Ex-gangster story wins award at international film festival

A behind the scenes photo during the shooting of My Father the Mover, a documentary which tells the story of an ex-gang member Stoan Galela./Supplied
A behind the scenes photo during the shooting of My Father the Mover, a documentary which tells the story of an ex-gang member Stoan Galela./Supplied

The story of a Cape Town-based self-taught dancer and choreographer has bagged an award at the 19th Annual Tribeca Film Festival.

Titled My Father the Mover, the documentary which tells an interesting story of a former gang member Stoan Galela won the Best Documentary Short Film last weekend.

The doccie is directed by local writer, director and producer Julia Jansch.

Galela, who lives in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, believes that judges were impressed by his story because he has been through a lot in life and managed to turn his life around for the better.

"I was involved in gangs, did drugs briefly, and used to rob people near Gugulethu with my friends, but was able to change my life. I currently teach kids dancing..."

The 32-year-old said the turning point came when he turned 16 and decided to follow his passion for dancing.

"I stopped [crime] after someone told my mother that I was robbing people. After my mother spoke to me, I decided to stop because I loved my mother. I tried my luck with soccer, but dance was important to me. I now motivate kids with African electronic gqom beats."

Galela believes that winning an international award will open doors for him and fulfill his dream to become an internationally recognised choreographer.

He wants to win choreography awards and his group United Township Dancers to gain recognition.

Jansch said: "I met Stoan through my co-producer, Mandilakhe Yengo. It was a random encounter as he was working behind the scenes as a choreographer on a series. We started chatting and I asked him how long he has been a dancer. He answered by saying 'I'm not a dancer, I'm a mover'. I was immediately intrigued.

"I was so drawn to Stoan because here was this behind-the-scenes choreographer who was doing this magical work that no one knows about. I wanted to get his story out into the world in the hope of providing a platform for him to raise awareness about his work."

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