21 Icons showcases actress Terry Pheto

Photo: Adrian Steirn BREAKING GLASS CEILINGS: Terry Pheto on set at the Artscape Theatre during her portrait shoot with Gary Van Wyk. Shot in Cape Town as part of Adrian Steirn’s 21 Icons South Africa Project.

The short-film series 21 Icons uses photography and film to trace the history of South Africa, with its third season being a tribute to the country’s future and shedding light on young South African icons.

Pheto was chosen to be part of the series because of the incredible strides she has taken in her acting career, as well as the impact and contribution she has made to the South African film and television industry.

Not only did she star in Tsotsi, she also received awards for producing the critically acclaimed Asanda, which has been picked up by Selma director, Ava DuVernay, for international distribution. This year, Pheto was chosen as a juror for the International Emmy Awards.

“Most of the things that have happened in my life – the good, the bad, the ridiculous – I feel like there was a reason for all these things, ” said Pheto.

“Life experience always gives you more emotional depth and layers – and I have experienced great loss and great love – but more than anything, it’s having an interest in people. Acting is connecting with others.”

See Pheto’s short film preview here:

In 2010, she started a production company, Leading Lady Productions and produced her first film, Asanda, in 2014 – 10 years after her debut in Tsotsi.

She told principal photographer on the project, Gary Van Wyk about her production company. “I’ve always know that there’s a lifespan when it comes to being in front of the camera – especially for women – and I wanted to be a storyteller, not just as an actor.”

Van Wyk explained the visual elements behind Pheto’s portrait which will be revealed on 31 January. “A beaded ‘Oscar’ lying to her right – a reference to her starring role in the Academy award winning film Tsotsi – Pheto, clad in a tuxedo, is photographed seated in an empty theatre leaning toward the camera.

“Her expression is strong and focused, Pheto is depicted as a formidable force within the film industry, a resilient woman whose grit has seen her rise from township theatre performer to South Africa’s leading lady.”

Pheto’s short film and portrait will air on SABC 3 at 7.27pm on 31 January, with a repeat episode airing the next day at 5.57pm on the same channel.

Details: www.21icons.com

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