Thembi

Director: Jo Menell
Country: South Africa
Year: 2010
Running Time: 48 min
Language: English

Confident and eloquent Thembi epitomizes the youth of South Africa. Thembi came to fame through her audio diary for the US National Public Radio. It documented her daily life in Khayelitsha and the physical, social and emotional struggle of living with HIV. This gentle documentary explores some of the issues she is confronted with, including the vagaries of being a celebrity.

About the Director

Jo Menell

Biography: Jo Menell was born in Johannesburg in 1938. He was educated at Rugby School and Trinity College Cambridge where he received a M.A. in Anthropology. From 1960-1970 he worked as a reporter, producer and director of current affairs documentaries for the BBC (Panorama) and ITV (This Week). In 1969 he produced and directed three one-hour documentaries on South Africa which resulted in his being banned by the South African government. From 1970-1973, he was the deputy director-general of Chilean National TV during the Salvador Allende regime. From 1973-80, he was a freelance director of documentaries for BBC, Globo (Brazil) and P.B.S. (USA). In 1981 he directed and produced The Life and Times of Bob Marley, the authorized story of Marley’s life, which was distributed worldwide and is available on DVD. In 1985 he co-produced and co-directed Haiti – Dreams of Democracy with Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs). From 1990-2005 he lived in San Francisco, California, where he produced and directed documentaries for P.B.S. Channel 9. In 1996 he received an Oscar nomination for Mandela, an authorized biography, co-directed with Angus Gibson. In 2005 he returned to live in South Africa, and in 2006 made SHAG, a film that explores women’s views on sex and AIDS in present-day Cape Town. From 2008 to 2010, he directed and co-produced Street Talk with Richard Mills, a weekly documentary for Cape Town TV (CTV). In 2010 he made the documentary Thembi, the story of a young AIDS activist from Khayalitsha.

(Source: http://thembithefilm.com/news)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Mandela (1997 – Angus Gibson, Jo Menell);
Thembi (2011).

Filmography:
The Life and Times of Bob Marley (1981);
Jasone Modjadji (1983);
Kosi Bay (1985);
Haiti – Dreams of Democracy (1985 – Jonathan Demme, Jo Menell);
Freedom Square & Back of the Moon (1987);
Singing the Changes (1988);
Dick: A Film by Jo Menell (1989 – Jo Menell, B. Moel);
Nowhere to Play – Conversations with Sowetan Golfers (1990);
Soweto, A History (1994);
Mandela (1996 – Angus Gibson, Jo Menell);
Blank (2000);
SHAG (2006);
Zone 14 (2007);
Street Talk (2008-2010);
Thembi (2010).