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The Directors: Gale Maimane



Darling films director Gale on distinctive scripts, the joys of digging and making stories that speak to different labels

The Directors: Gale Maimane

Gale Maimane is a designer and film photographer. 

Gale’s offbeat and raw approach to directing and stills comes through in her candid and in-the-moment approach to documenting unforgettable moments that hold an incredible depth; either pushing you to stare longer or laugh harder.

Name: Gale Maimane

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Repped by/in: Darling Films

Awards: Do lots of nominations count (jk, lol)

LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Gale> I think when the script itself has a distinct voice and point of view. 

Truely, it differs every time but one of two polar opposites really capture my imagination. A sense of Relatable-ness and honest humanity or Complete unabashed, unashamed sense fantasy and fiction. The script could be about anything but if I feel a speck or nugget that makes it come alive, I get excited and work to make that unearth nugget of goodness feel real at every step of production.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot? 

Gale> By finding a an aspect that resonates with me personally and working it out piece by piece until it feels applicable to me and my team and friends and family

LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Gale> Extremely. If I'm ignorant, I research until things make sense. The method differs depending on the brand/script/market. It can be live, real time, physical exploration of spaces, places and discussions with people to internet research. I like to dig.

LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Gale> I think naming only one is impossible and counter-productive. I try foster a sense of collaboration with everyone involved! Agency, my production team and crew! I maintain constant and strong communication with key crew HODs once we are confirmed to be working together (DOP; production designer; editor; colourist; wardrobe; make up; hair etc) - it mainly depends on what the project objective is.

LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Gale> I’m a passionate person. A weirdo even, if you like. So I find it hard to answer questions like this, because its easy for me to find beauty in what subject matter I'm presented with. As a director who is African, Black, and femme I find what I'm drawn to making stories that speak to the different labels people see of me. They don’t define me but they allow me to make nuanced work that is more honest and reflective or people like me.


LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Gale> Well I think the only answer for this is that people decide my depth or ability to create based on my age and appearance and are usually very surprised when the book cover didn’t sell the story quite right. 


LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?

Gale> No - not directly


LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Gale> 2020 saw my ability to block grow leaps and bounds. Social distance was a challenge but with clever positioning when necessary I found  ways to make it feel natural.


LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Gale> By letting the concept/story lead my actions. I think people forget that the story and story aim is what must lead us not only how we feel or what we think is right. The script has all the answers


LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Gale> Yes! I have a mentee and bring trainees on to my sets all the time. 


LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

Gale> Its not easy but its important to keep the final destination of a piece in mind, always. Because if you don’t think laterally and enjoy the challenge of aspect ratios and multiple platforms you will never enjoy making the work.


LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

Gale> Interested and keen to see what innovation can do to making storytelling evermore visceral and emotive.

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why? 

Gale> Naoserati X Zoe Modiga – Me

Edgars - Winter Blues

SARS - Higher Purpose (Director’s Cut)

Brutal Fruit - #YouBelong

Each piece was a monumental moment in my working life. They are each totally different, tonally and visually. The fashion film “Me” was the first film I ever directed, with dear friends, no money and little time. Edgars winter blues was my first commercial, SARS was the first. Time I was on set during the pandemic and Brutal Fruit was a capturing of imagination that I never expected I’d have the opportunity to bring to life. Each piece is shows my versatility.

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Darling Films, Tue, 07 Sep 2021 12:04:46 GMT