South African up-and-coming director and Nadledi Awards Judge Obett Motaung has already had a prolific effect on the local film industry and last month, he was one of 24 selected film makers from around the world who were invited to showcase their work at the Jerusalem Film Festival. The JFW is a five-week summer program in Israel, designed for talented young filmmakers from all around the world.

Additionally, Obett was selected as one of six directors to put together a short film over the period of one month, in and around the ancient city of Ein Kerem – an artist hub in Israel today. He created a film centered around the Hadassa Children’s Ward titled ‘My Playground’. We caught up with the star shortly after his film screened at the popular international event.

Congrats on scoring a coveted spot at this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival. Why, in your opinion, are these festivals so important for the film industry?

Film festivals are a great opportunity for young independent filmmakers because it is an opportunity for your work to be seen as well as a great networking opportunity to help secure the contacts to work on your next project and help distribute your film.

Give us some insight into your time at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

It was really intense but wonderful at the same time. It was challenging being a new country and having to make a film with new people but, fortunately, the mentors where there at every step of the way and guided the process. My five-week stay with all Jerusalem Film Workshop participants was a total rollercoaster of learning, extending my network and outright fun. I had the best time.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your film.

As part of the programme, we were given the subject of the film which was to focus on Dr Saar. We choose to focus the film on how he deals with all the trauma he faces in the ER – something doctors around the world deal with.

Why do you think so many people have already identified with your movie?

The film reminds everyone how, at the end of the day, there is an inner child in each and every one of us and that innocence is something that resonates with people.

The South African film industry is booming. Why do you think the world is finally sitting up and taking note of our South African talent?

I think the world is hungry for new stories and new talent and South African seems to be find it! We really have it all here. The country is rich in stories and the industry has churned out some incredible content over the past few years which the world can’t overlook.

Besides the film’s appearance at the Jerusalem Film Festival, what else can we expect from you over the next few months?

I am planning attend a couple of international trips to begin the process of working on my upcoming feature films which I am really excited about.

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