A Port Elizabeth film producer, Pholile Maneli, is on a quest to produce a film dealing with social issues affecting the youth, following a trip to the US where she spent three weeks working with the homeless. By Devon Koen
Maneli, 29, and her husband, Nkosinathi, 37, were invited to the US by the Youth With a Mission, Ocean City, New Jersey initiative.
The couple presented lectures on the principles and theory of documentary making to a group of rehabilitated youths taken in from the streets.
"The organisation takes youths off the streets and helps rehabilitate them, making sure that when they leave they can get back on their feet, can pay rent, buy food and even go back to school," Maneli said.
While on the trip to New Jersey in September and October, Maneli helped produce a documentary based on one of the young girls taken in by the initiative.
The documentary, Light Through a Broken Vessel, is in the post-production process and should be available online soon.
The all-expenses paid invite came after Maneli produced a two-part short-form documentary-style film about human trafficking.
The two-part film is on YouTube.
"Women are invited to VIP tables at nightclubs," Maneli said.
"Men then drug them, rape them and sell them into human trafficking."
Maneli's production company, gtasia, in collaboration with events company Sisterhood, created the video to show to young women and girls from vulnerable communities.
"We want them [potential victims] to see what is happening out there and to teach them to be careful," she said.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) graduate is now busy with the pre-production process for a feature-length film which deals with contemporary issues ranging from human trafficking to racism, inter-cultural awareness and coming of age.
"The film is inspired by the short [film] we produced last year and will look at issues affecting the youth in our communities," Maneli said.
Hoping to start filming as early as March, Maneli said one of the main features of the film would be that it is purely local with cast and crew sourced from Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas.
"We need to highlight the talent we have in Nelson Mandela Bay," she said.
"I want a purely local production with educational elements dealing with social issues."
Born and raised in Swaziland, Maneli studied filmmaking at UCT before meeting her Port Elizabeth-born husband, Nkosinathi.
The couple are now based in Port Elizabeth and, through her company, Maneli offers short courses and seminars on filmmaking.