Dan Mace

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Dan Mace
Dan Mace.jpg
Born (1990-03-07) March 7, 1990 (age 32)
Pinelands, Western Cape, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
CitizenshipSouth African & Austrian
EducationMatriculated from Reddam House (Constantia) High School
Occupation
OrganizationJOE Films
Known forInnovative and uniquely-styled YouTube videos
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Spouse(s)Gabrielle Mace (Esterhuizen)
Parents
  • Chris Mace (father)
  • Pepita Mace (mother)
RelativesLisa Mace (Twin-sister)

Dan Mace (born March 7, 1990) is a South African filmmaker,[1] director,[2] YouTuber,[3] and entrepreneur.[4][5] He is the founder of JOE Films, a renowned creative agency based in Cape Town.[6][7][8][9][10]

Mace has over a decade of experience as a filmmaker and has directed a number of short films such as The Sound of Silence, Humankind, Gift,[11] and many more.[12] He has also worked for several prolific brands such as Al Gore, CNN, Great Big Story, and Red Bull, creating television commercials and promotional material. He also shot a promo for the Indian Premier League and won an award for “Finding 42” a Tusker commercial he shot in Kenya.[13][14]

He has worked alongside Casey Neistat and was an integral part of the 368 series shot in New York.[15][16]

Mace is also a distinguished YouTuber[17] with over 783,000 subscribers, and more than 35 million collective views.[18] He is a multi-award-winning artist who has garnered many accolades over the years, including three Young Director Awards[19] at Cannes Lions,[20][21] an African Cristal Film Grand Prix, multiple Ciclope Africa Editing Craft awards, multiple Bronze Loerie Awards, and the Creative Circle ad-of-the-month. SHOTS Magazine named Mace the 2019 “Hot Shot” Director of the Year.[22] As of 2021, his estimated net worth is between $500 000 - $750 000.[23]

Early life and education

Mace was born on 7 March 1990 in Pinelands, Western Cape, South Africa, to Chris and Pepita Mace, alongside his twin sister Lisa Mace. When he was 5 years old, his family moved to Somerset West where he began school at De Hoep Primary. He could only speak English and all the other kids at De Hoep spoke Afrikaans, so he found it hard to make friends. He started modelling at around 6 years old and was in a lot of clothing adverts.[24][25][26][27]

At the age of 12, Mace went skiing in Austria with his family and, on the flight back to South Africa, told his father that he was sad he couldn't ski in South Africa. His father found the closest thing he could to skiing in Cape Town - surfing.[28] His father then organized a surfboard and told Mace that it had belonged to a Western Province champion surfer.[29] This helped Mace get excited to surf and he took to it very quickly.[30][31]

Mace moved to Paarl Vallei high-school and took up surfing as his main sport.[32] He excelled in competitions and went on to join the Boland Junior Team.[33] The first time Mace saw films being made was when he was cast in a television commercial for McDonalds at 14 years old.[34] He was more interested in what was going on behind the camera than being in front of it. He used the money he earned from the commercial to buy a small video camera. His first gig was making music videos for his classmates, the Locnville twins.[35]

His family relocated to Kommetjie where he soon represented the Western Province for surfing and got sponsored by O'Neill. He went with the O'Neill team on a surfing trip to Madagascar and spent more time videoing the local town than surfing.[36]

At 16, Mace was instructed to present to his class. In order to avoid speaking in front of them, Mace convinced his teacher to allow him to pre-record his presentation and then play the video when it was his turn to speak. He opted to create a short film on Jack the Ripper with his friend and after it was a success with the class he knew he wanted to make films.

At 18, Mace matriculated from Reddam College. He sold his video camera and editing laptop to buy an expensive gift for a girl and chased her to Australia, where he had his heart broken. He took a trip to Sumbawa, Indonesia, with his friends where they spent a few weeks surfing and partying. While driving back to Bali they got into a bad car accident and were interrogated by local authorities. Mace details this event in his YouTube video "How I escaped an Indonesian prison (*Real Imagery)", and describes how the local authorities planted drugs on him and his friends in an attempt to later catch them out while leaving the police station. They fled the police station and hid for two days until the South African embassy came to their rescue. Once they arrived back in Bali, Mace got a Kiss-mark tattoo on his bum.

Mace returned to South Africa and started film school but didn't like how they taught directing. He got into a heated argument with his lecturers and dropped out after one year.[37]

Career

After dropping out of film school, Mace started his first production company IfNotWhyNot but it failed within the first six months.

