Deidre Jantjies is a cultural activist passionate about the historical stories of women. She is the founder of Na Aap Productions, a fully integrated, broad-based production company, screening untold stories of Southern Africa. Jantjies has a long history of stage performing, she took these skills and started writing her own stories that she is creating into short and feature films.
Working extensively on narratives closest to her heart, stories that include indigenous heritage and traditions that have been forgotten is the most important dialogue that she wants to create.
Company founder Deidre Jantjies identified that women needed a voice to represent themselves creatively. This was a great way to start a company that stood for African writers, directors, and producers. In 2020, she co-directed with an Indian storyteller and produced Love Thy Neighbour, an animation short film that won international awards. In the same year, she produced Tweegesig, an online comedy series that featured on Facebook and Stories in die Wind, a web series that she wrote/ directed and produced, about an indigenous story of a young girl finding her purpose. This project opened doors for Na Aap Productions to represent our work on panel discussions at the Durban International Film Mart 2021 and Cape Town International Animation Festival 2021.
Q&A with Deidre Jantjies
Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job entails on a daily basis
My name is Deidre Jantjies, I use to be a flamenco dancer and stage performer. I started my own production company called Na Aap Productions not knowing what it was going to be and when I went on a journey to understand my indigenous Khoekhoe African roots, I realised that I have a responsibility to tell African stories in it’s truest form. My job is to produce and find African stories to turn into feature films, short films, using film & animation. As a producer, I put all the necessary documentation and administration in place to make these films come to life.
How did your journey in the industry begin?
I’ve always been passionate about stories, and animation was one of my most favourite things to watch. I started writing my own stories and because there was not a lot of representation about indigenous Khoekhoe stories I realised that this must be a time for me to produce the stories that I never saw as a child. And when I made this decision 4 years ago, I started learning about film & animation. When I got the groove and got to know the industry that’s when I saw my opportunity.
What are some of your career highlights?
In 2020, I started blooming when I was working on two animation projects. ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ that I co-directed and produced received many awards internationally. My most exciting moment was when we got a feature in the New York Weekly and then ‘Stories in die Wind’ received a lot of attention for it being the first Khoekhoe indigenous animation of its kind in Africa. These two projects really made me feel the bright future ahead for myself as a storyteller and producer.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently producing a feature film, short films and a few series. All of which are African stories in animation and live-action.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
It can offer so much for the African content, the market is really giving us as African’s access to the world and this is needed. Our narrative is now in our own hands, and we have a responsibility to make our stories known to the world the way that we know them.
What do you think the future of the creative industries look like for Africa?
Africa is producing more black & brown voices and this is exciting to know because we are taking action in representing ourselves through the creative industry. And this means that more black & brown writers, directors & producers are understanding that this continent needs them to become the leaders.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone wanting to get into the industry?
Be unapologetic about your art, know who you are so that you can be the great version that you deserve to be.
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