SA film-maker eager for more success after her short film was considered for an Oscar nomination

South African film-maker Santi Naidoo. Picture: Supplied.

South African film-maker Santi Naidoo. Picture: Supplied.

Published Mar 25, 2024


Young film-maker Santi Naidoo has made a splash in Hollywood.

The 25-year-old produced the short film, “Jerome”, which was up for consideration as a 2024 Oscars nominee.

Although the drama flick didn’t make the cut, she is thrilled at the attention it has been receiving.

“Jerome” centres around a teenage boy who struggles with feelings of inadequacy when he is forced to confront the absence of his father while trying to make a name for himself as a basketball star.

Naidoo, who is currently based in Los Angeles, worked with director Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz, who is also based in the US, on the movie.

“Over the past few years, I've had the privilege of being able to work with film-makers and creatives from around the world,” she explained.

“Being able to collaborate with people from different walks of life and vastly different cultures highlights how much we can learn from other people and how different perspectives enrich the work that we do.”

And as her film-making career takes off, Naidoo has not let her Oscars setback get her down and instead, is encouraged to make even more strides in the industry.

The film-maker, who has been living in America for the past two years, has also been working in development and production at Submarine Entertainment, an independent production company.

Apart from film-making, Naidoo also works on commercial and stage production.

Her advice to other aspirant film-makers who want to follow in her footsteps is simple: “Make things and find your people,” she said.

“While you can’t expect the short film you shoot on your phone to be turned into a show or for every collaboration to be easy, you must bear in mind that the fear of being bad at something often stops you from even trying in the first place.”

“Get together with friends or fellow creatives, don't take yourself too seriously and just make stuff because eventually you might make something half-decent.”