Charlie Vundla (b.1983) is a South African – American filmmaker. Originally trained as a journalist, Vundla was drawn towards filmmaking for its potential to bring about a deep emotional reaction in the viewer and to create a sense of empathy. In 2011 Vundla made his first feature film, How To Steal 2 Million which won the Best Film and Best Director prizes at the Africa Movie Academy Awards and was distributed worldwide. He went on to make the feature films, Cuckold (The Tribe) and Hotele Lerallaneng (Hotel on the Koppies) both of which received critical acclaim, and were official selections at the Toronto Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam respectively. Vundla’s skill lies in his ability
to work across genres, however the notion of wasted potential and the inability to live up to legacy are recurring themes within his work. Vundla, whose father was exiled during apartheid, was born in New York before moving to South Africa with his parents in the mid-90s, at the dawn of the country’s democracy. His work straddles ideas of identity and belonging but also, through his storytelling, alludes not only to issues surrounding South Africa’s failed ‘rainbow nation’ but also to the dissolution of the American dream. Vundla is currently working on Frontier Mistress, a feminist-themed western set in 18th century South Africa, which deals with enslavement and colonialism whose repercussions we still face today.