Dan Mace

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Dan Mace
Dan Mace.jpg
Born (1990-03-07) March 7, 1990 (age 33)
Pinelands, Western Cape, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
CitizenshipSouth African & Austrian
EducationMatriculated from Reddam House (Constantia) High School
OrganizationJOE Films
Known forInnovative and uniquely-styled YouTube videos
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Spouse(s)Gabrielle Mace (Esterhuizen)
  • 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 employed as the CCO of Beast Philanthropy and is the owner of JOE Films and ALL OF US Studios.[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 TV Commercial and won multiple awards for Tusker "Finding 42".[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 833,000 subscribers, and more than 47 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 around 1.5 - 2 million USD.[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]


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]


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


  • 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



  1. "Dan Mace Teaches How To Become A Filmmaker | Nas Academy". nasacademy.com. 27 August 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  2. Oberhozer, Kyle (12 August 2016). "Dan the Director". Wits Vuvuzela. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  3. "'Six figures for a campaign': SA's YouTube vloggers are coining it". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  4. "Dan Mace". IMDb. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  5. "News24". News24. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  6. "Positive Thinking in Todays Digital Age with Dan The Director". 99 Percent Lifestyle. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  7. "Dan Mace". 2oceansvibe News | South African and international news. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  8. "Dan Mace | CreativeMornings/Cape Town". CreativeMornings. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  9. Ellaya, Chanelle (15 October 2016). "FILM DIRECTOR SPEAK: Dan Mace". Screen Africa. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  10. "Dan Mace becomes first South African to win three Young Director Awards at Cannes". FilmContact.com. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  11. "Dancing on the Streets With Gift". The Greener Surfer. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  12. "Learn How To Become A Great F*cking Filmmaker with Dan Mace | Nas Academy". nasacademy.com. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  13. "The Inspirational Story of Filmmaker Dan Mace | Nas Academy". nasacademy.com. 31 July 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  14. "Mzansi's 100 of 2017: Influencer, Dan Mace". The Young Independents. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  15. "Changing Your Perception To Change Your Life". The DO Lectures. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  16. Lectures, D. O. (22 June 2017). "Dan Mace | Changing Your Perception To Change Your Life". vimeo. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  17. "Africa Dispatches: Dan Mace — YouTube-star turned TVC prodigy •". MarkLives.com. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  18. "SA's Highest-Paid YouTuber: Dan Mace - Entertainment". BLOSS Media. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  19. "South Africa's Dan Mace Scoops Double Win at Young Director Awards | LBBOnline". www.lbbonline.com. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  20. Digital, Pii (4 July 2016). "South African film-maker wins at Cannes Film Festival - Brand South Africa". brandsouthafrica. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  21. "Dan Mace becomes first South African to win three Young Director Awards at Cannes | Egg Films | Ramify Premium". Ramify.Biz. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  22. "[WATCH] This Cannes Award-Winning Cape Town Filmmaker Just Released a Rad New YouTube Movie". www.capetownmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  23. "Dan Mace's NXT LVL ad for Vodacom". filmcontact. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  24. "Dan Mace starts something for Hunter's | Egg Films | Ramify Premium". Ramify.Biz. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  25. "Dan Mace starts something for Hunter's - Egg Films". Bizcommunity. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  26. "Travel Profile: Dan Mace". SunCity Paradise. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  27. "Egg Films` Dan Mace directs 140BBDO`s new ad for Hunter`s". Media Update. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  28. Reporter, T. M. O. (13 December 2021). "WATCH: YouTube star Dan Mace revs up Christmas with delivery bikes". The Media Online. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  29. "Disguised In Nature By Dan Mace". The Orms Photographic Blog. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  30. Lindeque, Brent (5 July 2016). "South African film-maker wins at Cannes Film Festival". Good Things Guy. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  31. "WATCH: YouTuber Dan Mace recreates famous Christmas song using scooters". The Citizen. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  32. Roode, Joshua (4 April 2018). "Let's Talk Trash". Cape Town is Awesome. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  33. "Dan Mace shortlisted for Young Director Award at Cannes Lions". sacreativenetwork.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  34. "Dan Mace wins silver at 2016 Young Director Awards". The Home Of Great South African News. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  35. "Dane Mace AKA Dan The Director on PSA Films". vimeo. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  36. "dan-mace-releases-his-first-vlog-in-the-series-of-not-normal-vlogs-and-its-epic". mycitybynight.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  37. "Dan Mace revs up the festive season with 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' remix made from delivery bikes". IDIDTHAT.co. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  38. "Checkers Sixty60 Film Advert By Retroviral: Santa Claus is Coming to Town on 2,500 Scooters | Ads of the World™". www.adsoftheworld.com. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  39. ""Learn How to Give up on Your Good Ideas to Make Space for Great Ones": Interview With YouTube Star and My RØDE Reel Judge Dan Mace". RØDE Microphones. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  40. "Dan Mace | From Acclaimed Director to YouTube Creator. Why?". Visual Tone. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  41. "jordy smith ramping into a trash can". www.redbull.com. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  42. "Groundglass | Dan Mace". www.groundglass.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  43. Roux, Ilze-Marie Le. "SA man wins silver at Cannes Film Festival". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  44. "dan-mace-wins-double-silver-in-cannes". mycitybynight.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  45. "Cannes Lions 2017: Dan Mace wins third Young Director Award". Media Update. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  46. News, elisec; Speakers, VIP Guest; School, Events at Met Film (11 February 2022). "Meet the Industry: Dan Mace, Filmmaker & Content Creator". MetFilm School - London. Retrieved 1 March 2022. {{cite web}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  47. "COMMERCIALS – DIRECTOR SPEAK: Dan Mace". Screen Africa. 15 July 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  48. "Dan Mace Joins Spy Films". shots. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  49. "WATCH: Santa's Sixty60 heroes take over Cape Town". www.capetownetc.com. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  50. "JUST GET IT DONE. The Creative process with Dan Mace". FILMMKRS. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  51. "DAGBREEK: Dagbreker – Dan Mace, Filmmaker". youtube. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  52. "Dan Mace on YouTube stardom and YDA success". Young Director Award. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  53. "Director Dan Mace shares the journey of money in the new Capitec Ad | FULL INSERT". youtube. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  54. "Dan Mace: Finding a new Not Normal". shots. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  55. "Behind the Scenes with Dan Mace | Overcoming Creative Block - Part 2 | Adobe Creative Cloud". youtube. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  56. "How Dan Mace embraced his otherness to enhance his true creativity". Bizcommunity. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  57. ""I Think I'm Dying" - SA Filmmaker Dan Mace Opens Up About Harrowing Covid-19 Experience". youtube. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  58. "Filmmaker Dan Mace: My COVID-19 diagnosis". www.discovery.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  59. "Inicio". Lions Edit Virtual (in español). Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  60. "Push-ups to fake guests: Curious African coronavirus moments". BBC News. 11 April 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  61. "🔴 Journey Of Self Discovery & Acceptance—Dan Mace Interview". youtube. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  62. "12 industry leaders to see at FAME Week Africa 2021". Callsheet Africa. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  63. Botha, Christian. "The Spinach King of South Africa - Progress Namibia". www.progress-namibia.com. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  64. "YouTuber Dan Mace embraces festivities". Bizcommunity. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  65. "dan-mace-wins-silver-at-2016-young-director-awards". showme.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  66. "Dan Mace wins silver at 2016 Young Director Awards". The Home Of Great South African News. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  67. "Dan Mace wins big at the Young Director Award 2016 » The Location Guide". thelocationguide. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  68. "Young director wins at Cannes". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 1 March 2022.

External links