Towards the end of my post-graduate legal studies at Oxford University, I was fortunate to attend the 2000 International Achievement Summit in London as an honor student delegate. I’m now a film producer based back home in South Africa. My films range from art house films like the musical U-Carmen eKhayelitsha and the drama Confessions of a Gambler, to more commercial films such as the heist film 31 Million Reasons, and three comedies in the Spud franchise with John Cleese. I also have my own litigation practice, specializing in public and commercial law.
My memories of the summit remain vivid. It was a jam-packed few days that served as an inspirational bridge from our student achievements to the beginnings of ours working lives. The stature of the leaders who attended was awe-inspiring. I spoke to Jeremy Irons about the best way to get into the entertainment game (he told me to buy a theater), had lunch with Quincy Jones, and passed time with the only Nobel Prize winner from my high school, Sir Aaron Klug. And of course, the Google guys, Sergey Brin and Larry Page — not much older than most of us honor students — made a lasting impression. My peers were no less impressive, and many have gone on to outstanding careers in their respective fields. The Academy was, in that manner, quite prescient. I am proud to be an alumnus.