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'I AM'

I AM is a coming-of-age dance film about a young Krump dancer from the Cape Flats who is in search of their identity. While trying to find answers they call on the ancestors who show them the way through different styles of ballroom culture dance. Each individual ancestor shares gifts of movement from their own homes and come together to give the dancer a space to express their newfound identity in a place surrounded by love and joy. A place called home. It is a story of seeking and speaking our truth and in doing so, finding your way home to those with the same intention.




Haneem Christian is a Visual Poet born and raised in Grassy Park in Cape Town. Christian is a graduate of Gender Studies and Environmental and Geographical Sciences from the University of Cape Town. After graduating, Christian forged their way as a formidable Creative Director and Photographer, with a particular focus on representation within the Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ community.

In February 2020, Christian delivered a body of work with NON Worldwide at the Institution of Contemporary Art after being named one of four mentors for The Orms Mentorship Program, as well as an ongoing mentor for young artists in the Lalela Project. Subsequently, Christian has exhibited in notable exhibitions such as ICTAF,
Johanesburg Art Fair, 1-54 New York and Unseenphoto Fair, Amsterdam. In January
2022, Christian was named the winner of the Pride Photo Award.

Christian is now strongly committed to creating curricula for students who use art as a means of education and emancipation. Bubblegum Club Magazine states, "Haneem is one of the leading forces of the South African future.”

“I am” acknowledges the vastness that exists within our communities within the cape flats. It is a reminder that our communities are made up of so many different parts and that we are more than just our suffering. There is joy, sacred knowledge, and abundance in the cape flats. “I am” is a reminder that we are embodied in abundance. It is a reminder that there is space for all of us. And most importantly it is a reminder that we are never alone. Our queer trans ancestors are always walking with us. They’ve walked the same streets we do in Mitchell’s plain, Langa, Elsies River, Mamre, Bonteheuwel. This film is an ode and an offering to our ancestors and the foundations they have played for us to lean into and create our own homes within home.

The whole cast and core crew is made of Femmes, Queer and/or Trans people of colour. The cast is comprised of giants and pillars in the South African Ballroom Community, namely Cece aka Cheshire V, Berlin and Chanel Le Cap, Autumn and Tyler. Our lead cast member Zinzi is a young Giant from Mitchells plain and an already prominent figure in the dance community standing tall amongst her peers of all ages. It was also important that everyone in the core crew were also people who were either from the Queer community or a person of colour as this creates an environment of understanding and a sense of comfort for the cast.

I have admired everyone involved in this project for many years and have worked with all of them in some capacity before. When this opportunity arrived, I knew that it was time for us to all reunite once again. Each person in the cast has an important story to tell and a big part of my duty is to create a space, whether it be photography or moving image, where they can be heard and seen as they desire and deserve. This means making sure we shoot them in a way that they want to be shot by offering them the opportunity to choose where they want to be shot to best represent their truth, choosing their own hair, makeup etc so that their stories are told the way they want it to be told.

Each individual was shot in the main casts’ communities. I asked each character, who plays the role of the embodied ancestor, to identify a space that is meaningful to them, that they would call home, or a place that played a prominent role in their becoming. We shot Berlin and Chenal in Elsies River, where they both live. We shot Tylor in Langa where he grew up. We shot Autumn at Bontehuewel High where she went to school and used to teach once she matriculated. And finally, we shot Cece in Mamre in their granny’s garden, a home they had grown up in. It was incredibly special to see everyone fully embodied in spaces that played such a huge role in birthing them as they are. And then our main character. One of my favourite people in the whole entire world, Zinzi. Someone I have looked up to since the day I saw her dance for the first time at a dance competition on Youth day in 2021 in Mitchells Plain. I just remember being in complete awe of her and sending my partner a video of her saying “I feel like I just met my future self”. Though Zinzi is young in human age, she carries so much wisdom in her embodiment, movement and beingness. When this film came to light, I knew she had to be a part of it. I sent the video around to a few of my dancer friends and once I had finally connected with her, I began to realise that our meeting has been orchestrated by a force way greater than us. That meeting Zinzi was always meant to be. That Zinzi was going to teach me more than I could ever fathom.

