One of Mpumalanga’s most scenic tourist towns is about to become the location of a horror short film to be entered in the South African Film Festival. Author, Graphic designer and Photographer Ricardo Mosteke, who goes by his pseudonym, ‘Steven Moonlight’, has teamed up with African Academy of Cinematic Arts alumnus, Thabang Mike Mogane to bring this project to life. The duo aspires not only to expose local talent to a professional experience in the art of cinema, but to grow their brands by showcasing their unique forms of creativity in one venture.
Steven Moonlight is currently the founder of a small publishing company named ‘Write Handerz Publishers’ which aims to help aspiring authors in various ways, including going digital to keep up with the fourth industrial revolution, manuscript formatting, editing, designing personalized book covers and a variety of writing related courses. This company is designed to act as a guide to entry-level writers with dreams of taking their writing skills and their sales to the next level. Moonlight is also the author of dystopic novel ‘We All Going to be History’ depicting how, in his words, “the simulation is not in place yet but as consumers we are slowly creating it. Before you know it, life is going to be a computer generated programme.”
Actor, director, producer and owner of production company ‘Miktek Media’, Mike Mogane, is a passionate performing artist who also possesses behind-the-scenes skills necessary for a cinematic production of this nature. In the past Mike has been cast in several student films and is yet to make his big screen debut. He majored in acting with a sub-major in cinematography at the AACA, where he was honored with a nomination under the category of ‘best lead actor’ at the institution’s 2019/2020 graduation ceremony. Mike officially made his producing debut on a film titled “The confession” which motivated his continued pursuit of this line of work. This talented performer has aspirations to nurture the next generation of actors who may not have the resources within Graskop and surrounding areas such as Bushbuckridge.
Graskop is a small forestry town within Mpumalanga that is famous for its breathtaking scenery and unique natural attractions that surround it. According to the town website, it is “a popular tourist destination and is renowned for its pancake bars and curio shops”. Graskop is also known for its cold, foggy and somewhat gloomy weather conditions, which will provide the perfect undertones for the production of “The Dark Shadow” in portraying its themes. The vibrancy of the area combined with the scenery is surely bound to compliment the creation of this prospective production.
As young creatives, the duo has expressed some challenges faced by people like them when attempting to produce work that may require the involvement of the community, the primary one being rejection due to uncommunicated reasons or without any constructive feedback. They note, however, that the only way to overcome is to keep on perservering. When asked about their reasons for taking on a project like this in an area with relatively no active performance industry, they stated that, “the idea is to bring these kinds of opportunities to our home town and eventually eliminate the need to relocate in order to find success or have access to the market.” They also expressed that there is so much talent within the province that has nowhere to go to be nurtured or explored and that essentially cuts the wings off of aspiring performers who cannot afford to pack up and go risk it all in the big cities without any certainty or security. Interestingly enough, “during this process we have received a number of enquiries about how any individual can get started with acting or being engaged in the performing arts. Hence the need to implement a mentorship type of relationship with the cast to ensure that this experience will add some value to their prospective careers. There is a lot of raw talent to here that only needs to be moulded- given the right opportunities, something amazing could happen and we want to be the ones to do that.”
The Dark Shadow, written by Steven Moonlight and directed by Mike Mogane is currently holding digital casting calls for the starring roles and the rest of the production crew. Interested parties, both male and female from Mpumalanga between ages 17-28 are encouraged to participate by sending an audition clip via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp: 076 602 7698/064 504 5106.
Storytelling is the medium that brought these young minds together and surely this will be the first step towards engaging the youth and informing them of the validity of their dreams regardless of how infeasible they may currently seem.