Optimus Usimende* (2016) takes place in a dystopian world where the built environment is personified. The film follows dispossessed and subjugated protagonist, Usimende, as he undertakes to repair (or destroy) the chasm between privileged and oppressed. Usimende grew up watching the animated television series, The Transformers, which continues to fuel his desire to fight for justice.The narrative traverses two worlds: his place of work, a concrete metropolis where a privileged minority resides in suburban sprawl; and his home, a desolate wasteland relegated to the city’s borders. Using hand-made animation techniques, the film grapples with questions of access, land and the unequal distribution of resources.
*isiXhosa for ‘cement’
A film by Francois Knoetze
Co-Director & Executive Producer Zara Julius
Co-Written by Zara Julius, Amy Louise Wilson and Daniel Nel
Production Design Francois Knoetze and Daniel Nel
Camera Anton Scholtz
Original Soundtrack B00N
Editors Francois Knoetze, Zara Julius, Daniel Nel and Anton Scholtz
Featuring Aphiwe Livi, Amy Louise Wilson and Aphila Livi
Special Thanks Daneel Knoetze, Moeneeb Dalwai, Sakhile Moleshe, Daniel Gray and Kobus La Grange.