The core on set crew was a group of people that I am honestly so honoured to share space with. Firstly, my brother Thandi Gula who was the AD for the film. Thandi is an incredible artist and storyteller and one of my chosen siblings in this world. Baz Bailey was the DOP for the film. Baz is such a talented DOP, with the most incredible work ethic and the gentlest approach to his craft. Dominique Jossie produced the film and wow; I am still in awe of her. She is a phenomenal artist, storyteller, and producer, amongst many other things. Dominique carried all of us with so much kindness throughout this whole project. She feels like the older sister I never had, I’m super grateful for her. Donna de cock who is one of the most talented stylists, styled the film and when I say she went above and beyond I really mean that. She is a force. The makeup was done by artist and maker of all things healing Keegan whose presence was so joyous and warm every single day on set. Cece Martinez who is a master of many trades and unconditional love embodied was the Movement Director for this film, without whom this film would be absolutely nothing close to what it is. Cece is the Mother to many and a teacher to all of us. When I say we had the best editor I really mean that Yoza is a director, editor, and half of Darkie Fiction. She is a magician and someone who is of pure light. Lastly, Denise Onen, a master of sound, did our sound design for the film and I think it truly speaks for itself. Denise is incredible.

I thank God for everyone. I am so incredibly grateful for my people.


The energy on set was pure love between the cast and core crew. The mutual respect made the space so warm, it felt like being amongst family every day. By the final day, our hearts were full, rooted in pure joy, a feeling that only God could create. My work is process centered which means that though there is a huge importance placed on the outcome, what really matters to me is the process of making the art. It acknowledges that the moments in front of the camera are a realised dream for the crew and a realised dream of mine to be tasked with the duty of ensuring that their truths are shared the way they want to share it, to offer a space for them to be seen in all their might because they are not only deserving but as a community we need to hear and prioritise their voices and their truths. I’m beyond humbled by everyone I got to work with. They are the future.



My name is Zinzi, I'm 12 years old and I dance to express my emotions. I have been dancing since the age of six at Set4Dance Studio.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
To be part of this short film means I gained more experience. I met new people. it was something different and new at the same time, it motivated me to better myself. It was like a challenge I have never done. I felt inspired and I hope there are more opportunities like this for myself in the future.

What was your favourite part of the production?
My favourite part is was when I was taught styles from the ancestors and how they project themselves when dancing.


Artist, muse, movement & artistic director, performer, and facilitator to all who yearn to express themselves. Cheshire is the fierce provocateur of femme embodiment through the languages of movement, fashion, music, and the holistic integration of masculine and feminine energy within their embodiment practices & artistry. Some might call her a Deity, but they'll settle for Your Highness.

Without missing a beat, CC has cemented themselves as a Creative Director you can’t help but take notice of. A self-taught rogue artist who dove headfirst into the commercial dance industry, amassing a decade of hands-on experience, CC has become one of the most unique interdisciplinary performance architects and creative directors in the game.

A master of diversification and thinking on their feet, CC’s ability to internalise and then facilitate the execution of a concept from treatment/brief to screen/performance is near alchemy. With a foundational 5 years’ experience as a founding member and company manager of one of South Africa’s most notorious commercial dance companies, Untimitive Dance Company, as well as touring the world as a close collaborator and mentee to FKA Twigs, CC truly possesses a skill set and experience like no other.


As a queer POC, they have an intimate understanding of marginalized narratives. Fuelling their passion and mission to bring these narratives centre stage. Uplifting and dignifying experiences and narratives that are all too often used as gimmicks or entirely erased. CC's journey is far from reaching its peak, and we are_ absolutely amazed at their dedication and determination to change the landscape of storytelling & expression in South Africa.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
Being a part of this film is one the most affirming moments of my artistic career. Being a part of and co-creating a visual universe that represents not only myself, but my community in a way that speaks to the universal desire of finding home. Is a culmination of literally years and years of work. So this moment means more to me that words can be articulated. To understand what it means for me to be a part of this film, you'll have to watch it and let your soul hear all that we are expressing through the language of movement.

What was your favorite part of the production?
How am I supposed to have a favorite part! Lol! This has been my favorite production in my career, so far. The moment that moved me the most deeply, was being witness to Zinzi's (our protagonist) breakthrough in their final krump freestyle. It was one of the most awe-inspiring and humbling moments of my entire life.



