+27: The view from behind the lens

Plus 27 is a six-part series that explores the world of six creative visionaries in South Africa. Shot by young filmmakers who were trained by professionals, the show is a thrilling showcase of how communities can be enhanced by grassroots ideas.

The show introduces us to Jarrel Mathebula, DJ Ready D, Meghan Davies, Thierry Kita, Gavin Weale and Vincent Manzini as they showcase their dance, DJing, photography, basketball, media and music projects. We go on their journeys and witness the struggles of keeping dance crews together, the stigma of being a female basketballer, and the thrill of making something from nothing. Head over to Red Bull TV to watch the full series

Here, we go behind the scenes, introducing you to the team behind the series.

Episode one: meet the crew
Meet the six crews who’ll be making Plus 27. Some of them have very little experience so there’s a whole lot of skilling-up to be done – but that’s the whole point. The show’s not just for the social entrepreneur they’re covering: it’s for the people behind the camera too.

Episode two: production starts
It’s day one and we’re seeing what’s going on, right at the start of what will be a year-long journey.

Episode three: production challenges
Six months deep into filming and there’s a major problem around crew availability. People leave and the teams reorganise. Tensions are high between producers and the script supervisor - and that’s not to mention the sound guys’ daily problem with getting clear sound in the noise-rich townships.

Episode 4: scripting a documentary
Tensions between having a roadmap and a more freeform approach continue, and one of the main characters is unexpectedly offered a top-flight job with the NBA. Cue radical rethinking of the story and an unexpected trip to Zambia.

Episode five: shooting experiences
It’s the last day of shooting and the emotional connections between the interviewees and the crew are clear for everyone to see – as is the influence the social entrepreneurs have had on the people documenting their work.

Episode six: wrapping up
The action moves to the edit suite, where we meet the junior editors being pushed to the limits of their experience – and the young man unexpectedly promoted to editor.

Episode seven: crew screening
Thirteen months after commencing filming, everyone involved in the show has come together for an emotional screening of the six episodes.

Head over here to read why 23-year-old Khanya Mpahlwa says working on +27 was an ‘amazing experience’.