Story-telling through the lens of a phone

An initiative to incubate aspirant filmmakers in Zamdela, Sasolburg, to tell stories through the cellphone lens has given birth to a groundbreaking filmmaking project. Lack of elementary photographic resources did not deter these youthful and artistic minds from pursuing their dreams and desires of story-telling. All they did was to unlock the power of the phone lens and tell their stories.

The cellphone became a vital instrument through which these creative minds could capture and tell their stories.  Having been forced to shut-down on everything they were doing in Johannesburg due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic both Mase and Lebohang had to retreat and return home, and that’s where they realized the need for story-telling. That led to the birth of the Riots Project. Behind this project is its Executive Producer Masetsheo ‘Mase’ Machedi, who has worked on a number of film productions and has successfully produced number of short films and motivational tapes, and Lebohang oa Machedi.  

Since it was launched in 2021 the project has worked with over 10 young storytellers from Zamdela to tell their stories through the incubate program within the project. Each story teller had his or her own topic, telling it through a short phone filmed documentary. Story tellers covered topics such as Bullying, Drugs, Single Motherhood and other fascinating true topics. Machedi, who has been part of mentoring and guiding these aspiring story tellers as they film their own work said there is so much talent in many young people that has to be unearthed and nurtured.

“Without resources and equipment we thought of using phones for these short documentaries.  All these work will be taken to bigger stages such as film festivals where broadcasters pick up these content and we are forging alliance with national and international festivals and other corporations all over the world. We will also be introducing a Riots Channel were these documentaries can be viewed  and we are also looking for other media partners that can further display these content” said Machedi.

Machedi a documentary filmmaker himself  and a writer, actor and director said Riots Project will also be soon launching QoQa Documentary and Film-making Incubator with schools in Free State and Gauteng, were aspiring learners will be mentored and do documentaries that will be showcased via online and other various platforms in September this year.

Machedi is currently a host of Back to Zero on SABC 2, and in his journey over the years he went to Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking Enrolling with FUBA, and participated in Wits School of Arts and awarded the MOST PROMISING filmmaker award, wrote drama and a series of 31 episodes for Lesedi Fm and under the flagship of Riots project they will be soon releasing two documentaries of Coalbrook Mine Disaster of 1960 and of the late Ntate Dr KPD Maphalla