Happy ending for Rondebosch movie editor

Simon Beesley

A TV and movie editor from Rondebosch is making waves in the South African film industry.

Simon Beesley, 35, had his first shot at television editing with an SABC 3 series, A-List, during the 2010 World Cup.

He found it challenging working round the clock to get the weekly episodes ready.

Simon matriculated from Bishops in 2001, then did a BA in English and communications through Unisa and a degree in film at AFDA, specialising in editing.

“Editing gives you a window into each aspect of the film-making process,” he says.

“I love to be involved right from the beginning, talking to the director about the script and how it will translate in the edit.”

Simon co-founded Gambit Films in 2009, starting out filming wedding videos and school fashion shows.

As Gambit grew, Simon landed freelance work on local films, such as Noem My Skollie, and series that helped boost his profile.

He was also with Homebrew Films for two years and worked on Wild Animal Orphans for National Geographic, Shoreline Season 2 for SABC, All Access for Mzanzi Magic, Shorething for SABC and Groen for kykNET.

He has a close working relationship with David Max Brown, the head of film at the AFDA Cape Town campus who produced Noem My Skollie.

“Simon was a first-time feature film editor but showed such passion and commitment, and of course a show reel of short films from his degree course at AFDA, so we decided to give him the opportunity,” says David.

“His dedication and talent shines in the finished film and he will surely go on to bigger things.”

Gambit’s big break came in 2014, when they were asked to submit a script for the Silwerskerm Festival short film competition, which was the short-film version of Nommer 37.

They ended up winning best script and director awards at the festival and that put their company on the map.

The feature film version of Nommer 37 which Gambit Films was involved with was released in South Africa in June and it had a great run at the cinema and later this year this film will be playing in American cinemas.

The movie was also sold in China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Simon also directed two documentaries for Redbull TV. In the one documentary, The Rise of Us, he travelled the country with local musician, Khuli Chana, meeting young entrepreneurs.

The latest documentary he worked on, Pantsula, tells the history of the dance in three generations.

Simon and his studio are planning to shoot an action film early next year and are producing a local crime series for TV that will be released in the middle of next year.