5 minutes with … Okuhle Dyosopu

5 minutes with … Okuhle Dyosopu

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?

My name is Okuhle Dyosopu. I am a filmmaker who mostly makes documentaries. I am based in the Eastern Cape and I love story telling.

What are you currently up to? Are there any exciting projects ongoing?

I am currently busy on two projects, one is my first fiction work titled Ivangeli Lo Thando under a short story anthology and it is in post production. The second project in pre-production is my first feature length documentary titled Missing Middle.

What’s your best project/work to date?

I have yet to do my best work, oftentimes I wonder if I ever will. But my most favourite work presently is a  11 minute short film I made during my time in Japan titled A Performance on  Femininity that was selected to screen at the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival this year. I love this work not because it is my best but it was my most honest vulnerable piece and it reflected a lot of my inner turmoil. What made me fall in love with documentaries was how honest they are in reflecting the times and society at large and A Performance on Femininity was my mirror to my most inner darkest parts, parts I had kept hidden for so long. I would actually love to re-edit the film and reveal more … I definitely have more to say on my struggles with femininity.

Who or what inspires you?

History inspires me and the origins of my people drive my work. Each work is a step closer to discovering more of my origins, more of who I am in the hopes it can inspire the people who watch my films. Right now a recurring theme in my life and my films is ancestral healing.  The journey of ancestral healing has been a profoundly impactful one and now it appears all over my work both intentionally and subconsciously. My journey to discovering my ancestors and healing them and myself has inspired my recent work and I am excited to see where it leads.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?

I don’t know if I am ever not working because part of my process to make work is living. I live to make work that is authentic and relevant to my audience and I work to live. So each moment from long meditations on the beach, to impromptu travels to getting a coffee at my favourite cafe this all to me is part of my process in creating beautiful films. I love films, I live for films and being based in a space where there is no industry, presents many challenges but it also alleviates the pressures of the hustle and bustle of film work. Instead my work transcends beyond and film and my life co-exist in parallel this brings me great fulfilment .

Finally, what tips or advice could you give to other documentary creatives, just starting out or to the most experienced creatives needing a bit of encouragement?

I remember speaking to Zola Maseko, a legendary filmmaker. He told me; you have to choose a film everyday because on most days it won’t choose you. I have experienced this as a black woman in this industry. I often feel outcast in this industry also especially because I chose to be based in the Eastern Cape for my whole film career and strictly being an independent filmmaker who excessively practices abolitionism politics in all that I do. Everyday I have to choose to love film — even on days it won’t love me back. I feel this especially for documentary work the industry globally has historically neglected documentary film work. But documentary filmmakers are some of the best people I know and I am so grateful to be part of the DFA, amongst filmmakers I love and respect.