The film captured attention in the categories Best Short Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Mix and Edit, Best Production Design and was awarded the Best Use of Music which was a collaboration with Riaan Smit and his band Crimson House Blues. “The music is bluesy with a feeling of bittersweet melancholy that just adds to the main character’s lonely, strange struggle,” says Botha.

Botha has been pursuing her dream of becoming a filmmaker since completing a BA Honours in Scriptwriting & Directing at AFDA School of Motion Picture in 2011, and Lina and Leo, 2015 follows a struggling journalist who visits an obscure Karoo town to hunt down a hugely successful, reclusive surrealist artist. The 25-minute film encompasses some strange characters and ultimately, the protagonist gets more surrealism than he bargained for.

“I was inspired by a photograph of William Burroughs buried up to his shoulders in the desert by Annie Leibovitz,” says Botha. “I really love exploring people and subcultures on the periphery – anything that others might turn their noses up for – I just think we shouldn’t judge those different from us.”

From writing to post-production the film took two years to complete with many talented people contributing along the way. “I love the collaborative nature of film because I really enjoy working with people and letting everyone contribute their creativity,” says Botha. “The biggest challenge is always sourcing funding, as any independent filmmaker will tell you.”

With a hefty 13 years of experience working as a copywriter and conceptualiser in advertising, Botha has won a long list of awards garnered along the way including several Bronze, Silver, Gold and Grand Prix Loeries. A self-confessed “concept is king” fanatic, she says she learnt this tip from the advertising world and the need for “pass-on worthy” content.

Botha joined full service agency Brand inc Creative Group in February this year where, together with Design Director, Judd Quy, she oversees the quality of the creative work coming out of the agency. “I handle all the copywriting and help conceptualise big, strategically sound ideas that we roll out into through-the-line integrated campaigns,” says Botha.

“Both directing in filmmaking and being a creative director require getting the best from people and working towards a shared vision which is ultimately good, creative work. Also, my sense of how to engage an audience visually directly links to grabbing a consumer’s attention. I love working with the Brand inc team, they are such a cool bunch of hard working and passionate people.” 

Speaking about the local film industry, Botha says it’s booming. “We are slowly but surely becoming more than just an industry that services international productions coming to shoot here. We are making better and better films as written and directed by our own people and thankfully there is growing support for the development of scripts and writers – which is the most critical part of the process. It's time the world saw what kind of creative writing and directing can come from our shores,” she says.

With the amount of passion, attention to detail and laughter that goes into every project, it's very clear that Botha loves what she does, and so does her global audience: her previous short film, Every Six Months, was shortlisted as one out of 10 films, chosen from over 600 entries worldwide in the UK’s Colchester Film Festival 60-Hour Film Challenge.

Lina and Leo, 2015 recently screened at the Durban International Film Festival and other film festivals are in the pipeline.

For more information, connect with Botha on Twitter. You can also find out more about Lina and Leo, 2015, by visiting the Facebook page.