Berlin Williams is a 26-year-old professional dancer and choreographer from Elsies River. I have trained and worked with many of Cape Town’s top performers, mentored my own students and have been an integral member of South Africa’s Premier Ballroom house (The House of LeCap). Also working with schools around Cape Town training them for multiple competitions with a few good wins under my belt. I have been on tour in Europe with a local artist as their head choreographer for the tour for most of 2019. Dance is my love language and has become not only my way of communicating and navigating my emotions, but also my lifeline.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
This film digs deep into roots and conversations that need to happen around queerness and specifically queerness with people of colour. I don't think I can ever put into words how honoured I felt being a part of such a monumental moment. This also brings to light some of Cape Town’s ballroom scene and having such talented people who influence Cape Town’s queer scene was really just such a breathe of fresh air.

What was your favourite part of the production?
My favourite part of production was definitely having an entirely queer cast of POC's. We had so much fun on set and everything just felt so easy and felt like it was naturally just happening. The mood, the power and the energy was just so powerful


I'm Autumn May McKenzie aged 25. I'm a trans girl from Bonteheuwel. I'm a professional dancer, choreographer and I strive in breaking boundaries in showing other trans girls that achieving greatness is possible and that we can be anything that we want to be. I attended Bonteheuwel High and Garlandale High and after matriculating from Garlandale High I studied dance and performing arts at The Rainbow Academy. I've done competitions, commercials, music videos, live performances and taught at quite a few schools such as Bonteheuwel high, my biggest achievement yet was being featured on Vogue Italia in 2021. I'm here to take up space and show people that trans bodies are just as capable. Trans is beautiful.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
Being part of this film meant everything and more! I had so much fun, and I felt so loved and seen. I felt powerful and confident in who I am which I must admit I often struggle with ... A lot but this film taught me so much about myself and about life in general. I feel like the most important thing that I'll be carrying with me from this film is that you're never alone and that it's okay to be different. It's what makes you unique. And btw I've got one thing to say REPRESENTATION!!! Like I mean CAN YOU EVEN! This film was representative at its finest and I'm honoured to have been a part of it. Trans representation and taking up space is always a big thing to me.

What was your favourite part of the production?
My favourite part of the film was the tears that were shed after Zinzi’s breath-taking solo performance. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love and unity that was in the room and I've never felt more comfortable and at home than ever before!



My name is Chenal Tayer, a transgender female aged 21 from Cape Town Elsies River. I started dancing at the age of 14 years old as part of my extra curricula at school. The club included dancing, singing and music training. After school I became a professional dancer, dancing both locally and internationally. I am proficient in vogue, afrobeat and hip hop. Every dance form has its own specifications, movements and techniques. Perfecting each form and expanding my dance knowledge is a quest that keeps me motivated and fulfilled. I hope to one day become an internationally recognized performer. Internationally, I was one of two backup dancers for the South African artist, Angel Ho. The tour started in Paris, France and ended in Berlin, Germany in 2019. Locally I perform in a dance crew, as a backup dancer for local artists and am part of the first ballroom house in Africa.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
Being part of this film meant so much to me, reason being I identify as a transgender woman of colour. So, every step I take as an individual helps my queer community grow.

What was your favourite part of the production?
For me personally I never met such an amazing cast ever within this industry. The amount of fun, connecting and motivation on this set was beyond my expectations. So creating a new family was my favourite part of this production.


My name is Tylor Spelman professional dancer, choreographer and teacher and have been working in the entertainment industry for more than 10 years. I've worked with the likes of:
LLOYD CELE, SHO MADJOZI, MANILA VON TEEZ, CRAIG LUCAS, JARRED RICKETTS, DETOX from RUPAULS DRAG RACE. I've worked on television show such as IDOLS SA MNET, STEP UP OR STEP OUT 2 ETV, TURN IT OUT SABC 1, EXPRESSO SABC 3. My latest achievements Winning a reality tv show called THE LONGEST DATE SEASON 2. I established a hip hop dance company WEDFY ENTERTAINMENT MARKETING AND EVENTS with 2 other partners.

What does it mean to be part of this film?
Being part of "I AM" short film means so much more than the words that I am about to express such as JOY , HAPPINESS , LIBERATION, MAKING A F@#$*ING STATEMENT about our authenticity in expressing ourselves through LOVE....Which we had to discover within ourselves when projections of "YOU DON'T MATTER!" was so evident. Being part of this project means I have a voice!, a voice worth listening to....and that's all I ever wanted....TO BE HEARD...

What was your favorite part of the production?
My "FACE" or shall I say my contribution to the production was to allow myself to be more OPEN and VULNERABLE about who I AM through ART and what I am PASSIONATE or infact *what I stand for.”




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