After Reza, a non-biniary rising performing artist from a township in Soweto, begins to settle into Johannesburg when Mase, a writer struggling to understand his identity, unexpectedly arrives into his life. Through their brief introduction they suddenly begin to reveal intimate vulnerabilities that both aren’t willing to confront. As they fall in and out of reality, both discover the endless opportunities to create uninhibited joy out of their past traumas. THANDO asks us to imagine a world where Black queer love is universally celebrated and protected. Join Reza and Mase on a cinematic meditation on black love, vulnerability and the pursuit of joy.
THANDO is a cinematic meditation on black love, vulnerability and the pursuit of joy. Follow Reza and Masé as they fall in and out of reality, love and more.
Following Reza and Masé as they fall in and out of reality, love and more, THANDO asks us to imagine a world where Black queer love is universally celebrated and protected. Join them on a cinematic meditation on black love, vulnerability and the pursuit of joy.
Mainstream media and white supremacy have waged a war on Black love. A war whose casualties have impacted the ways in which Black LGBTQ+ people have had to internalize the shame around their identity and desires. Many believe that the dilemmas surrounding BlackLGBTQ+ love in the 21st-century are mischaracterized as personal hardships that individuals must struggle beyond though the truth is that we have not had enough accurate portrayals of the very nuanced experience of being in love while Black and LGBTQ+.
While Black LGBGT+ representation on screen is increasing many of these characters still find themselves in tropes that contribute to the erasure of a fully actualized experience. Through THANDO we have created a world that invites our viewers to look at the ways masculinity and hegemony has contributed to the erasure of Black LGBTQ+ love stories. As we attempt to manifest a legacy for Black LGBTQ+ characters we have designed a cinematic portal and meditation that provides us to move beyond the traumas commonly found to be rooted in homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and other harmful systems of oppression.
We invite our viewers to imagine a world here Black LGBTQ+ love is simple, consensual, and free from the rules of hegemonic masculinity. THANDO asks you to help us manifest a world that celebrates black love, vulnerability and the pursuit of joy.
Do you have a love story to share? Are you madly in love with yourself, a partner or several people? Is their space we can make for your own THANDO?
Elijah is an award-winning strategist, entrepreneur and visionary from the future currently residing on planet earth. They received a Bachelors of Science from the Art Institute of San Francisco in Marketing and Management with a focus in Campaign Development and New Media studies. In addition to serving as the Founder and Director of People Who Care, Inc. --- an independent consultancy that works exclusively with nonprofits and grassroots initiatives such as AIDS Foundation Chicago, Northwestern University, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Grindr for Equality, Center for Disease Control and many more -- they are also deeply involved in queer, creative and philanthropic communities around the globe.
They are constantly moving and shaking in an attempt to build meaningful relationships and encourage resource sharing. Elijah co-produced and starred in Chicago's #PrEP4Love campaign; is the Co-Founder and Development Director of Reunion Chicago, a exhibition space and project incubator prioritized for queer, women-identified and people of color in creative roles; is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of OTV - Open Television, a web TV platform for queer, trans and artists of color; and is a curator in residence at Estudio Teorema, a culturally-charged activist gallery and production studio located in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Elijah’s artistic practice and advocacy work currently centers around the intersection between trauma, wellness, race, sexuality, gender, new media and storytelling. They’re work explores themes of space-making, liberation, and resilience as seen in their highly acclaimed web series, Two Queens in a Kitchen, a turn-to-relevance cooking show now in its third season exploring art, culture and politics; their work-in-progress performance piece, Today I Learned, a durational experiment exploring their personal relationship to abuse, death, depression and identity; their forthcoming series developed in partnership with University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and Duke University, Good Enough, a limited digital series exploring coming out, chosen family, depression, HIV-prevention and sexual health; and Catch Desire, a 3 song visual album exploring sexual liberation, intimacy, pleasure and PrEP developed in collaboration with Chicago Department of Public Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago and PrEP4Love. Most recently, THANDO, Elijah’s first film exploring black, queer vulnerability was written and produced in Johannesburg, South Africa and is schedule to be released late Summer 2020.
Elijah’s professional, artistic, and advocacy work has been covered by the Chicago Tribune, Out Magazine, CBS, VICE, Pride, Chill, Red Eye, Into and many more publications. They have performed and exhibited work around the globe in spaces such as Museum for Contemporary Art (Chicago), Soho House (Berlin, London, Barcelona), J&B Hive (South Africa) , Raúl Anguiano Art Museum (Mexico) and more.
In 2020 they we’re announced as a recipient of the prestigious New Leaders of Chicago award by the Field Foundation of Illinois and MacArthur Foundation. 2016 Elijah was named “Top 30 Under 30 LGBT People" in Chicago, Illinois by the Windy City Times and was invited to the first annual African-American LGBTQ Education Summit at The White House.
Tutu Zondo is a multi-hyphen creative with a Bachelor of Arts - BA in Drama/Theatre from University of the Witwatersrand. At the core of the work they do, they tell stories, stories about the black, African, queer experience. They have worked in film, television, theatre, the music festival space and even in the non profit sector.
“My main goal, is to see my light, and the light of those who share my experience reflected back to us. I want the world to see the beauty and strength that we as Black, African, Queer people possess- we are our ancestors wildest dreams.
Ntombozuko "Twiggy" Matiwana is a star director/writer with an innate curiosity and love for storytelling and film. Born and raised in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape. Twiggy to decided to study creative writing before studying film and has worked as an assistant director in the local industry. Her directing career began with a number of student films, notably 'See, Speak and Hear no Evil' a short film about violence against women that was accepted at the Encounters Documentary Film Festival in 2013.
She then went on to write and direct a 5-minute short documentary on Male Breast Cancer in 2013 and in 2014 her film 'Waterless Flower' was the only South African film selected amongst the finalist at The Spain Film Festival, the film focuses on water and basic sanitation around the globe.Her most recent work The Bicycle Man has won the Silver Stallion and European Prize (2017) at the 50th edition in Fespaco, the prize allowed The Bicycle Man to screen at Cannes' Short Film Corner 2017, the film continues to be screened around the world.
Twiggy's goal is to build a dynamic career enabling her to extend her repertoire to fluidly move between directing short form and long form formats. She has recently been featured in the September issue of Elle magazine (SA) to share her views on filmmaking and content.