen. It got
crazier from there.
HOW DO YOU CHILL OUT?
I used to prefer loud music and drinking. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t take the
hangovers. I am trying to find something else to do. Reading and watching movies is
far from chilling out for me.
IF YOUR LIFE HAD A SOUNDTRACK WHAT SONG/S WOULD BE ON IT?
Me’shell NdengeOcello, Bob Marley and Prince, before he found God or God found him,
would be the artists on my soundtrack. Choose any song by anyone of these artists, I
have lived it or am preparing to live it.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIES OF ALL TIME AND WHY?
I think Olivier Marchal’s 36 is incredible. I envy Cinema Paradiso and Life Is Beautiful.
Like Water for Chocolate is A Walk in the Clouds for me. The Gods Must Be Crazy,
Gums and Noses and Discreet are the only three South African films, thus far, I am
compelled to beat. I put on a pedestal both In the Mood for Love and Old Boy. That
said, leave me alone when I am watching Vertigo.
WHAT REALLY BIG MOVIE STAR WOULD YOU REALLY, REALLY LIKE TO WORK WITH
I would like to work with Scarlet Johansson. I need to find out for myself if she is
really that gorgeous. I don’t believe it and if it takes casting her in a movie to prove
myself wrong, so be it.
WHY DID YOU CREATE THE KWENZE KWENZEKE (MAKE IT HAPPEN) DISTRIBUTION
I don’t believe in creatives without creative solutions especially for what affects them
directly. We need to get our movies past piracy to their audience. Failing that, our
local industry will always be starting up. You can only be an upcoming filmmaking for
so long – trust me. Kwenze Kwenzeke is my creative solution to making sure
uSKROEF noSEXY finds its way to its audience and out-perfoms piracy. I hope the
infrastructure after that is used more than our 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer staduims.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHT?
Meeting David Simon, the creator of The Wire. There’s a series I covet.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am developing a detective feature called Makhekhe, supported by the National Film
and Video Foundation (NFVF). I’ve also started mapping out uSKROEF noSEXY II.
LoveWars, a five-part television series, will probably be the first thing out my door.
Screen Africa magazine – April 2013