Shane Vermooten

Founder, Cinemo and film director

Shane Vermooten is a film director and social entrepreneur making an impressive mark on the South African filmmaking scene. His first startup, Cinemo, provided pan-African content to more than 400 000 people through low-end mobile phones and he has released a number of short films to market. His most recent film, the full-length medical thriller Bypass, is due for release later in 2016.

“Small particles of light carry images of pirates, princesses, heroes and heroines to millions around the world every day, but these seemingly insignificant particles of light have the power not only to entertain, but to change lives for good,” says Vermooten. “This is why I want to spend the rest of my life making films. It is a medium which has global impact and is not restricted to religion, gender, age or nationality. It is capable of touching the deepest part of people’s hearts across the globe at any point in time.”

Vermooten has been inspired by Danny Boyle, finding his take and style on filmmaking to be powerful and impactful. He is also quick to remember one of Boyle’s best pieces of advice — don’t have an ego.

“It sounds easy, but it can affect the film you are making in such a large way,” says Vermooten. “Boyle believes that the means of production are just as important as what you produce and that ultimately the texture of a film is affected by the honour with which you make it. This has shaped the atmosphere I like to create on my sets.”

For Vermooten, the future is all about making films. It is what he feels most fulfilled doing as he knows that stories can change the world and this ethos is something he very much wants to follow. One of his most memorable moments in his career underscores this belief.

“My first day directing on set we were shooting a film called Freedom Road, and I can still remember driving to the location and thinking I have no idea what I am doing,” says Vermooten. “There is no better way to learn than by doing it. On set I met Anele Matoti, Mama Sylvia and Matthew Dylan Roberts and I discovered how much I enjoy working with actors and digging deep into issues that have genuinely affected people. There was such a sense of authenticity on that set it went on to win awards across the world, including best short narrative at the Pan African Film Festival.” — Tamsin Oxford



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