Meet Our Passionate Team

Meet our Passionate Team

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We recently conducted a portrait shoot with our team at Black Bean Productions. We believe that each and every person is integral to the work we do and we wanted to capture each person and their distinctive personality. We conducted individual portrait sessions with each team member, working with the talented Gary Van Wyk. Gary has a gift for capturing people exactly as they are, highlighting the real and raw beauty of each individual.

We so enjoyed the creative process of this assignment, planning for the shoot – and designing the right setting for these portraits to be taken. We are so happy with the results and the variety of images captured. In this blog are just some of the final images from the shoot, follow us on Instagram to see more of the beautiful photographs and moments captured.

Each team member was photographed using both a film and digital camera. We loved the results and working with a photographer that understands film and could teach us more about this process. We will be sharing more of the photographs on our social media, and give you some insight into the cameras, and the film, used – so follow along online to learn more.

What really sets our team apart is that we are all driven by a collective passion, not only a creative passion, but a passion to produce films and content that can truly make a difference, that can inspire positive change, help people and aid in the fight to save our planet. We love what we do, and we love creating purpose-filled content that can connect, empower and captivate people all over the world.

James Suter

This is James Suter, Co-Founder and Director of Black Bean Productions. James inherited his love of wildlife and passion for conservation from his father. This has been the driving force behind the work that James has done and continues to do. With his extensive background in professional guiding and travels throughout Africa – he used to be a full time Game Ranger, and now completes a number of private guided safaris every year, as well as managing Black Bean Productions – James is able to capture the efforts of organizations doing important work on the ground in an intimate and honest way. Using his profound knowledge of the African bush, he aids Black Bean Productions in producing content that allows our audience to connect to the places, people and wildlife featured in our films, and in his photographs. His passion for our natural world is infectious and comes through in the films he has directed for Black Bean Productions and the content he produces on an ongoing basis.

Oli Caldow

Oli Caldow is an incredible asset to our team and co-founded Black Bean Productions with James 7 years ago. As our Director of Photography, Oli plays an incredibly important role in the making of our films. Oli has over 10 years’ experience in the film industry and comes from a commercial background where he worked on high-end productions all over the world. Through his expertise and experience Oli has developed a unique visual style, which shines through in our films. He has a talent for capturing moments in an incredibly beautiful, and cinematic way – giving a real edge to documentary story telling. This adds so much value to the work we produce. He has years of experience in documentary filmmaking – in documenting wildlife in isolated and pristine wilderness areas, and in documenting people all over Africa – often in very remote areas – working hard to tell their story – in a honest way that sheds a light on their experiences and daily life. His experience and passion is invaluable to our team.

Sam Suter

Sam Suter, a Director and Producer at Black Bean Productions, is a major driving force behind the work that we do. Sam has a degree in Marketing and is actively involved in every aspect of Black Bean Productions. Sam’s creativity when it comes to filmmaking, and her passion for human-empowerment and conservation is immensely important to the work we do and the content we create. Sam has the ability to connect with people and make them feel seen, heard and valued, which is such a gift and so important in terms of the work we do. She believes that through film we can shed a light on issues that need to be addressed and talked about, on people doing remarkable work, and create real change by sharing these stories through film, and connecting people across the world. She is passionate about giving people the opportunity to be heard and share their experiences and their knowledge with others. She believes in lifting people up, and working alongside those doing good, and those fighting to save our planet. Sam loves the creative side of filmmaking and directing the content we produce for a range of clients.

Dumi Sibanda

Dumi Sibanda is a Junior Editor at Black Bean and brings a fresh creative edge to the team. He graduated film school in 2017, completing a BA in Film and Television and has been with the team ever since. In his role he edits various films, assists in media management and uses his creativity to create new and exciting content. Since joining Black Bean, he has not only developed his editing style, but his love of wildlife and passion for conservation has grown which has been inspiring for us all to witness. Dumi has a great energy and always knows how to brighten a room!

Niven Hans

Our Senior Editor, Niven Hans, has been an excellent addition to our team. With over 6 years of experience as an editor working on both commercial and documentary films, Niven has developed the ability to stitch together a film in a way that not only clearly communicates a narrative, but that also evokes emotion and is captivating. He has experience in editing both long format documentaries and short form content and is an efficient, experienced editor who adds huge value to every product he works on.

Savannah Lee-Warden

Savannah Lee-Warden is our Production Coordinator and manages a variety of tasks from film shoot logistics, to client relationships, and research. Savannah has the undeniable ability to manage multiple tasks, making her a great fit for this role. She is currently completing her BSc in Environmental Management and Zoology and is driven by a passion for both conservation and human-empowerment. She is adaptable, warm and thrives off the challenges that come with producing content that is consistently high in quality, yet unique to every clients’ needs.

Lauren Cawley

We met our Production Manager Lauren Cawley on an assignment at an elephant orphanage in Zambia – where she was working as a Communications Manager, we connected with her instantly. Her background in marketing and communications coupled with her love for our natural world has been extremely valuable to our team, as has her experience in managing people and a variety of clients. Lauren sees the value in telling stories to create change, which fits right in with what we do!

Rebecca Manners-Wood

Rebecca Manners-Wood, an Editing and Production Assistant at Black Bean, completed a film degree with major focus on cinematography and a minor focus on editing. She has always had a passion for wildlife and nature. This passion was fuelled by her early exposure to the beauty of Africa’s wildlife and has drawn her to filmmaking with the purpose of creating content that not only showcases this beauty, but highlights why we need to protect and conserve it.

Andisiwe Jali

Andisiwe Jali, is the newest member of our team and has joined us as a Production Assistant. Siwe is currently completing her degree in communications and has an eager passion for storytelling. In her role, she completes various admin and preproduction tasks and tackles everything we throw her way with enthusiasm, efficiency and dedication.

Leon Visser

Leon Visser, is an award-winning Video Editor and Colourist, and is also co-founder and the Head of Post Production at our sister company Kin Media – (post production and media management). At Black Bean Productions we create high quality content and Leon’s skills and expertise are a huge part of this. As a Colourist Leon has worked closely with our team on many films and his attention to detail and dedication to his craft shines through in his work. Leon is one of the best in the industry and is always willing to share his knowledge with others, and is continually working to improve upon his skills and ensure our clients’ content is produced efficiently, and to the highest standard.

Sacha Specker

Sacha Specker is a core part of our shooting team. He is a talented photographer, who is passionate about our natural world and the work we do, and will do almost anything to get the shot. From climbing a tree, to hanging off the side of a vehicle for hours – he has energy like no other, loves adventure and works well within a team. He fills various roles depending on the Black Bean Productions’ assignment at hand – from assisting to direct our films and the content we create, to working alongside our DoP to manage all equipment – he is adaptable, a people’s person and willing to do a little bit of everything. We work in isolated wilderness areas, with small crews, and Sacha’s skillset is so valuable in ensuring we capture all that we need to, and that we connect with the team on the ground. He studied Nature Conservation and has a deep love for the ocean and marine conservation. He is well known for riding waves and photographing them (better known as his photographs of water sculptures).

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