It’s 18h15. I’m seated in a partially filled auditorium, watching the fifth/sixth graduation short film in a row that’s been received to varying praise from lukewarm to decent. Like clockwork, the master of ceremonies will introduce the next film by its name and not much else before jumping into the screening. Whilst I’m highly impressed by the visual direction of most projects, a great deal of the stories felt somewhat undercooked, unfocussed or overly complicated within the constraints of the project, a common staple amongst student films. As the current film finishes its Q&A session, the auditorium rapidly fills up in anticipation of the next film. A horde of students rush in bringing with them a sense of excitement so infectious you couldn’t help but catch on to the hype. Something special was coming. The master of ceremonies gives the film a lengthy introduction, a great level of fanfare not afforded the films preceding it. The short film is called Chance. A film written and directed by Reeza Thomas, the subject of this article.
The premise of the film is simple; two young coloured males happen on a loaded gun and decide to act on the power that comes with it. It only takes 90 seconds for me to understand the fanfare surrounding Chance. It is gripping, fast-paced, exhilarating, and raw and feels all too real. For 12 minutes, I forget that I’m watching a student film and find myself lost in a modern-day tragedy that humanizes and puts great perspective on a community that is often side-lined and disenfranchised. Following a series of films showcasing young creatives still figuring out their voices and style, understandably so, Chance was a confident proclamation. A proclamation that ran from the visual style to the performances, the soundtrack and the scenery. A proclamation which at the centre of it lay Reeza Thomas, an extremely laid-back persona with considerable skill. Hailing from the West Rand, Reeza Thomas looks to be a highly talented hyphenate with considerable enough potential to become a definitive voice in the coming years as the South African entertainment industry progresses. Apart from his scriptwriting and directorial endeavours, he’s also an aspiring rapper under the pseudonym David Co$tly, in the rising hip-hop crew We$Gang.
We$Gang are a modern day hip-hop group bringing the collaborative sensibilities most commonly found in 90’s groups, see Bone Thugs N Harmony, Wu Tang Clan and the Pharcyde. As seen above, We$Gang dropped their first music video, Two Cup$, last night. An infectious tune coupled with a psychedelic visual. This is their first solid effort of many. If you enjoy their music, subscribe to their channel. They should be releasing more music videos in the coming weeks, with visual teasers out for at least another 5 songs on LVL Imagery.
At just 21 years old and at the start of his career, Reeza Thomas proves to be a creative trailblazer forging his own unique lane. With his hands competently in so many pies, he has the potential to have a career as ground-breaking and impactful as other incredible hyphenates like Donald Glover. Look out for this young creative. He is definitely one to watch.
Next week I’ll be covering this 23 year old musician and growing fashion guru who’s about to drop an EP.