SJ van Breda was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Cape Town, and worked in the aerospace research field for two years, before pursuing film at Vancouver Film School. She graduated with honours with specialisations in directing, post-production, and cinematography.
SJ is currently a Xiaomi Creator with Xiaomi Studios, and a freelance director and editor in Cape Town, South Africa. She is focusing on engaging video content in conjunction with NGOs such as WWF, UNFPA, UNICEF, FairTrade Africa, The Atlantic Institute’s Atlantic Fellows Programme, and The Kingsley Holgate Foundation. She also served as an instructor and jury member for the inaugural MMOCA Film Festival in Cape Town in 2020. SJ’s editorial clients include The Beautiful News by Ginkgo Agency, Aimer Films, Storyhive Canada, Pantone X Intimina and ScreamFest 2020. SJ also works with Blackbird Film Festival and OXIFF as a festival selection judge.
SJ has screened films at Whistler Film Festival, Oxford International Film Festival, Chilliwack Independent Film Festival, SA Indie Festival, and has filmed two shorts in Italy for the Pigneto and CICI Film Festivals. She was also placed in the top 10 of the Nespresso Talents 2018 and 2020, was selected as a Top Talent for the Adobe Design Achievement awards. SJ was a speaker on mobile filmmaking at the FilmicPro creator summit 2020, and has most recently worked with Ginkgo Agency on editing The Beautiful News SA and Australia.
SJ most recently won the mini documentary prize at the Moment Invitational Film Fest 2021, the documentary prize at SMart: The London International Smartphone Film Fest 2021, and the documentary category of Filmic Fest 2019. SJ has been selected as a finalist at SF3 2021 and her short doc Jane Digby is an official selection at the Oxford International Film Festival 2021.