Located in Milpark Johannesburg, Atlas studios has always been a hub for
creatives in the film industry. If you are an established or aspiring television or film producer in search of a space to engage with the industry, to digest industry politics or to just sit in on discussions, look no further.

Under its new Chairperson, Akin Omotoso -the Independent Producers Organisation curates
monthly interactive discussions. Each night is free and features a different producer, a different view and free popcorn.

The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) is a representative, national organisation of independent South African film, television and video producers constituted to represent, protect and promote the interests and needs of producers.

Thapelo Mokoena embodies these values as he sits across from Akin. There’s a table
in-between them with enough bottles of water to signal, it’s going to be a long one.
The questions keep pouring in and we are begining to know the man behind the Hunter’s Dry ad.

His life is far from dry. Raised in Ladysmith KZN, he was one of the first four black kids to attend a white school.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always cared for stories, I’ve always cared for the arts”

He is passionate and open to sharing himself with us.
Mokoena’s mother disapproved of a career in the arts. But when he enrolled at Wits Tech for an Accounting Degree – Jim came to Jo’burg and scored big with his first ad propelling his mother
to believe in his dream. He traded Wits Tech for AFDA and balance sheets for scripts.

He wears many hats. That of an Actor, Producer and Distributor.

In 2011, he produced his first feature film ‘Skuif’: A movie about five characters whose lives are intertwined by their addiction to cigarettes.”

Mokoena also forms one part of the team behind Kasi Movie Nights. A mobile cinema initiative
in the township, to make cinemas more accessible for the marginalized masses.

“Going to the movies needs to stop being an exercise and start becoming a lifestyle”

This is his attempt at turning the cinema into the ultimate cool. The passionate multi-faceted actor is quite vocal in his critique of the industry for its lack of patriotism

“We consume so much content that is not our own”

He encourages us to ‘Change our Language’ when marketing films. “We need to stop saying go ‘go support our films, this is not a cause! You have to bring you’re A-Game!”

We had an introspective night. It’s a good time to be alive and active in the film industry.
We need more conversations like these.


About author