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Alumna Film Featuring South African Artists to Premiere This Weekend in Los Angeles

Early in 2007, Laura Gamse was working on her thesis at Pomona College focused on countercultural art during apartheid. This Sunday, March 27, her documentary, The Creators, about the intricate reality of modern day South Africa viewed through the lives of six artists, premieres at the LA Film and Music Weekend.

According to Gamse ’07, the film developed from her Pomona thesis. “I was interested in the protest art that seeped through apartheid's censors and affected change in South Africa's various subcultures. I applied for a Fulbright to research the modern day artistic subcultures in South Africa, and this film is the result of two years living and working in Cape Town. The experience grew directly out of my self-designed major at Pomona, called Social Activism through Media and Art.” 

The documentary’s website has the following description: “The Creators explores the intricate reality of modern day South Africa by peering through the eyes of six artists. Weaving through the lives of Faith47 (street art), Warongx (afro-blues), Emile (hip hop), Sweat.X (glam rap), Blaq Pearl (spoken word) and Mthetho (opera), the film culminates in an intertwined story. Born in separate areas of the formerly-segregated country, the artists separately recraft history -- and the impacts of apartheid -- in their own artistic languages. The lens explores the artists’ individual eccentricities, revealing the connections among strangers' lives -- and the creative expression used to traverse the divide. The resulting multi-plot gives an intimate, refreshing, and deeply revealing look at those remolding the legacy of apartheid.”

Gamse, who is based in Virginia, says she is currently spending most of her time working on publicity for The Creators.  “The majority of the profits,” she explains, “will go to the artists in the documentary, and I'm hoping that it will be enough to make an impact on their lives.” She is also fundraising for the Abahlali Bikes Initiative, which works to create cycling-related jobs in townships in the Western Cape, and is working with Revival of Da Headz, a grassroots-based nonprofit that empowers South African communities through the arts.  

For the future, Gamse says she “on the lookout” for her next project and suggestions are welcome. She can be contacted through the film’s website.