Jenna Cato Bass
Writer-director-producer Jenna exploded onto the South African film scene with her debut LOVE THE ONE YOU LOVE in 2014 in which she shot, edited, produced, wrote and directed. The film garnered five awards including Best SA Feature and Best Direction at Africa’s premiere film festival in Durban, Best feature Film at Jozi Film Festival, a Young Audience Award at Nantes Three Continents Festival, and Best First Feature Film by a Director at the African Movie Academy Awards, the following year. Body swap comedy HIGH FANTASY came next; entirely shot on an iPhone Jenna workshopped the film with the cast and played with contemporary South African themes of land expropriation, gender and race politics amongst the Born-Free generation. The film played at AFI and Berlin amongst others, where it was nominated for the Audience and Teddy awards respectively. In 2018 Jenna co-wrote RAFIKI – the controversial Kenyan gay love story with director Wanuri Kahiu that was banned on home turf. The film played widely at festivals, won several awards, and was nominated for the Cannes Un Certain Regard and Queer Palm awards at the 2018 festival. Jenna’s third feature, FLATLAND – a contemporary female western set in South Africa’s semi desert Karoo region – opened the 2019 Berlinale Panorama programme. A “picaresque road movie”, it was compared by Variety to the work of Andrea Arnold; with its “free, friction-based energy of the film’s performance style and the ragged lyricism …[and] its happy mixing of gravelly realist texture and romantic metaphor”. A portrait of femininity the film was produced by South African vet and Jenna’s long-time collaborator David Horler and distributed by The Match Factory. Fourth feature GOOD MADAM (MLUNGU WAM) produced by Causeway Films (THE BABADOOK) and distributed by Shudder, the pic premiered in the 2021 TIFF Platform to fabulous reviews. Jenna is developing across film and television with a teen horror comedy with Nim Geva of SA’s Quizzical Pictures.
Represented by David Kayser