Our Team

Our Black Bean Story

This is our story. In this film, you hear from all three of the Black Bean Directors, as they give you a glimpse into life at Black Bean and how it was built from the dreams of three creative and conscientious minds.

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Meet The Team

Read more about James
Read more about Oli
Black and white photograph of Sam Suter who is a Director and Producer at Black Bean Productions in Cape Town, South Africa. This image was taken by photographer Gary van Wyk.
Read more about Sam
Read more about Savannah
Read more about Jean-Michelle
Shaun Ritchie is a Senior Video Editor at Black Bean Productions in Cape Town, South Africa.
Read more about Shaun
Read more about Leon
Read more about Sacha

James Suter

James Suter is a Co-Founder and Director of Black Bean.

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, James is able to capture the efforts of organizations doing important work on the ground in an intimate and honest way. 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.

Using his profound knowledge of the African bush, he aids Black Bean 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.

Oli Caldow

Oli Caldow is a co-founder of Black Bean, as well as our Director of Photography.

He is an incredible asset to our team, playing an 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 every one of our films. He has a talent for capturing moments in a beautiful and cinematic way, giving a real edge to documentary storytelling. This adds so much value to the work we produce. He has years of experience in documentary filmmaking, documenting people all over Africa, 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, 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. Sam’s creativity and her passion for human-empowerment and wildlife 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 our wide range of clients.

Savannah Lee-Warden

As our Production Manager, Savannah plays an integral role in all phases of the production process and works to ensure that all the behind-the-scenes components run as smoothly as possible.

Savannah is passionate, warm, and thrives off the challenges that come with producing content that is consistently high in quality, yet unique to every clients’ needs.

Savannah is currently completing her BSc in Environmental Management and Zoology and is driven by a passion for conservation and human-empowerment. Her passion and genuine love for creating content that raises awareness around important environmental and humanitarian issues, and inspires change is an incredible asset to our team.


Jean-Michelle Tane is our Junior Editor and Production Assistant. She assists with a variety of tasks including media management, colour grading and sound. 

Jean-Michelle has always known she wanted to be a part of film post-production and is at her happiest when she is in the editing suite. Her love for learning new things and willingness to tackle any challenge that comes her way makes her an excellent addition to our team.

Jean-Michelle is passionate about her craft and plays an important role in ensuring our content is always of the highest standard. 

Shaun Ritchie

Shaun Ritchie is our Senior Editor who plays an integral role in guiding our offline and online post-production processes. He has a background in both documentary and commercial films. With strengths in narrative storytelling, he has a keen eye and ear for what is required to evoke emotion and deliver concise, clear messaging.

He believes that we can learn something valuable from every person we meet and this mindset has kept him curious and continuously learning in all aspects of his career, developing many valuable skills along his 9-year journey in the industry

Shaun’s dedication to his craft and passion for conservation is an invaluable asset to our Black Bean team.

Leon Visser

Leon Visser is an experienced Video Editor and Colourist. He is the Head of Post Production at our sister company Kin Media.

At Black Bean, we create content that is of the highest standard 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 director and photographer who is passionate about our natural world and the work we do. He 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 our team. He fills various roles depending on the Black Bean assignment at hand, from assisting to directing our films and the content we create, to working alongside our Director of Photography to manage all equipment.

He is adaptable, a people’s person and willing to do a little bit of everything. We often work in isolated wilderness areas, 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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