Giant Films

Entertainment that moves people.

Cape Town & Johannesburg

Executive Producer & Founding Partner: Cindy Gabriel / Executive Producer & Partner: Emma Lundy
Directors: Ian Gabriel / Karien Cherry / Peri / Paul Ward / Thati Pele / Allison Swank / Jessie Zinn / Katya Abedian

Company Website

Giant Films is an entertainment production company producing award-winning feature films, commercials, music videos and content. Our legacy provides an inspiring home where handpicked talent can innovate and evolve. We’re storytellers. We collaborate. We solve creative problems. We’re nimble. And we have fun in the process. We bring scale to our work, big and small. 

Giant represents directors Ian Gabriel, Karien Cherry, Peri, Paul Ward, Thati Pele, Allison Swank, Jessie Zinn and Katya Abedian.

Ciclope Africa 2021
Production Company of the Year
Best Music Video – Moonga k ‘Who’s It Gonna Be’
Best Cinematography and Best Original Music – Sanlam ‘Caitlin’
Best Production Design – Glo ‘Feliz Navidad’
Best Adapted Music – Glo ‘Street Football’

Loeries Official Rankings for 2020
Karien ranking 1st in the Director category, the First female to hold this position, and in 2020 the only female featured in the top 20.
Cindy and Emma ranked 2nd and 3rd in the Producer category.
Giant’s 2nd place in Production Company of the Year 2020.
Sanlam ‘A Whole New World’ was awarded a Film Silver and Craft Certificate.
Chicken Licken ‘Everyone’s Talking About It’ campaign was awarded a Craft Gold, a Gold, 2 Silvers, a Bronze and a Craft Certificate

Ciclope Africa 2020
Karien was awarded Best Casting and Best Direction (90 seconds and under) for Chicken Licken ‘Everyone’s Talking About It’ and Best Adapted Music for Sanlam ‘A Whole New World’.

IDIDTHAT Craft Awards 2020
2nd Place in the Craft Awards Rankings for 2020

Project Phoenix | Karien Cherry
2x One Show Merit Awards, 2015 Bronze Loerie Awards, Creative Circle (Second Place) – March 2015

New Balance – Baby vs Steyn | Karien Cherry
Crystal Festival Gold and Grand Prix Winner 2016
Silver Loerie Award 2016
Gold Pixel Craft Award (Online Video Production) IAB Bookmark Awards 2016
Bronze Pixel Award – IAB Bookmark Awards 2016
1st Place TV – Creative Circle November 2015. 

Four Corners | Ian Gabriel
Winner: Best Film  – 2014 Santa Fe Independent Films Festival, Niagara International Film Festival, 2nd Place Giffoni Film Festival
Best Film 2015 South African Film & Television Awards, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Music, Sound Design
Nominee: Best Foreign Film – 2014 IPA Satellite Awards

Sanlam Tax Free Campaign | Karien Cherry
1st Place (TV) – Creative Circle Awards March 2015
2 x Emerald Awards – African Crystal Festival

SABC Clown Love | Peri
Creative Circle Award 2014 (Second Place)

Virgin Active – Night Ride | Peri
Creative Circle Award 2013 (Second Place)


8th Floor 9, Jamieson Street
Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
tel: +27 (0)21 422 1321

Executive Producer: Emma Lundy
+ 27 83 3093630

Executive Producer: Cindy Gabriel
+27 83 601 1511

Awarded by IDIDTHAT

Giant Films | Paul Ward
Mami Wata ‘Luck is Alive’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Carl Willoughby, Executive Creative Director at TBWA Hunt Lascaris
April 2022

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: AK, Director at Spitfire

Carl’s comment: ‘‘I love this piece so much. I consider direction to include all the various aspects and layers that go into producing something. Cinematography, editing, music, it’s all there and it’s all pretty dramatically epic. A little mini 4’40” movie that has drama, and tension. The pictures are beautiful, but the feeling of it all is just so powerful. Well done to Paul and the rest of the team.’

AK’s comment: ‘Anyone know what Animism means? If not watch this piece. Well done to Director Paul and Editor Xander for the love and care they took in their respective roles on this impressive piece of work. I enjoyed being swept away in this abstract, poetic short film that also manages to stay on-brand for Mami Wata surf apparel and accessories.’

Giant Films | Ian Gabriel
SuperSport ‘Watch Africa Rise’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Mpho Twala, Partner and Director at The Rudeboy Collective
July 2021

Mpho’s comment: ‘This was the standout film for me, as a lover of all things sports, I thought it was well crafted and not a typical ‘sports promo video’ you’d expect from Supersport. Loved how they treated the lighting and cinematography. The intercutting between archival and shot footage is seamless, and helps to tell the story in an emotive way. I also appreciate that they didn’t try and recreate something we’ve seen before, and rather went for something unique, that stands out. This piece is a reminder why Ian is one of the great custodians of this commercials industry – such a fantastic leader. Everything about this film works hard. The cinematography is key. With very intentional lighting that aides the cinematography. Sound design plays its part. And the voice-over helps the spot flow.’

