Meet Earl Kopeledi – a first-time filmmaker and a marketing veteran who has been working on international brands for 20 years and is currently Head of Marketing for Luxottica Retail in South Africa. Earl specializes in brand storytelling and produces marketing campaigns for global brands like Coty and Sunglass Hut.
His debut film, 2 Thirds of a man was launched at FAME Week Africa in 2021 and gave him the opportunity to explore his love for storytelling through the medium of film. Since FAME Week Africa, 2 Thirds of a man has received recognition on the international film festival circuit, receiving an honourable mention in the Best Feature Film category in the Las Vegas Independent Film Festival. Earl received the Best 1st-time director award for his production and direction of the film.
Q&A with Earl
Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job entails
I have been working in the marketing space for over 20 years and currently I work as the head of marketing for a fashion retail chain. I work with a team that has the responsibility of looking after the full marketing suite of the organization. This includes the media mix, CRM, eComm, PR and all digital platforms.
How did your journey in the film industry begin?
I believe that at the core all marketers are storytellers. Your job is to create engaging narratives aligned with a brand purpose that should assist in driving the commercial objectives.
Like most marketing jobs, it is only partly creative with a lot of admin and compliance thrown in to keep you honest. I wanted to find an outlet to use more of my creative instincts. This journey led me to write a screenplay that I soon realised will live in pdf format on my computer unless I make it. This realisation kick-started the crazy journey to become an Indie filmmaker.
What are some of your career highlights?
Working on global brands and winning accolades for the South African market has always been some of the proudest moments, but few things beat the feeling of a creative idea well planned and executed. Every time you built a narrative, and see the intended audience react you understand the power of storytelling.
What and who inspires you?
People that live an authentic life. The brave ones that speak their truth even when it’s not the popular opinion. The kind ones that even when they are vilified for living their truth can still find the strength to smile in the face of it.
What projects are you currently working on?
The focus is to find a home for 2 Thirds of a man. I hope more people get to see the young talented cast do their thing. I also started writing a new script that I am excited about.
What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?
When you put a group of passionate people together and align them on one common goal great things happen. It feels like art is the most important catalyst we should invest in during this weird time. Africa has a lot of untold stories and whether you express that through music or visual arts it needs to be told by people from Africa.
How do you think we can grow the creative industry and bring the African continent to the world?
Just by creating the platform to bring artist together and working very, very hard to find the voices that needs amplification.
What do you love most about Cape Town?
I feel like I should be on a retainer from Cape Town tourism as I am always, in an unapologetic way (might even be perceived as slightly aggressive lol), promoting it as a destination to every foreigner I meet. I am not originally from Cape Town and will always be a small-time boy at heart, but there is something undeniably important about this place at the Southern point of Africa where it all started.
Read more Behind the Scenes interviews here
Watch the full FAME Africa Week discussion here