FILMMAKER Tšepiso Mahase says she probably would be jobless and sitting at home had she not chosen to study film.
So deep is her passion for film that she would rather be jobless than work in any other field.
It is this same passion that led the 28-year-old into ditching her Media Studies and Journalism studies at the University of the Free State after just two years in 2010 to follow her passion.
Two years later she moved to Cape Town and enrolled at AFDA film school where she spent another two years. She later moved to City Varsity for one year where she attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and TV Production in 2015.
Born in Roma, Mahase spent her early childhood in Thaba Nchu, in the Free State province.
In a recent interview with the Weekender, Mahase said her curiosity about filmmaking started while she was in high school.
“I had started watching films seriously when I was in Grade 6 and as soon as I could make my way around town by myself, I began renting lots of DVDs,” Mahase said.
“I became fascinated by the behind the scenes clips at the end of some movies. I would watch them and think how interesting the filmmaking process must be although I never imagined doing.
“I only became curious about filmmaking late in high school.”
However, she found herself in journalism school after high school. But realising that she had taken a path that had little joy for her, she quickly moved into film school.
Now based in Morija, Mahase now works for The Hub, a creative technology lab as a script supervisor and says she is happy to express herself as a filmmaker.
“There’s so much to do in film and looking at a credit roll is pretty much looking at the different several career options within film.”
Mahase boasts of a film catalog that includes her debut production, a short-film titled GRAPEFUIT. She is also behind Roses for the Ocean, Pigs Hear Me Cry and Moth (all in 2019), all of which she wrote, directed and produced.
In 2018 GRAPEFUIT was screened at the Schnit Film Festival in Cape Town, Lesotho Film Festival and Buka Arts Short Film Night in Johannesburg. It was also tested at the Black Femme Supremacy Festival in the United States of America that same year.
Last year Roses for the Ocean was screened at the Schnit Film Festival, Lesotho Film Festival, Hazel Eye Film Festival (Cape Town) and Kasi Vibe Film Festival (Johannesburg). Mahase says both films are “licensed to stream on the soon to be launched MTN and Vodacom South Africa’s streaming platforms.”
Among the many challenges that she has faced, Mahase says funding and chauvinism are the critical ones. She however, says she is “fortunate to have employers who support me by not letting my gender define my work”.
She said she is currently working on her next project, another short-film while she expects to release three more films this year. She also hopes to direct a feature film in the near future as she has set her eyes onto the international scene while also exposing Lesotho’s film sector.
“I want my films to reach major international film festivals and I’ll solely be focusing on making films. I hope to get some Basotho filmmakers together to appreciate the art that is cinema,” Mahase said.