|Known for||Directing Locke & Key episodes|
|Notable work||BBC Radio 1 DJ, Locke & Key|
Mark Tonderai is a British-Zimbabwean filmmaker, entrepreneur, director, writer, actor and former BBC 1 DJ. He is most known for the DJ role at BBC and more recently for his films, usually mystery drama and horror films. He directed films such as the 2012 film House at the End of the Street and 2020 Netflix hit show, Locke & Key.
Tonderai co-founded a film production company with his wife Zoey Stewart called Shona Productions.
Tonderai was born in London in the United Kingdom. He was however raised in Zimbabwe and went to school there. He later returned to the UK where he went to Architecture school.
Tonderai has said that though he originally wanted to be an actor, his father discouraged him, telling him to choose a more traditional career:
I wanted to be an actor BUT was advised to not do that by my father. He instead thought I should take on a livelihood that that could survive Armageddon, after, all in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse Mankind will always have need for a farmer. Builder. Doctor.
I hedged my bets and went for Architecture which is an art yet a science. I now realize that of course we've always needed story tellers. We've been telling each other stories since we sat by the camp fire as cavemen arguing whose turn it was to do the school run.
After studying architecture, Tonderai joined the BBC as a trainee presenter and eventually became quite popular as a BBC Radio 1 DJ in the 90s.
Going into TV
In the mid 90s, Tonderai started his TV career writing the ‘Ian Wright Show’ for ITV. He also made the ‘The Beginner’s Guide’ series for BBC 2.
In the late 90s he started working on his own film productions and successfully sold some to UK TV channels. He created a production company, Shona Films, which made comedy TV show Homie and Away and Uncuct Funk which screened to BBC 2.
He also wrote the film Dog Eat Dog which starred David Oylweyo and Ricky Gervais.
Hi first major film was Hush, a psychological thriller released in 2009.
Later he was invited to pitch for House at the end of the street and was chosen to direct it. It featured Jennifer Lawrence. He moved to the US where he moved more into TV shows more directing the pilot and all ten episodes of the show ‘The Five’. He then shot the pilot of Paranoid for ITV then Time after Time. He also directed some episodes on Lucifer, Gotham, Impulse, Black Lightening and George R. Martin's Nightflyers including the season finale. He has also directed the revamped Dr. Who., The Passage Tell me a Story and LA’s Finest.
- About, Mark Tonderai website, Accessed: Feb 2020