SEE: South African film director's movie selected for Oscar-qualifying film festival

SEE: South African film director's movie selected for Oscar-qualifying film festival

Marian de Pontes and her latest body of work are taking Hollywood by storm.

Etana - A Short Film/Facebook

You might be asking yourself: "Who is Marian de Pontes?"

She might not be a household name just yet, but she is quickly making her way towards being one of Hollywood's biggest up-and-coming stars.

Not only are her films a must-watch, but she herself is one to watch.

De Pontes is originally from South Africa but currently lives in Los Angeles, California and is working as a director in the heart of Hollywood.

After finishing at the top of her class for South Africa Film Production studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was given the opportunity to attend one of the four best film schools in the world - Chapman University.

While she was still at Chapman, she was lucky enough to be mentored by Edward Saxon, known for his work on 'Silence of the Lambs', and now after completing her studies, she is being mentored by the producer of titles that include 'The Butler' and 'Dallas Buyers Club', Cassian Elwes. 

You could say that she is following in the footsteps of other South African directors who have been able to make the jump to the international mainstream film industry, like Gavin Hood ('Wolverine') and Jann Truner ('Castle'), but she is carving out her own path.

Marian's greatest desire and passion is to create films that feature and highlights diverse, inclusive voices sharing women's stories.

She is also looking to share African stories, as she has done with her most recent project, 'Etana'.

The story was inspired by a New York Times article about the child soldiers in South Sudan.

The film features actress Vivian Mweze as the title character and follows her as she makes it her mission to flee from the forced subjugation of the army that deploys child soldiers.

While the production had faced its fair share of obstacles in the last year, things are certainly starting to look up.

A few weeks ago, they took to social media and shared the incredible news that they have been selected for the 45th Cleveland International Film Festival Shorts Program.

The short film has also already earned her a Horizon Award and a finalist position at the 2021 USA Film Festival.

The Cleveland International Film Festival, however, is one of the few remaining Academy Award-qualifying film festivals in the world for short films, so this is no ordinary film festival and this selection holds a lot of potential.

We'll be crossing our fingers although we're sure 'Etana' will only continue on to bigger and better things.

And what will Marian be tackling next?

We definitely cannot wait to see the upcoming stories Marian will be sharing.

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Main image courtesy of Etana - A Short Film/Facebook

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