Giant Films | Paul Ward
Moonga K. Ft PHFAT ‘Who’s It Gonna Be?’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Charmaine Greyling, Co-Founder and VFX Artist at Strangelove Studios
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Neo Mashigo, Chief Creative Officer of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa
March 2021

Charmaine’s comment: ‘The visual poetry articulates the architecture of this film both externally and internally. It speaks of love as an infection, a rejection and then redemption. Remarkable film-making.’

Neo’s comment: ‘From the opening shot I knew I was in for a treat. I just didn’t know that Paul Ward would be serving sour worms mixed with fireballs in his quest to showcase love and its mixed bag of emotions under an Afrofuturism backdrop. Every shot executed to take you through the pain and joy of love and its effects. Paul must’ve worked with an all-star crew because all the craft elements are exceptional. It’s a visual orgasm.’

Giant Films | Ian Gabriel
Glo ‘Football’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Chloe Coetsee, director at Darling Films
January 2021

Chloe’s comment: “A very close second place for Best in Craft was Ian Gabriel’s ‘Football’ spot for Glo. It put a smile on my face. I loved the irreverent style of the visuals tied together by good old-fashioned story telling; the combination created something fun and engaging to watch. The idea is something we’ve seen many times before, which would have made it even harder for Ian to find those original moments that keep surprising the audience throughout. That’s good direction.”

Giant Films | Paul Ward
PHFAT ‘Whatever You Like’ (Music Video)
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Grant Sithole, ECD of FOXP2
October 2020

IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Cindy Lee, Director at The Star Film Company

Grant’s comment: “In a time where it’s not quite always clear whether ‘I feel like I’ve seen that before’ is a good or a bad thing, I enjoyed the craft of what felt like a fluid combination of a familiar storytelling technique turned quite a way up by excellent craft and intertwined beautifully with the music. I was captivated from the very beginning (could have been the Cressida with the dope bonnet) down to the very last shot. Well done.”

Cindy’s comment: “A visually breathtaking film, intimate, yet abstract in its handling of love and loss. This music video sucks us into a world that is both foreign and familiar. It’s dark and moody and incredibly sexy, so much so that at times I was grateful to be watching alone. It took me on one hell of a rollercoaster of a ride and made me yearn for my youth. A visual and visceral masterpiece. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Giant Films | Paul Ward
Sanlam ‘Caitlin’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Tseliso Rangaka, CCO at FCB Africa
August 2020

Tseliso’s comment: “The story of Caitlin Rooskrantz is not an easy one to tell. There’s a lot of backstory. A lot of emotional highs and lows and multiple timelines to unravel. Yet it is this complexity that makes it worth telling. I love how Paul Ward managed to distil all of this down to its beautiful essence without losing any of the powerful nuance. He gives us just enough for us to piece the puzzle together through a selection of archival footage, audio clips and, of course, the anchor moment with Caitlin on the bus. By the time we get to the end it feels like we’ve been through the journey with her. We know how she feels and what she’s got to do. The asymmetric bar sequence near the end is a work of art on its own. Please pass my regards to the editor as well.”

Giant Films | Karien Cherry
Chicken Licken ‘Easy Bucks Campaign’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Kabelo Moshapalo, ECD at TBWA Hunt Lascaris
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Marc Algranti, EP / Music Supervisor at Pulse Music
February 2020

Kabelo’s comment: “Whether you’re taking it all in as holistic brand TVC or branching off to the genre-specific executions that span various and quite specific cinematic worlds, the dynamic direction flows effortlessly. Every scene and every scenario carefully considered to ensure that each performance lands its intended punchline. Lots of fun and lots of laughs, packed full of local flavour.”

Marc’s comment: “Karien really had a massive job on her hands with this campaign. She absolutely nailed all the genres. I don’t how she managed to direct so many different genres in what I imagine was a short amount of time. Each of the scenes are credible and the comedy is on point. She managed to get wonderful performances and delivery out her actors. Well done to Karien for getting them to all to work together so seamlessly, these are all really enjoyable to watch and put a smile on my face every time I watch them.”

Giant Films | Peri & Thati Pele
ER24 ‘Save The Number Campaign’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Ahmed Tilly, CCO at FCB Africa
July 2019

Judges Comment: “I need to single-out a campaign of peculiar little spots for ER24 directed by Peri VP and Thato Peele out of Giant Films. What I love about the “Save The Number” campaign is the restraint the directors needed to exercise in keeping the little films’ integrity intact. They directed the performances beautifully, kept it simple, authentic and managed to do this in a mobile format. Proof that you don’t always need gigantic budgets to create big performances. Very entertaining stuff!”

