Palesa Nomanzi Shongwe

Palesa Nomanzi Shongwe is a South African born filmmaker and film scholar. Her career in film began in 2004 in script development as a script editor. Since then, has worked as researcher, development producer, story-liner and script writer. Between 2015 and 2019, she joined the Film and Television Department at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Arts, as a lecturer in film history, theory and screenwriting. In 2019, she returned to independent filmmaking as a full time writer and director. Palesa has written and directed two short films, Atrophy (and the fear of fading) 2010, which won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in 2011 and has been featured at numerous festivals, including most recently, Vision Du Reel and VideoEx; and uNomalanga and the Witch (2015), which won Best Short Film at the Durban International Film Festival (2015) and The Baobab Short Film Prize at Film Africa, UK (2016). She was most recently part of the 5x5x5 Documentary Residency Program for which she completed her most recent experimental documentary ‘11 to 19’ . Palesa’s film practice includes both documentary and fiction. In documentary, she is interested in the essay film, personal ethnography and the ‘archive’. As a writer/director of fiction, she is interested in narratives that focus on the lives of women in the context of a feminist and decolonial African film practice. Palesa is a Fulbright Scholar, with an MFA in filmmaking from Temple University in Philadelphia.