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Filmer.tv – helping to level the playing field for African creative professionals

In this #AbsaSmallBusinessFriday interview, we find out more about Peri Van Papendorp and Janez Vermeiren, co-founders of Filmer.tv, their business journey and why they believe South Africa should support small business.

Filmer.tv is a film and content crowdsourcing platform founded during lockdown. It connects clients, brands and agencies to a community of skilled creative professionals to help them create locally relevant content that is of a high quality, more affordable and efficient. Their platform gives thousands of creatives (filmmakers, production companies, animators, editors, AR & VR etc.) an equal opportunity to pitch on exciting briefs from brands across the continent.

Why did you start your business?

We started the business because we realized that Africa has a plethora of talented filmmakers and creatives that have always struggled to connect with clients and ad agencies. Through our Filmer.tv platform we aim to help democratize the industry by giving everyone a fair opportunity to win jobs through an open pitching process. In the South African context it’s vitally important for brands to create locally relevant content that resonates with their target audience, but the traditional content
creation model doesn’t always allow for this. We saw a gap in the market to launch a content platform that could connect brands to thousands of filmmakers, many of whom actually come from the audiences brands are targeting. These young crop of talented filmmakers truly understand the
tastes, style and nuances that are necessary to create that effective and authentic content clients are looking for.

What do you love the most about running your business?

The most exciting thing about running Filmer.tv is discovering new talented creatives that previously weren’t on the radar of clients, brands and ad agencies. Over the past 18 months our community of talented creatives has grown significantly and every time we launch a new brief there are new talented creatives pitching and booking jobs. In a way, our Filmer platform has opened the industry to so much more fresh creative thinking. To see so many creatives on our platform build successful careers is truly satisfying.

What is one of the biggest lessons you have learnt on your business journey?

The biggest lesson we’ve learnt on our business journey is that innovation is the key to success. By constantly trying new things, failure will become a natural part of the process and something you must become comfortable with. As long as you’re learning lessons from your failures, you’re moving forward.  

What is your why? Why do you do what you do and what do you focus on to help you persevere and get through tough times?

Our goal (our why) from the onset was to build a platform that brought real value to the content creation landscape across Africa. We both grew up in an industry that had been unchanged for decades and saw an opportunity to help level the playing field for African creative professionals. There are thousands of hungry and talented creatives that want to connect with clients, and Filmer has become a valuable resource to assist them with this. When times are tough, you’ve got to push through, back yourself and focus on the problem you’re trying to solve. We have faced many obstacles and closed doors along the way, but we keep forging ahead because we strongly believe our platform can make a difference by helping brands create more affordable, efficient and locally relevant content.  For us there is nothing more fulfilling than delivering a strong piece of content created by a talented filmmaker, to a happy client. This keeps us going.

Why should South Africa support small businesses now and beyond?

South Africans should support small businesses because they are literally the backbone of the economy. Small businesses are the innovators, game changers and future multinationals that bring huge value to any economy. During the COVID pandemic, SME’s helped fuel the economy by creating thousands of job opportunities for local workers in new industries, which helped stabilize our economy during a major global crisis. To keep it simple, small businesses create work and keep the money flowing, and therefore we must support them now more than ever before.

Filmer.tv was the Winner of a Top 20 Award and the National Innovation Award at the 2021 South African Small Business Awards.

Filmer.tv is a proud Member of the NSBC.


This Small Business Friday feature is proudly sponsored by Absa.