Thanks, Mr. Bell

We follow the lives of people grappling with communication in a world where people can only speak through their mobile phones, and some people have had enough.

  • Mzimasi Ndzombane
    Director
  • Mzimasi Ndzombane
    Writer
  • Mzimasi Ndzombane
    Producer
  • Julie Aarts
    Producer
  • Lwethu Tenge
    Key Cast
  • Riaan du Toi
    Key Cast
  • Jessie Crichton
    Key Cast
  • Robyn van de Merwe
    Key Cast
  • Loyiso Ndzombane
    Key Cast
  • Werner Breytenbach
    Key Cast
  • Jason Lee Hill
    Key Cast
  • Taylor Rose Strydom
    Key Cast
  • Zusake Nojoko
    Key Cast
  • Athenkosi Ndzombane
    Key Cast
  • Litha Bisset
    Key Cast
  • April Genadieva
    Key Cast
  • Tom Radford
    Cinematographer
  • Dane Bruner
    1st Assistant Camera
  • Riaan du Toit
    2nd Assistant Camera
  • Lemuela Coetzee
    On-set recording
  • Rebekah Breeze Johnson
    On-set recording
  • Richard Gauld
    Composer
  • April Genadieva
    Additional Sound Recording
  • Raymond Finn
    Final Mix
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Mystery, Drama
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 15, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    South Africa
  • Country of Filming:
    South Africa
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.66:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Durban Film Mart
    Durban
    South Africa
    June 22, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Sunday Shorts Film Festival 2022

    Semi-Finalist
  • Lift Off Festival: Berlin 2023
    Berlin
    Germany
    Judges' Select Shorts
Distribution Information
  • Aspect Ratio Films
    Distributor
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Mzimasi Ndzombane

Born on February 9th 1995 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. THANKS, MR BELL is his debut project.
He studied Software Development at the Nelson Mandela University. During his studies he realised his dormant love for art and pursued cinematography, taking up writing in his free time. His project THE STORY OF A THORN was selected as part of the Durban Film Mart Access Program and Jumpstart in 2021 and is currently in development.

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Director Statement


The constant ability to stay in contact is a massive benefit to society, and has brought an immeasurable amount of good to modern life. Family, friends and assistance is only the press of a button away, but communication as we know it has changed forever. As humans, we’ve grown more dependant on mobile phones. We now don’t have to suffer the consequences of our actions/words immediately. Instead, we can hide behind our devices. We can be a totally different person each time we use our phones and this has lead us to not truly understand ourselves and our neighbour.
The title THANKS, MR BELL is in relation to the creator of the first practical telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, which is in no way a poke at the astonishing technological advancements he made to shape the world into the connected version of itself we find ourselves in today, but rather explores the issue of miscommunication we have been faced with during the growth of telecommunication.
Nowadays people are unknowingly trapped from being able to experience life as it should be, and communication has taken a hit because of this. We are unable to express ourselves away from social posts, texts, emojis and phone calls – as we fear judgement and isolation from groups and society as a whole.
This protagonist of this film is the mobile phone - something all of our characters need in order to communicate with another person. We visit characters at different stages of their life, experiencing their own journey. Some have grown fed up with the current state of communication, while others have embraced it in a healthy way and find themselves at a point in their lives where they can leave that life behind them. Some people in the world of THANKS, MR BELL, struggle to breakaway and find themselves confused at seeing others who now manage to converse by speaking to one another in person.
The themes in this piece are depicted in a world that I like to call Relatable Unfamiliarity as it takes place in a world unfamiliar to us, but the actions of the characters are relatable enough for us to draw similarities to them.
I would like to thank the entire crew for getting on board with something that is very personal to me, and facing the reality of a topic that many people do not want to face. The entire crew is from small Port Elizabeth and each and every one of them showed incredible character to work hard at making this project a reality.
I love you all.