Terry Pheto faces tough issues

2018-07-22 08:25
Terry Pheto

Johannesburg - The urge to change people’s lives attracted actress Terry Pheto to her latest movieFaces – which was shot in London.

The 37-year-old says she could not turn down the chance to play a role in changing people’s lives, particularly from disadvantaged communities.

Pheto said she was very picky about the movies in which she would act but she had always wanted to be a part of movies that could change people’s lives and Faces gave her that opportunity.

“One of the things that attracted me to the film is that, as much as it has interesting and captivating storylines, it addresses serious issues,” she told City Press this week.

Pheto defined the time she spent shooting the film as “phenomenal” and said she was happy to share the film with the South African people who had taught her a lot.

“I am really excited, I have been looking forward to this moment, to share the film with my people. I had so much fun shooting the film in London with amazing talented people,” she said happily.

Photo: Supplied/City Press

“It is 2018 and we still find people getting HIV; there are many social issues the movie addresses but it is done in a way that it doesn’t feel like someone is preaching to you,” she said.

The award-winning actress believes South Africa still has a long way to go in storytelling and that there are gaps that need to be filled in terms of genre and giving women a chance.

The film, which is opening at the Durban Film Festival this year, is in the horror genre, where there is a huge gap.

“We have to ensure that we have enough females in powerful positions, as producers and senior writers, because female writers will write characters for female actors as well,” she said.

Pheto, who shot to fame after her role in the 2005 award-winning Tsotsi, said working on that movie made her a household name and had opened doors for her.

“My first movie [Tsotsi] won an Oscar. When that happened I knew from day one that if you do good and you pick the right projects and you are passionate about what you do, your work will travel.

“Everything I have done I have always been aware that this film [Tsotsi] helped me.”

Pheto reckons the last few award-winning films, such as Madiba and The Kingdom, were her “audition” for Faces.

But as much she enjoys being a Hollywood actress, her heart is still in South Africa.

Pheto said she would love to open an academy where she could help young, aspiring actors from disadvantaged backgrounds and give them the same opportunity she was given.

“It’s been a dream of my mother for me to be a teacher … but it has always been a dream of mine too. So, one day when the time is right I would definitely love to see a film academy, a place where young people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds, can find their talents, work on their crafts and know that it is possible.

“I started in a community hall in Soweto, which is where I was discovered,” said Pheto.

Besides being an internationally acclaimed actress, Pheto still wants to remain a producer.

She said another of her projects was coming soon in the footsteps of Ayanda, which she co-produced in 2015.

“I am still a producer and my first film did so well. I am producing a second one that will come out at the end of the year. We shot it in Los Angeles and I am working on other projects that I cannot really talk about right now.

“I have received offers about directing, I have not said yes yet. When the time is right I will.”

Pheto is a big family person. She said she misses her family when she works out of the country, especially her nephew.

“I do miss my nephew when I am gone for a while. As much as we have Face Time and Skype, there is nothing better than those little tiny hands giving you a big kiss and a hug.”

She said her family had always been supportive.

“When I moved to Soweto, I did not have anything, I had a bag of clothes and a dream but I knew I could always call home. They have been supportive emotionally and financially. They would send me money because I wasn’t working, I was studying at the time. They sent me money for auditions, rent and food – even hair money,” she said.

Faces will premiere at the 39th Durban International Film Festival on Sunday.

Read more on:    terry pheto  |  movies

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.