The Star Film Company

Star Films is a South African based commercial production company, based in Johannesburg. Representing multi-talented directors Cindy Lee, Markstry, Matthys Boshoff, PHI 2.0 (Jonathan Parkinson and Matshepo Maja), Sam Sterling-Court, Tebza Malope, Tristan Holmes and Wim Steytler


Directors: Cindy Lee / Markstry / Matthys Boshoff / PHI 2.0 (Jonathan Parkinson and Matshepo Maja) / Sam Sterling-Court / Tebza Malope / Tristan Holmes / Wim Steytler
Producer: Adam Thal / Saskia Rosenberg Haak

Company Website

The Star Film Company is a full-service production house with offices in both Johannesburg and Cape town. Focused on high-quality work for top brands, we have established ourselves as one of South Africa’s leading production offerings. We are relationship driven and hands on, offering tailored work with unique perspectives from our varying directors.


8 Stirling Street
South Africa

Tel +27 11 258 8687

Executive Producer: Adam Thal
082 927 8930

Executive Producer: Ksenija Micic
083 703 6868

Awarded by IDIDTHAT

Star Films | Cindy Lee
Standard Bank ‘The Inventor’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Ernest Nkosi, Director at Bomb Commercials
September 2020

Ernest’s comment: “I’m a sucker for a beautifully told period piece, the passage of time is beautifully orchestrated, weaving seamlessly through the different eras with believable performances. The camera language is complemented by an exquisite edit with beautifully timed match cuts. The art direction beautifully captures the nostalgic past paying great homage to the Toyota Cressida a classic loved car of that era. The rich textures in the grade are complemented by the music that brings together the entire piece. Congratulations to all involved on an amazing piece of film.”

Star Films | Cindy Lee
First for Women ‘Fearless’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Louis Enslin, Owner and Engineer at Produce Sound
August 2020

Louis’ comment: “A beautifully crafted, well told, impactful story with a strong message. All the elements from direction, VFX, Cinematography and Sound work well together. Love the song. Well done Cindy and team Star.”

Star Films | Tebza Malope
Chicken Licken ‘Soul food for a Soul Nation’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Dani Hynes, Director at Made Films & Bridget Johnson, ECD at The Riverbed Agency
July 2020

Dani’s comment: “Chicken Licken scripts are amongst some of those all of us directors salivate over. So, it is always lovely to see someone make the most of every frame. The choice of cast, the captivating details tucked away in each vignette, the deliberately cinematic quality to the storytelling, the deliciously contrasted grade and the overall joy that shot out of our screens when we needed it most gives it that standout quality that had me looking twice. Well done to everyone involved.”

Bridget’s comment: “And humour wins again! This one deserves a special mention for its all-round craft.  The art direction and framing made it stand out on a reel of serially underlit, moody commercials.  It’s an overdue visual feast, beautifully paced and edited to ensure each little punchline finds just the right beat. Quality all-round!”

Star Films | Tebza Malope
Elo Zar ‘Bophelo’ (Music Video)
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Sibusiso Sitole, CCO and co-founder of The Odd Number
June 2020

Sibusiso’s comment: “This is not your typical music video. Shot and cast beautifully, this music video takes us on a journey of an unexpected showdown between two Gogos. I’ve always wondered when local filmmakers would begin to really explore fantastical genres in their work, and Tebza brings us a step closer to this reality. The visuals and the soundtrack work so well together, and the frames are beautifully captured. Of course, the two leads really make the film shine. I look forward to more of these conceptually considered pieces in the world of music videos.”

Metropolitan ‘Get Up’
Star Films | Sam Sterling Court
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Jake Bester, Creative Partner / Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Abel
April 2020

Judge’s comment: “With these types of pieces, I always think it must be so hard for the director to make a “chosen” cast believable or a selection of “real” people watchable. Well done to Sam for doing both in this case. It was hard to tell if this was a cast or a selection of actual consumers. Good work on getting those performances and making a very used casting tape technique quite watchable both through the performances and the treatment as well. Great work for a first job.”

Game ‘You’ve got Game’
Star Films | Tebza Malope
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Roanna Williams, ECD at Black River FC

Judges Comment: “Love this spot. Why? Because it’s so great for a brand like Game. It’s fun, quirky, South African and makes me want to step into “my Game”. It feels authentically South African through the cast, scenes and the local humour.”

Star Films | Jonathan Parkinson
Xero ‘Unexpected’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Fran Luckin, CCO at Grey Africa
May 2019

Judges Comment: “One simple fluid take lets the stunt enjoy center stage. It feels easy and unforced. It would be even better with no voice over. Just a superbly well-phrased end title. Okay, you might need two titles.”

