FILM DIRECTOR SPEAK: Legend Manqele

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Legend Manqele

This month Screen Africa caught up with Legend Manqele, director and founder of Barleader Productions…

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOU AS A FILMMAKER? 

I come from a small family but growing up as a middle child I always felt like no one loved me (like most middle children, I suffered from middle child syndrome). So I think everything I have done in my career has been about making bold moves and the biggest statements, because as a middle child I know how to easily escape from all the eyeballs and go about my business which is meaningful to me.

WHAT LED YOU TO OPEN YOUR PRODUCTION COMPANY – BARLEADER PRODUCTIONS?

I was too much of an outsider! I needed a production house that understood that times were changing. I also look up to people like Retti from Burnt Onion – a young company doing great things – and I felt that I was ready to take on the world. I started my company with the hopes that other young creatives would also feel inspired to make bold moves in starting their own businesses!

WHAT KIND OF CONTENT DO YOU ENJOY CREATING? 

I enjoy creating all types of content…I hope I find myself with a library of content. I am always looking to reinvent myself in the content space. I have a fear of being boxed.

YOU’VE WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BIGGEST MEDIA PERSONALITIES, INCLUDING BONANG MATHEBA ON HER RECENT REALITY TV SERIES – WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Bonang is one of my favourite people in the world. She has a standard and I love that. “Working up” is a great challenge. I love her!

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

We are working on a lot of international content including a film pilot in Australia.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? 

My childhood is still fuelling a lot of my inspiration but I have to say the global community is really producing some amazing content.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CAREER CHALLENGE TO DATE? 

People pleasing is not a great thing to have to do as a director…I’m still working on this.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?

The people who work at Barleader are truly a highlight. I love the Barleader family. I’m proud to have the opportunity to lead them.

TOP THREE FAVOURITE FILMS OF ALL TIME?

If I must: The Hours. Revolutionary Road. The Reader.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM SHOOT LOCATION? 

Port St. Johns is the most beautiful place in the world.

ANY ADVICE FOR EMERGING LOCAL FILMMAKERS 

Be malleable and agile. It may hurt but just bend.

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