Malope is a filmmaker on a mission. She is currently working on Straight Talk: Stories of Homophobia, which is inspired by homophobic attacks that take place in South Africa.
“The aim is for me to give the victims a voice,” she says. “And I hope that the documentary helps to change the perceptions of the viewers.”
Finding funding as a filmmaker
Raising enough money to make films is a challenge that has plagued Malope throughout her career. After receiving training in television and radio production at Boston Media College and then completing a 12-month programme at Big Fish School of Filmmaking, Malope found herself unable to find employment for a year.
To keep herself afloat financially, she began printing her Maalkop brand onto plain T-shirts and selling them for a profit. This led her to form her company Maalkop Trading and Projects in 2010.
“This endeavour allowed me to cover my living expenses while I found freelance work in the TV industry. I have plans for grow the Maalkop brand and turn into a sustainable business,” says Malope.
She adds that the reality is that a lack of financing is crippling the filmmaking sector. In a bid to secure funding, she pitched at a business investment competition where a judge told her that filmmaking isn’t a business worth investing in.
“There are so many good scripts that are not being shot. I have had to acknowledge that some documentary filmmakers die poor and that is a problem. What I would like to achieve is to turn documentary filmmaking into a sustainable business.”
Malope previously worked on a documentary about rapper Mr Selwyn, which was broadcast on Mzansi Magic and she is currently working on a film about Ntimbwe Mpamba, the oldest living HIV person in Africa.
In 2012, she made a public service announcement that aimed to raise awareness about homophobia, which won the MNet Tag award for Special Mention Best Sound. This success later inspired her to make the current film she is working on.
Each year the Department of Trade and Industry sponsors filmmakers to travel to the UK, France and the US to secure funding for their films. Malope was awarded the opportunity to attend the various events including the Sheffield International Documentary Festival in the UK, Sunny Side of the Doc in France, and the International Film Festival in the Netherlands.
With a lot of hard work, dedication and hustling, Malope managed to secure funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency to market her film. She has applied for funding from primary film funding agencies both nationally and abroad.
“My journey has taught me patience and handwork. I now strive to learn with every step I take and absorb as much knowledge as I can. It’s also important to value the connections you make with people,” she says.
What advice does she have for aspiring creatives? “You will need to work, sometimes for years but one day you will achieve your goals. Keep pushing!”