Teboho Edkins has directed nine films and seen these films screened at more than 200 international film festivals. He has won 21 international awards, and he has held 10 individual and group exhibitions at exclusive and remarkable venues such as the Tate Modern in London, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. His last film Coming of Age, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2015, has won seven awards to date and has been screened at more than 40 film festivals.
“I studied photography at the University of Cape Town’s art school and ended up making only video art in my final year,” says Edkins. “Then my father, who was an established documentary filmmaker, offered me the opportunity to direct a film in Lesotho. This first film — Ask Me I am Positive — played at festivals all over the world and encouraged me to apply to film schools in France.”
Edkins grew up in a filmmaking family and believes this really helped him to see it as a tangible, attainable, profession instead of some distant, impossible dream.
“What intrigues me about filmmaking, and especially documentary films, is the process of making them,” says Edkins. “I find that within the documentary, you can be more playful with the genres, moving between fiction and reality. I have been influenced by famous and not-so-famous people, but growing up in Lesotho has been, I think, the greatest influence on my work.”
Edkins plans to continue making films which don’t fit easily into set categories, films which can show in film festivals, but which could work as art pieces in galleries and museums too. He is also keen to explore the idea of making a documentary film with scripted scenes and actors, or a fiction film that is actually a documentary.
“Recently I showed my last film to its cast in Lesotho and I felt it was a moment which stood out in my career so far,” concludes Edkins. “I realised that while my films may have shown all over the world, they are also screening in small mobile cinemas in tiny villages in Lesotho, and I am particularly proud of these diverse spaces.” — Tamsin Oxford