Giant Films | Karien Cherry
Sanlam ‘Conversations with Yourself – Pushups, Neighbours, Forklift’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Bridget Johnson, Consulting Executive Creative Director at WICK
September 2018

Judges Comment: “A shoutout to Karien Cherry from Giant Films for Sanlam ‘Conversations with Myself’ for nailing the technical challenge of these spots so seamlessly. Well done.”

Giant Films | Karien Cherry
KFC Africa ‘Keep Rolling’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Stuart Stobbs Chief Creative Officer at 1886 Advertising
June 2018

Judges Comment: “Humour, it’s a funny thing – and damn hard to crack. However, Karien and Giant Films have flirted with ‘slapstick’ the whole way through but brilliantly managed to keep this ad firmly in “damn funny”. I just keep showing people this commercial – excellent stuff.”

Giant Films | Ian Gabriel
Sanlam ‘100 Years’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Mariana O’Kelly, ECD at Ogilvy Johannesburg
March 2018

Judges Comment: “In order to select my favourite spot, I also asked myself which commercial had the biggest executional risk attached to it. Like…which one had the biggest potential for failure if it wasn’t for the director? And I have to say its hands down the Sanlam spot. Getting a 9 year old girl to carry an entire brand message and to deliver it with such confidence, humility and a touch of innocence deserves a bloody well done. Nice one. The cinematography is also exquisite.”

Giant Films | Karien Cherry
Sanlam ‘Tax Free Experiment’ Campaign (Directors Cut)
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Donovan Bryan, Executive Creative Director at Owen Kessel Leo Burnett
March 2016

Judges Comment: “I thought the Sanlam ‘Tax Free Experiment’ was really well told and the timing was great.”

Giant Films | Karien Cherry
New Balance ‘Baby vs Dale Steyn’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Jonathan Beggs, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi
December 2015

Judges Comment: “The outstanding TV commercial this month is not a TV commercial but an online piece for New Balance, where the world’s best fast bowler is put through his paces trying to keep up with the daily routine of a toddler. It’s an unexpected, charming idea from King James, and I suppose it was always going to be interesting (celebrities and cute kids are up there with cats as internet hitmakers) but it’s beautifully handled by Karien Cherry from Giant Films. Directing celebrities and kids (and cats) is a lot easier than watching them!”

Featured Work 

IDIDTHAT Featured Stories 

Directors on Directors | Karien Cherry and Jessie Zinn

September 22nd, 2022|Comments Off on Directors on Directors | Karien Cherry and Jessie Zinn

Giant Films have announced the signing of award-winning documentary filmmaker Jessie Zinn for commercial representation. Jessie may be new to the commercial world but she is not new to filmmaking by any means – her latest documentary ‘Drummies’ is a short film that has just been acquired by the New Yorker (yes, the actual New Yorker!). One of South Africa’s accomplished commercial directors and fellow Giant, Karien Cherry, talks to Jessie about the film, the pursuit of truth and how (spoiler alert) their fear of failure drives them to do great work.

Music Video Director Turned Commercials Director Adriaan Louw Joins Giant Films

November 16th, 2018|Comments Off on Music Video Director Turned Commercials Director Adriaan Louw Joins Giant Films

Director Adriaan Louw has been at the forefront of capturing the identity of youth culture in Africa. His obsession with documenting an authentically cool African youth narrative and sharing it with the rest of the world has now lead him to move from being a kickass music and content director to joining the big guns at Giant Films to take on the world of commercials directing. We got the, wait for it… Louw-down😎

SA’s Viral KFC Neymar Ad: What We Didn’t Know

July 11th, 2018|Comments Off on SA’s Viral KFC Neymar Ad: What We Didn’t Know

Director Karien Cherry from Giant Films and Ogilvy Cape Town share their journey of going viral, dish the dirt on some on-set near disasters and reveal sneaky Easter eggs for die-hard fans like us! Thanks for getting South Africa into the World Cup you clever people you!

To Peri van Papendorp. From Advertising Anonymous.

April 6th, 2018|Comments Off on To Peri van Papendorp. From Advertising Anonymous.

Ever wanted to make the move from advertising to directing, but can’t exactly ask your ECD for tips? Ex Creative Director turned Director, Peri vP from Giant Films steps up to the plate to answers all those burning questions…from Anonymous of course #JobSecurity

Karien Cherry Did That

November 1st, 2017|Comments Off on Karien Cherry Did That

You know those ads you love? Well, Karien Cherry from Giant Films directed them. We dug deep into her road to success, made her share all her secrets and got the juice on her latest and most controversial campaign for eNCA.