By: Nosipho Mkhize
The 26 year old Siphesihle Pisteel Mahlawula is the proud owner of Blue Jeans Pictures, a film production company based in the City of uMhlathuze township, Esikhawini, in KwaZulu Natal. Having been born in Gobandlovu Reserve, Siphesihle learnt the fundamental principles of hard work from a very young age. Already when he was in grade 7 he joined the family business, operating the “Adondo” public telephones every day, after school. When the family expanded the business into a full tuckshop the following year, Siphesihle was in high school by then and was only allowed to work on weekends, till he finished his schooling years. This built him to be the businessman that he is today. Inspired by his love for television, but having always dreamt of being a police officer, Siphesihle now uses his film company to make a difference in his community by changing people’s lives through storytelling.
Starting the year with shooting their 3rd film in 4 months, Blue Jeans Pictures is determined to make a mark in the industry and Siphesihle is definitely one of the South Africans to be watching this year. Having studied Television and Film Production at NEMISA in Parktown, Johannesburg, Siphesihle got his first job at SABC Studios by working the camera during the SABC Sports Presenter Search. Now he is working his own camera to tell untold stories from his own township. His current movie is called, “Hard To Get” and is a love story of two broken hearts being brought together by their past. The project is self-funded and we are sure to see it soon on our screens this year.
Siphesihle has a set target to film 24 movies in different parts of KZN this year and to host several workshops in selected areas to help share the knowledge of the industry to those who wish to be in filming. His main concern though, is the lack of support he receives from his local government and the community itself. Most people come to him and say “Can you give us a DVD of your movie?” or “Can we come act in your movie?” he says. “Most locals don’t care to invest in local talent, but they are happy to go to the cinema and pay lots of money for international films,” says Siphesihle.
This young, arts entrepreneur is passionate about his craft and aims to use it to unite young creatives in the industry from grassroot level. Even so, that he himself has been united with his own love through his craft and works side by side with his lady to build Blue Jeans Pictures. Enthusiastic about raising fresh new talent, Siphesihle is always working with new faces, making sure he gives everyone a chance to shine in their own light. We are confident that he will not only be touching the lives of his own local community, but that of the world… A big high-five to Pisteel!