Lynton Stephenson

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Lynton Stephenson (1941-2006) was a film director and photographer.


Lynton David Stephenson was born on 11 December 1941 to Sydney Stephenson, a chartered engineer, and his wife Sheila Henwood. A highly regarded commercial photographer, he was also one of South Africa’s most prominent producer of advertising films, which included such shorts as Winelands of the Cape: Worcester Show 1972, which was sponsored by KWV . In 1974 it was announced that he was planning a film version of Olive Schreiner’s novel The Story of an African Farm, but the anticipated financing fell through. Instead his first feature was an ambitious Xhosa version of Macbeth. Entitled Maxhosa (1975), it featured David Phetoe and June Buthelezi in the leading roles.

This was followed by the short Six Feet of the Country (1977), based on a short story by Nadine Gordimer and with Sandra Prinsloo, Wilson Dunster and Fats Bookholane in the cast. The fact that he obtained the rights for this may have been due to the fact that he had married Philippa (Pippa) Cassirer, who was Gordimer’s daughter. A few years later its success led to a series of five medium-length television programmes based on Gordimer stories, of which Stephenson directed Good Climate, Friendly Inhabitants (1982), Both these films were scripted by Barney Simon. Another short, The Stronger (1983), was based on a one-act play by August Strindberg, with Trix Pienaar and Sandra Prinsloo in the leading roles. In 1987 he directed the documentary Diagonal Street, which was scripted by Gordimer. In a distinct departure from his previous work he was director of cinematography on Time of the Beast/Mutator (John R. Bowey/1989). He died on 2 August 2006.


Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm (1982)

Card catalogue of the Western Cape Provincial Library Service

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