From the Series
Project Phoenix is a short documentary film that looks into how creativity can change a life. Ex-Cape Town Numbers Gang member Roger was marked by the tattoos of his 18 years in the dreaded gangs, and when he decided to change his life, he found that his body no longer reflected his inner state.
With the help of tattoo artist Manuela Gray of Wildfire Tattoos, Roger was able to transform these messages of hate into symbols of hope. Grey worked on the designs of the tattoos with Roger over the course of 13 months. Each tattoo now represents a phase of his life: the dragon in the flames representing the days with the gangs; the phoenix symbolising the days afterwards.
“People used to cross the road when they saw him coming. Now people come up to him and ask about his tattoos and tell him how beautiful they are. It is a complete reverse to what he is used to,” says Justin Gomes, one of the Project Phoenix filmmakers from FoxP2.
The film uses dramatised flashbacks to take the viewer into Roger’s memories. The flashbacks are abstract and dreamlike, with Roger’s voice narrating his journey.
The film was conceived by FoxP2 and co-directed by Robin Goode and Karien Murray from Giant Films.