A Film by Kate Acsott-Evans
SHOSHANNAHA’S SKATEBOARD is about a young Orthodox Jewish girl who wishes to become You-Tubes latest skateboarding sensation. Her Rabbi and family think otherwise.
Kate grew up in South Africa and is a graduate of The Stella Adler Conservatory program in Los Angeles. She is a regular contributor to the hit NPR storytelling show “Snap Judgment” and has toured nationally with the show. “Glimmer Train” recently selected her short fiction as one of their 25 top short stories by new writers. Learning from a range of international directors, Kate assisted Athol Fugard on the world premiere of The Train Driver and attended The Actors Studio Playwright/Director unit under the mentorship of Lyle Kessler and Mark Rydell. Kate has worked extensively with young actors, coaching them for film, TV and theatre. The story of SHOSHANNAH’S SKATEBOARD was inspired by the experience of directing a group of Orthodox Jewish teens in a play. Kate currently lives between London and LA. She wishes she could skate.
Angela Matemotja is an award winning filmmaker, an NAACP Theatre Award Nominee, and a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She also attended The British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England to study the classics. After Graduating from the Academy, she moved to NYC where she performed in off Broadway productions ranging from Shakespeare to Experimental Theatre downtown. She left NYC to tour with the Virginia based Shenandoah Shakespeare Company, then relocated to London, where she continued to perform in Television and Film. While in England, she had the opportunity to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre through studies at Morley College, London.
Once back in Los Angles and working in the theatre with Tasia Sherel, Angela stumbled upon a wonderful stage play entitled “Sunshine for a Midnight Weary” that has been described as “chaotic soul searching with the grace and simplicity of a sublime ballet.” Tailored from it’s co-ed format to EMBODI’s all-female company, the robust characters grope through their past and present grasping for one last attempt at a life in the light.
That play was Angela’s directorial debut and awoke a new passion in her that garnered her a NAACP Theatre nomination. She vied for the honor alongside fellow nominees Debbie Allen and Madonna Grimes. The Gala also awarded its 2005 Trailblazer Award to the Negro Ensemble Company and its’ illustrious 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award to Laurence Fishburne (Matrix Trilogies, Mystic River, What’s Love Got To Do With It).
“Sunshine for a Midnight Weary” received glowing reviews. F. Kathleen Foley of the Los Angeles Times stated, “Director Angela Matemotja and her fellow performers infuse November Dawn’s fiercely poetical drama with affecting grace and candor. The play’s emphasis on female bonding is appropriate. Indeed, these performers are so closely bonded in style and commitment, they often seem to function as one organism.”
The L.A. Weekly review by Neal Weaver captures the story and its impact on audiences, “At its best, the play generates real power — particularly in the tale of a mother (director-choreographer Angela Matemotja) who discovers her man has seduced her retarded daughter while she was out working to support them. Matemotja leads her cast in a deeply committed, highly charged performance.”
In 2006 she left for South Africa to travel, visit family in Pretoria (The City of Jacarandas), and perform at the Children’s Theatre in Johannesburg. Six months later, back in Los Angeles, she began to make “mini movies” which she wrote, directed and edited under Richard Lawson at the Richard Lawson Studios.
That experience, and the trip to South Africa, was responsible for another ‘awakening,’ which a few years later would become the catalyst for establishing her production company, Matemotja Productions. Her first short film, THE ENCOUNTER, resulted in tremendous success and exposure, winning a host of film festival Awards and a distribution deal on national television.
Angela’s experience of creating her first film, inspired her to shoot the companion story THE UNTIMELY CONCURRENCE, which is about a father’s struggle to accept his gay son. That film also received multiple awards includng the “Excellence in Writing Award” for its screenplay at AOF International Film Festival in 2012.
Angela continues writing and working behind the camera and looks forward to producing her next project, SHOSHANNAH’S SKATEBOARD by fellow South African writer/director Kate Ascott-Evans.
Production Manager/Co-Producer/Jesica Andres