Mace started his YouTube channel "danthedirector1" on March 10, 2012, and uploaded his first YouTube video "Press Play, Smile" on August 13, 2013.[38] He started off making surf films with his friend Bianca Buitendag (now an Olympic silver medalist), and saved up to self-finance his first professional narrative short film "Gift", which won the Judge's Prize at the 2015 My Røde Reel competition.[39][40][41]

Mace was approached by Great Big Story to make three films for their YouTube channel. The three films were:

Mace joined the production company Groundglass[42] and together they submitted Mace's Great Big Story films to competitions around the world. ‘The Bomb-Sniffing Rats Saving Lives In Mozambique’ and 'Gift' both won a Silver Screen Award at the 2016 Young Director's Awards in Cannes.[43]

Mace directed a commercial for Kenyan beer company Tusker, titled "Here's to the US in every Tusker", as well as a short film based on creating the commercial, titled "Finding 42", which won a Silver Screen at the 2017 Young Director's Awards in Cannes.[44][45][46]

In May of 2017, Mace joined the critically-acclaimed South African production company Egg, under which he made many commercials.[47] After a while, however, Mace grew tired of pitching advert ideas and wanted to "go back to his roots". He quit his job at Egg to pursue independent filmmaking full-time.[48]

In December of 2017, Mace befriended popular YouTuber Casey Neistat while Neistat was visiting family in Cape Town.[49] Mace expressed to Casey how unhappy he felt directing Tv commercials, so Casey invited Mace to work for him in New York. Mace moved to New York in April of 2018 and details the events leading up to the move in his video ""GETTING TO 368"", which has gained more than a million views. Mace worked for Casey for over a year while simultaneously producing his own content on the side. He started a YouTube series titled "BRU" - the first season of which lasted 10 episodes.[50]

In September of 2018, Mace gave a speech in Ireland and was set to return to America to start a new YouTube series but was stopped at customs.[51] He was deported back to South Africa where he then proposed to Gabrielle Esterhuizen (now Gabrielle Mace) and bought a house. He set up a new office space, hired an assistant, and made lots of YouTube videos about a wide variety of subjects while he developed his plan of action for returning to New York the following year.[52][53]

Mace returned to New York midway through 2019 and began a weekly YouTube show titled "Not Normal"[54] in which people "plant their seed", basically an unfinished idea, on a website-based map of the world and then Mace would fly to them and help complete their idea. The first season of the show lasted for 8 episodes.[55][56]

Mace flew back to Cape Town at the beginning of 2020 to get married but tested positive for COVID19 the same day that the wedding was meant to take place.[57][58] He released a video the next day titled "my Coronavirus story." detailing his experience with the virus, to aid the research at the time.[59] He intended to travel back to New York after the wedding but got stuck in South Africa due to the nation-wide lockdowns and travel restrictions put in place.[60] He kept making videos while in lockdown and founded the production company Just Original Entertainment, or JOE (named after his beloved dog, Joey), at the end of 2020.[61]

In 2021 Mace partnered with discovery+, the Discovery Channel's streaming platform, to create the third and final season of BRU, which is set to be released in early 2022.[62][63][64]

Filmography

S.No. Title Year Role Type
1 PHFat - Kill the Universe 2012 Director, Writer, Editor Music Video
2 Gift 2015 Director, Writer, Editor Short Film
3 The Sound of Silence 2015 Director, Writer, Editor, Cinematographer Short Documentary
4 Great Big Story - 3 Episodes:
  1. The South African Helping to Feed a Community
  2. The Bomb-Sniffing Rats Saving Lives In Mozambique
  3. Fighting for Zanzibar’s Sea Turtles
2015 Director, Writer TV Series Documentary
5 Finding 42 2016 Director Commercial
6 Matt Simons - Catch & Release (Deepend Remix) 2017 Director Music Video
7 Humankind 2018 Director, Writer, Cinematographer Short Film
8 Immersions: Song of the Shark 2021 Director , Writer TV Special
9 Immersions: Meditative Vistas 2021 Director, Writer TV Special
10 They Come: NASA & The Navajo Pre-Production Producer Short Film

Awards

  • Cannes Young Director Award (2016), Silver Screen - Mine Sniffing Rats[65]
  • Cannes Young Director Award (2016), Silver Screen - Gift[66]
  • Cannes Young Director Award (2017), Silver Screen - Finding 42[67]
  • MyRødeReel (2015), Judge's Prize - Gift[68]
  • OnePointFour Director's Showcase 2017 - New Directors
  • SHOTS Magazine HotShot Director 2019
  • SHOTS Magazine - 6 of the best young film directors
  • African Cristal Film Grand Prix

Personal life

Mace proposed to his girlfriend Gabrielle Esterhuizen in October of 2019. They were set to be married on the 21st of March 2020 but then Mace tested positive for COVID19 the same day. The wedding was postponed indefinitely due to nationwide lockdowns. They were officially married on the 19th of March 2021.

In the media

                 

References

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  2. Oberhozer, Kyle (12 August 2016). "Dan the Director". Wits Vuvuzela. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
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External links