Alumni of the week #158 Pierre de Villiers

News, 20 February 2020

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“Nothing without a reason” is the adage that cinematographer Pierre De Villiers lives and creates by. A fan of finding the why behind every decision, his images are provocative and always strive to explore new ways of looking at the world. Well versed in all aspects of film making, Pierre has shot everything from shorts to features to commercials to music videos and doccies and his great work is starting to be recognised both locally and abroad.

Pierre’s debut feature film ‘This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection’, which was shot entirely in the remote mountains of Lesotho, recently premiered at the Venice International Film Festival 2020 as well as the Sundance Film Festival 2020, where the film won the Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category. This is a remarkable achievement as there were 128 films in competition selected from 15,100 submissions from around the globe. Furthermore the international and prestigious publication, American Cinematographer, included ‘This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection’ as one of The Sundance 2020 Standouts for its creative cinematography. American Cinematographer is a magazine, founded in 1920, published monthly by the American Society of Cinematographers. It focuses on the art and craft of cinematography across the world.

“The first shot of This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection makes you sit up and take notice: An African man with a javelin in one hand and the reins of his horse in the other is trying to kill the horse as villagers hold him back. Captured at a slow shutter speed, the image has a smeared, dreamy texture, but that doesn’t hide the collective panic.” – American Cinematographer. See full article here:

Pierre’s latest short films include ‘Mthunzi’ and ‘Óur Alberiina’. Pierre picked up ‘Best Cinematography’ at the European Awards for his work on ‘Mthunzi’.

Pierre was trained at AFDA, The School for the Creative Economy, as a cinematographer but is also curious to express his creativity in multiple mediums. He is starting to venture into installation work, medium format stills photography and is in the process of doing research for his first VR short film.

Check out his website here:



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