South African Filmmaker


Talented, committed, refreshingly irreverent: John Barker is a South African filmmaker based in Johannesburg. His directional debut Bunny Chow was selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, as well as being picked up by MTV Europe, distributed in Europe by Dogwoof, and Global Lens in North America. Since then, the movie has received many accolades (see below), but, more importantly, it touched the funny bone and heart of South Africans across the country.

Bunny Chow used a memorable retro-scripting technique with the actors improvising their dialogue to communicate the comedy narrative.

The outline script for Bunny Chow was written by Barker and David Kibuuka and later retro-scripted with Editor, Saki Bergh.

Multi-talented, with a career spanning two decades, Barker excels at directing feature films, commercial work, music videos and gritty documentaries; making for an outstanding and diverse showreel (mail us if you'd like one).

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Barker made a documentary Soccer: South of the Umbilo about his childhood growing up in the southern suburbs of Durban, which produced many talented soccer players and coaches including his father, legendary SA football player and coach, Clive Barker.

Barker wrote, directed and produced South Africa’s first music mockumentary Blu Cheez to much acclaim (and amusement). He next directed the music documentary Kwaito Generals produced by Kutloano Skosana of Black Rage, which focused on the stars who were at the forefront of the Kwaito movement of the late nineties and early 2000s.

During this time he joined TV hit, The Pure Monate Show, directing sketches in Season One and Directing and Co-writing sketches for all of the Second Season.

2014 saw Barker working with comic heavyweight (and Monty Python legend), John Cleese in Spud 3: Learning to Fly. He directed a superb cast of talent, including Troye Sivan and Caspar Lee, in the third of the Spud series by best-selling South African author, John van de Ruit.

Barker has completed a second retro-scripted film Wonder Boy for President with many of his collaborators from Bunny Chow. It has been brought into production through the Dog Pack collective; which includes Saki Bergh and Kagiso Lediga.

Barker sites his inspiration for Wonder Boy as largely inspired by Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and other notable directors who employ retro-scripting and improv techniques such as John CassavetesChristopher GuestRobert Altman and Mike Leigh.

See more about what we’re up to on the "In the Pipeline" page.

IMDB List of Credits for John Barker


Looking for the vision of a director with the creativity of a writer and the balls of a producer? Contact us to set up brainstorms, scripts, networking with SA's finest, writing up a storm and directing your project to success.

Media / Admin:



Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP): Script selected for the feature film, Lolly (written Lev David & John Barker and directed by John).

Jozi Film Festival: Wonder Boy for President won the audience award.

John has won 2 x SAFTA's and nominated for 4 (all for Directing).

Bunny Chow: Opening Film at Sithengi (Gala Event) and selected for the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Tiger Awards, AFI Fest, the Raindance Film Festival, Sydney International Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Festival  and the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as being picked up by MTV Europe, distributed in Europe by Dogwoof, and Global Lens in North America.

L’Atalier Festival de Cannes 2009: Script for Umbrella Men

Sithengi: Most Promising Director

“Storytelling is important. I enjoy the collaborative aspect and process of film making. I love that it requires so many talented people from different departments and all walks of life, coming together to make an idea work. I also love being on set.” John Barker, Writer & Director.