Jimmy Reynolds

He may originally be from Jozi, but we’re stoked that Jimmy Reynolds calls Durban home. He’s been involved in some of the coolest film projects in Durbs, from skate, surf and BMX vids for the best in the country, to music videos for the likes of Toya Delazy and Spoek Mathambo. We chatted to him about his BMX’ing roots, following up after one of the best SA music videos ever made and B-grade’s influence on his work.

DIY: Hi Jimmy. Can you give us a little info on who you are and how you landed up filming stuff for money?
Jimmy: I’m Jimmy: 3rd generation film industry.  I guess it’s in my blood and the reason that I landed up doing what I’m doing.

It’s just hold on tight and hope for the best.

DIY: What was so alluring about the Durban lifestyle that you left the big smoke up north and now call this city your home?
Jimmy: I spent lots of time in Durban riding BMX during the wild days with Tyrone Bradley. It was then that I  fell in love with this place.  One day the chance came up and I moved on down here.  I love living in a place that I feel on holiday in every time I come home.



DIY: By what yardstick do you measure your own success and what do you think you would have done differently if you could start your journey into the film industry again? Do you think you’d be where you are if you didn’t make the connections you did from your BMXing years?

Jimmy: I don’t really measure my success against other people, I rather look to them for inspiration. I often step back and think how would Sean or Shelly shoot this.  It’s great how differently a story can be told through different eyes. I’d be nowhere if it wasn’t for BMX.  I wouldn’t have even been to Durban! Yeah, all the people I rode and partied with made up a huge amount of the “who you know” in this industry.





DIY: How much value do you place on forming and maintaining relationships with local filmmakers in our community? Is the industry still pretty new and fresh or is it becoming slightly saturated, doing an ‘every kid that likes art gets into graphic design’ type of thing except replace the graphic design with film?
Jimmy: Yeah its like that for sure.  But I’m stoked on it 100%. The more people that we have shooting good shit here, the better, then the more other cities will take Durban seriously and start shooting proper stuff here and using local crew. Some of my favorite people I’ve met through shooting, but I’m probably not social enough in the industry.



DIY: Do you have any advice for young filmmakers trying to get funding for their projects?
Jimmy: Nah I’ve always done my projects with no budget.



DIY: The concept and execution of Spoek Mathambo’s video for ‘Control’ pushed a few boundaries in terms of what South African cinematographers were producing at the time. What were your initial fears when you were approached to work on the ‘Let Them Talk’ video with Justin McGee? Did the success and acclaim for ‘Control’ influence you in a negative or positive way when you went about crafting the final product? Looking back on it, is there anything you would have changed?

Jimmy: Holy shit, I was terrified, how the fuck do you follow the best music video ever shot in the Southern Hemisphere, and probably one of the top 20 of all time.  As cheesy as this sounds it was kinda like riding something scary. It’s just hold on tight and hope for the best.  Which is pretty much like hanging with Justin any time. What made the whole shoot amazing was Spoek. He was 100% behind the project, he had written it and directed it so well from what he had in his mind. After the first shot, I knew that everything was going to be fine. Yeah of course there are a few little things that I’d change, but I’ll never tell.



DIY: Beyond other cinematographers, what influences you and the work that you create? Judging from your website and word on the street,  you have an affinity for zombies and all things B-grade?
Jimmy: Yeah I love B-grade because it’s about making a plan with what you’ve got, in terms of talent, time, gear, locations, the whole lot.  It just looks like those films were the fun ones to work on.  There are a few photographers that inspire me in an imagery sort of way and then I get inspiration from all sorts of other places.  My girlfriend is a designer so she always has the maddest films and books about crazy architects and designers and all sorts of odd people. They just make me stoked, which I guess is the best type of inspiration. And the people that I shoot with, I love seeing rad shots from other cameras on a shoot, then I start thinking I better up my game and that just pushes me forward.



DIY: Is film something you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?

Jimmy: Yeah I think so. Until something more fun comes along, but I doubt that.


DIY: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Any cool projects in the pipeline?

Jimmy: A few music videos, who knows, I enjoy now and try not to look forward or back.


DIY: Thanks.

Jimmy: Rad, my pleasure.


DIY: PS. That “The Gods Must Be Crazy” stunt you talked about in your Aweh interview. Keen to spill all the details?

Jimmy: Well my dad DP’d them and my mom was under the steering wheel when the old Landrover kept rolling back so I had to step up to the plate. I was inside the little rhino on Gods II and I was the little bushman kid who get pulled off the water bowser and ends up hanging onto the tree, that was me too, all wired up with harnesses and stuff.



You can check out more of Jimmy’s work on his website.

*Header shot by Tyrone Bradley

6 Responses to “Jimmy Reynolds”
  1. lisa bradley says:

    Nice one Jimboat!

  2. Greg says:

    Sick sick sick work!
    Hopefully other film makers stick around and see the potential that Durban has.
    Awesome locations, great crew and no ego.

  3. GCL says:

    Yeah he’s definitely a Durbanite!! We’re stoked to have you Jimmy! Always so talented! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next X

  4. Michelle Hankinson says:

    Wonderful. Just like you. Upwards and upwards Jimbo. Love you x

  5. Matt K says:

    Radical! Work like this makes me home sick.

  6. Tyrone says:

    The question you didn’t ask Jim was what his favourite movie line of all time is: Answer: “it’s not important how many people I’ve killed, what’s important is how I get along with those that are still alive” – Bruce Willis in The whole nine yards.

    Jimmy for el presidente!! What a legend!

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