Amy Jephta hails from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town and works variously as a filmmaker, playwright, screenwriter, director and academic.
An alumni of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, Amy has worked as a mentor to community-based theatre groups as part of the Twist Theatre project, has been a voice and acting lecturer at CityVarsity in Cape Town and the Woodward School for Contemporary Art in Vancouver and an invited lecturer at Queens College, New York. She has held fellowships at the Orchard Project Episodic Lab (New York), the AfroVibes Festival (Amsterdam) and the Edinburgh International Festival. As a playwright, her work has been published in South Africa, performed at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, the Riksteatern in Stockholm, and at the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503 and the Jermyn Street Theatres in London. In 2015 and 2017, her writing was directed by Danny Boyle and performed by James McAvoy as part of The Children's Monologues at the Royal Court (London) and at Carnegie Hall (New York).
As a screenwriter, Amy has three feature film credits to her name including the Afrikaans romantic comedy Sonskyn Beperk (West Five Films: 2016), the LGBT drama While You Weren’t Looking (2015: Out in Africa) and the biopic Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story (2018: Moving Billboard Pictures). Ellen premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, was selected as the opening film for the Toronto Black Film Festival and was screened at the Afrykamera Festival (Poland), Seattle International Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles) before its national cinema release. Ellen was South Africa’s official submission to the 2018 Golden Globes for best Foreign Language Film. Amy’s short film, Soldaat (2017), won the Best Script and Best Short Film categories at the KykNet Silwerskermfees. She has staffed on several shows including Trackers (M-Net Channels / CINEMAX) as well as one in-development South African series (SHOWMAX) while developing a feature film with God’s Own Country producer, Jack Tarling. In 2019, she spent three months in LA after being selected to develop an hour-long original drama as part of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Impact program.
Amy’s outreach work includes having served as chairperson for Women Playwrights International (WPI), a global NPO that aims to create opportunities and space for women playwrights and currently operates in over 40 territories worldwide. She sits on the advisory board for CASA, an annual award for women playwrights that facilitates connections between writers in Canada and South Africa. In 2015, she co-founded the African Women Playwrights Network, a two year digital networking project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has edited a collection called Contemporary Plays by African Women, released in 2019 by Methuen.
Amy has previously been named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Top Young South Africans, is the 2017 recipient of the national Eugene Marais Prize for Drama and the 2019 recipient of one of South Africa’s highest art accolades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre. A former lecturer at the University of Cape Town, Amy now focuses on producing for film and television via her production company, Nagvug Films. She will be directing her first feature film, BARAKAT, in early 2020.
Amy is repped by 3Arts management in the US and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates in the UK.