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Carl Houston Mc Millan Wins James Music Video Grant

Showcasing young filmmakers that aren't afraid to explore the unexplored.

12 Sep 2017 / Press Release / written by TATC Staff / Pic Kgomotso Neto Tleane

In February 2017, Jameson reintroduced V2.0 of The Jameson Music Video Grant, this time offering R200 000 in funding. They challenged local filmmakers and musicians to put their ideas out into the world. This year they received a record of 550 epic entries – evidence of how talented and brave the local industry is.

Each and every one of the entries were so good that we had to get a handful of industry experts to help us choose a winner.  Visionary director Sunu Gonera, bold stylist Crystal Birch and untamable musician Moonchild Sanelly helped us select the Top 10. The Top 10 were expected to stand up and present their treatments to us in person. Their relentless passion and authenticity was undeniably electric.

The 2017 Winner:

In July we announced Director Carl Houston Mc Millan as the winner of the 2017 Jameson Music Video Grant. Carl is a director and writer living between South Africa and Lesotho, and the majority of his work explores the latter. He received R200K in funding to shoot a music video for ‘Impepho’ by Trap Funk & Alivio ft. Morena Leraba & ManKind.

Inspired by the song, Carl dreamt up a music video that is a visual exploration and celebration of Basotho shepherd culture in the highlands of Lesotho. His music video concept was fearlessly authentic and unlike anything we’ve seen or heard of. “It is a story that must be told,” said Crystal Birch. A true original.

We were also intruiged by Carl’s appetite for the unknown. Being an established filmmaker, Carl has never had the chance to shoot a music video. When Carl saw The Jameson Music Video Grant Call For Entries, he decided to that it was his chance to master this craft. Backed up by his fiece vision, fiery passion and impecabble attention to detail, The Jameson INDIE Channel team is proud to partner with such a brave filmmaker.

‘Impepho’ is a powerful high-energy track with lyrics fusing slang phrases in Sotho, Pedi, Tswana and Zulu. The song that was created through collaboration, another passion of the ours. Produced by Trap Funk & Alivio from Salvador, Brazil.

Morena Leraba is a musician and shepherd from Lesotho whose lyrics, sounds and aesthetics are deeply rooted in tradition. His delivery is influenced by the poetic freestyles that the shepherds perform.

ManKind is a fresh voice hailing from and making waves in the heart of Jozi. 

Shortly after hearing the announcement, Carl went to Semonkong in rural Lesotho to start pre-production. He was joined by Mosotho musician Morena Leraba and a local fixer. They spent weeks scouting locations, predicting the weather and casting Basotho shepherds and local jockeys to play extras.

On Sunday 17 August 2017, the full crew arrived for the shoot.

Joined by Morena Leraba and Mankind, the team shot for three days straight in and around Semonkong, a rural village in the heart of the mountain kingdom.

From sunrise on Day One to sunset on Day Three, they braved the harsh elements to shoot the epic scenes that make up the final music video. Photographer Kgomotso Neto Tleane was there to capture all the magical behind-the-scene moments.

Day One | Monday 18 August 2017

A high-speed horse race, a dance battle in a local tavern, custom-made Basotho Shepherd blankets AND a dramatic performance in the back of a bakkie. It’s all in a day’s work at the making of “Impepho” – and it’s only day one.

On Day One of the Impepho Music Video shoot, with Director Carl Mc Millan and his crew, shot in three locations in and around rural Semonkong, Lesotho.

The first take was at sunrise on an icy airstrip near Semonkong, tracking alongside eight Basotho Shepherds to shoot a high-speed horse race, with local jockeys and race horses.

The second location of the day was a dimly lit Chinese inspired tavern in the heart of Semonkong village. Here Mankind’s crew, styled in slick city gear, started a dance battle with Morena Leraba and his crew, who were wearing custom Basotho Shepherd blankets by a local designer.

The third and final location of the day is a dirt road outside the village. Here, Carl Mc Millan and his crew shot Mankind performing his verse of Impepho on the back of a bakkie, as the sun set.

Day Two | Tuesday 19 August 2017

Another horse race, betting, a trick horse and portraits in a traditional Shepherd outpost. This is day two.

On Day Two of the Impepho Music Video shoot and director Carl McMillan and his crew are filming deep in the blue mountains of Semonkong, where a cold front that’s howling its way in has promised snow in the coming days.

The first take was at sunrise at an old racecourse set against a mountain backdrop, where they shot a traditional horse race – a re-enactment of a regular event that’s a big part of Basotho culture.

On Day Two the ballsy crew battled icy 30-40km/h winds to shoot at the old racecourse, its lines barely visible in the golden yet unforgiving landscape. The race gathered crowds of spectators, and even a trick pony. They placed bets, danced and cheered jovially.

Later in the day at a rural Shepherd’s post the crew filmed moving portraits of the Basotho shepherds in their outposts with their livestock and dogs, and wrapped with a performance by Morena Leraba and Mankind as the sun set. 

Day Three | Wednesday 20 August 2017

Before dawn the fearless crew hiked into the barren mountain range overlooking a canyon.

There, a hut was burnt – an epic backdrop to Morena Leraba’s performance. Traditionally, shepherds burn huts at the end of the season to show that they have migrated to another region.

Later in the day the crew head to the picturesque grass fields of the mountain kingdom to shoot portraits with the shepherds.  Finally, as the sun set, we head back to the village of Semonkong with our cast for detail shots.

And… that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for the final Impepho Music Video, to be released at the end of September 2017.