Star Films | Tristan Holmes
Investec ‘We Live in a World’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Tseliso Rangaka, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy Cape Town
April 2019

Judges Comment: “I’m going to call this work by Tristan Holmes a very worthy contender. Yes my sister agency commissioned it. Yes someone else should probably be the judge here. But I’m the one tasked to do this. It helps that the work speaks for itself. Through the best alternative to Idris Elba there is. It also speaks through the picture perfect…well pictures, a great score and that thing the lead does at the end of the ad. Watch it again. Tell me I’m wrong.”

Star Films | Tristan Holmes
Nedbank ‘The Tale of a Note’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Steph van Niekerk
March 2017

Judges Comment: “As the name implies, this ad is a tale about a bank note. A good tale captures the imagination by playing out in the space between romanticism and realism, and Tristan gets it right in this film. He uses everything – from casting and locations to voice and music – to create a big movie feel for a whimsical tale. But that’s not all that this ad is about. The story is very much about the way money impacts the lives of people. We meet characters we wouldn’t ever imagine meeting in a bank ad and their performances are great. (Refer to the man at 0:51) The challenge of the big montage ad is that each scene has to tell a lot of story in a very short time, Tristan gets it right with very powerful, subtle performances. Well done.”

Star Films | PHI
MNET ‘Kiss’ 
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Graeme Jenner, Executive Creative Director at King James II 
October 2016

Judges Comment: “This is a sweet story, sweetly done. That little girl is really good. I think I’m becoming more susceptible to ads like this since becoming a Dad. It’s the same thing with the dog ad below.”

Star Films | Tristan Holmes
Coronation ‘If Your Money Came Easy’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Pepe Marais, Chief Creative Officer at Joe Public
May 2016

Judges Comment: “My Best Of Reel goes to Tristan Holmes from Star Films for his Direction on the Coronation commercial. And also to The Upstairs Ludus for their remote grade facilitation, VFX and Compositing as well as to Marc Algranti from Pulse Music for the Music. This is a disruptive take on investment. It’s highly insightful and deserves to be recognized, no matter the controversy. It’s the kind of work I absolutely love and have all the aspects of world class commercial making.”

Star Films | PHI
SABC 1 ‘The Artist’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Pepe Marais, Chief Creative Officer at Joe Public
May 2016

Judges Comment: “The directing partnership between Jonathan Parkinson and Nicole Ackermann from Fresh Eye (Now with Star Films) is starting to yield real results with their powerfully executed commercial for SABC 1. It proves that two heads are definitely better than one and they are indeed a pair to watch in future. I love the authenticity within the insight and the lateral execution.”

Star Films | Tristan Holmes
Coca-Cola ‘Emoticons’
IDIDTHAT Guest Judge: Jonathan Deeb, Executive Creative Director at FCB Johannesburg,
January 2016

Judges Comment: “Also an FCB ad, but I am the only judge, so have to do right by Tristan, who rightfully deserves a Direction mention for some charming performances and Ricky of Deliverance for assembling an engaging story.”

Featured Work

IDIDTHAT Editorial

Director Matshepo Maja launches solo career with The Star Film Company

October 19th, 2021|Comments Off on Director Matshepo Maja launches solo career with The Star Film Company

For over 3 three years Matshepo Maja has formed part of the directing duo PHI 2.0, alongside Jonathan Parkinson. The Star Film Company has announced that they will now be launching Matshepo as a solo director. The news comes as no surprise as Mats’ solo career is already in full swing and here’s why you’ll be seeing her name a whole lot more.

10 Questions for Star Film’s Emerging Director Sam Sterling-Court

July 17th, 2020|Comments Off on 10 Questions for Star Film’s Emerging Director Sam Sterling-Court

Sam Sterling-Court has hit the ground running as the latest director to join Star Films. After only two months of things being 'director-official', she already directed TWO commercials. With a unique academic take on filmmaking, we lay down 10 questions to this talented young director.

Director and Content Ninja Markstry Joins The Star Films Company

February 7th, 2019|Comments Off on Director and Content Ninja Markstry Joins The Star Films Company

Director Markstry from The Star Films Company is living his best life surrounded by all things content. He spills on the thrill he gets from working with impossible deadlines, sticky budgets, small crews and combating countless obstacles on set. Masochist, master or a bit of both?

Matshepo Maja and Jonathan Parkinson Join Forces as Co-Directing Duo at The Star Films Company. Enter Phi 2.0 (Interview)

September 28th, 2018|Comments Off on Matshepo Maja and Jonathan Parkinson Join Forces as Co-Directing Duo at The Star Films Company. Enter Phi 2.0 (Interview)

We catch up with Directors Matshepo Maja and Jonathan Parkinson from The Star Film Company to find out about their new offering, Phi v2.0. The co-directors speak candidly about the power of their unlikely collaboration and we get a little third realm about what lies ahead.