Free Women Films (FWF) is a multiple award-winning South African Film and TV production company specializing in fiction and non-fiction storytelling. We have been at the forefront of creating original and innovative content for the African continent and beyond. FWF was formed in November 2013, and is a fully-fledged female-owned level 1 BBBEE company, Judi Nwokedi (Executive Director), Tsholo Mashile (Executive Producer) and Kamscilla Naidoo (Executive Head of Development). Carolyn Carew is the Executive Producer.
We pride ourselves in having produced some of South Africa’s feature films The Number and Farewell Ella Bella, (supervising producer on Sew The Winter To My Skin), seminal documentaries From Underground to the Corridors of Power, and Nelson Mandela, the Myth and Me, and Sobukwe, A Great Soul.
Our award winning dramas include When We Were Black, 90 Plein Street, and Noah’s Ark.
Our Pan-African social marketing campaigns with over 500 million viewers weekly - IT Begins with You and Imagine Afrika - from 2006-2011. We run and produced loveLife’s multi-media youth campaign from 1999 to 2008, one of the largest youth campaigns globally.
Our award winning documentaries include “Nelson Mandela, the Myth and Me” a 86 min feature documentary, won Special Jury at IDFA 201, and was co-produced with our Germany producers, Gebrebuer Beetz, for ZDF /ARTE and the BBC, DR, NHK, YL. The film has screened at over 15 international festivals.
Sobuwke; A Great Soul won 5 awards at the SAFTAS in 2013, best feature documentary, best director of feature documentary, best editing feature documentary and the Amnesty Award for Human Rights at the Durban International Film Festival in 2011.
Our body of work also includes over 200 commercials including Operation Khanyisa, loveLife, AFCON/Brand South Africa, as well as a number of commercial brands from Bakers Biscuits, KFC, Colgate, GT Bank, You Campaign, amongst others
As a company we provide mentoring on all our productions to facilitate the growth and transformation of the South African Film and Television Industry. We have run successful training projects in drama (Dramatic Encounters for new writers, directors and producers when Carolyn Carew was Head of TV Training, SABC 1999); a Documentary training project as part of the 2010 World Cup (I am Mzansi), one of the films won two awards at the SAFTAS in 2012. In 2014 we have produced a drama series “Free to Be” consisting of five films directed and written by 5 women celebrating 20 years of democracy for the National Film and Video Foundation.
Long-Running TV Drama Series, 5 Seasons, 26 x 24mins SABC 2
Awards: 90 Plein Street: Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Editing, SAFTAS. INPUT Australia, Selected for the Japanese Prize. Best Sound Design and Music Score
The first of its kind in South Africa, this popular 26-part drama is set in South Africa’s real-life parliament and creates a fine weave between a family’s personal life and their political playground. 90 Plein Street follows the personal and political intrigues swirling around Dineo Nkgatho (Warona Seane and season 4-5 Thembi Mtshali), an ANC MP trying to balance her private life, the demands of a broken family, and her party loyalty. She goes onto become the President of South Africa after a plane crash that kills the president at the end of Season 3. During Season 4 and 5, we meet her as the President of South Africa and she has to face many dramas to ensure that she keeps her position and is not kicked out by a group of hungry politicians.
Length : 4 x 48 min SABC 1
Awards : Fespaco 2008 - Best Drama. / SAFTAS 2008 - 7 awards for Best Script, Drama, Direction, Music, Wardrobe, Editing, Cinematography / Reims International Film Festival - Best Drama, Award Canal+ (Fr) Broadcast
This award winning mini-series is a coming of age drama set against the backdrop of June 1976 during the liberation struggle in Soweto. It is a love story so beautifully told, that it instils pride and longing. The series won numerous awards, including Best Director, Best TV Series, Best Cinematographer, Best Supporting Actor, Best Script, Best Music and Best Wardrobe at the South African Film and TV (SAFTAS) Awards in 2007. The Series also won Best Television Drama at Reims - 21 Rencontres Internationales de Television in France, 2008 and in 2009 went on to win the Jury Prize for Best Television Drama Series at FESPACO. The series discovered new talent, and actors who have now become regular faces on South African screens and also featured some of the country’s best known talent; Jerry Mofokeng, Tony Kgoroge and Presley Chweneyagae.
6 x 48 Mins, SABC 1
Awards : SAFTAS 2014, Best Supporting Actor, Deon Lotz
It’s 1985. Political tension in the Cape Province is at an all-time high and the apartheid government declares a State of Emergency. Amidst this turmoil, Mandisa (Zandile Madiwa), a young dreamer with a golden voice, yearns to become the next Brenda Fassie. Her mother Rebecca (Andrea Dondolo) knows is that her darling child sings at their church in Langa, and that one day Mandisa will follow in her footsteps and become a nurse. When she comes home to find Mandisa singing along and dancing provocatively to Brenda Fassie’s “Weekend Special” on television, Rebecca is horrified. Rebecca tries to stop Mandisa from venturing out of the safety of childhood. She bans Mandisa from watching television, from improving her singing at MAPP (a venue in the “coloured” suburb of Athlone where art and musical ability is nurtured). Rebecca is pleased when Mandisa’s best friend, Jomo (Lemogang Tsipa), returns from his studies at Fort Hare. She is sure Jomo will contain Mandisa’s restlessness. Jomo has always been in love with Mandisa but her feelings for him are ambiguous. Mandisa is encouraged to go to MAPP by her teacher, Mistress, and Jomo agrees to take her there. In Athone, Mandisa encounters a world that will change her life forever. She meets a talented and appealing guitarist, Shaheed (Keenan Arrison), which leads to Mandisa joining his band. But there are deeper challenges within the band: three of its members: Shaheed (Keenan Arrison), Rachael (Kim Syster) and Zwelakhe (Mbulelo Grootbom) are MK operatives. They belong to a cell run by Benny Mahmood (Charlton Geogre), one of the most wanted cadres in the Cape Province – by the Security Branch. Headed by the recently appointed Kobus Landman (Deon Lotz), the Anti-Terrorist Unit is set on doing whatever it takes to take Benny down to quell the bombing in the area.
TV Drama Mini-Series
Noah’s Ark 4 X 48 mins,
Series Director Teddy E Mattera and Penny Flasces Series
Producers Busi Ntintili, Werner Cloet, Tsholo Mashile and Carolyn Carew
Noah's ArK 96 min feature film SABC 2, 2008
An expat Sotho doctor loves his family and loves his wife. On the outside they seem to live this perfect life. But Moses Mokoena can't shake the memory of the beautiful Afrikaans girl he once loved 30 years ago. And when the love child he never knew suddenly turns up in his life, the past and present converge in an emotional collision that will challenge everything he's ever known. Noah's character is the metaphor of the power of family love and his symbolic 'ARK' represents family, starting over, dreams, hopes, the past, the future and, finally, promise. Through six strong characters, Noah's Ark explores dramatic issues that many South African families face; issues of grieving, of midlife crises, of hopelessness and of the hope that shines strong through even the darkest times. This mini-series stars acclaimed local actors Patrick Shai, Nakedi Ribane, Koketso Mojela, Moshidi Motshegwa, Susan Coetzer and Antonio Summerton