Dusty & Stones; Infos über die Protagonist*innen und die Crew





Cousins Gazi „Dusty“ Simelane and Linda „Stones“ Msibi grew up together in a remote valley in Mooihoek, Swaziland, where they herded their family’s cattle after school and went to church every Sunday to watch their grandfather preach. When the Swazi national radio station began broadcasting a weekly program of classic American country music, the cousins heard the joys and hardships of their rural lives reflected in the songs of artists like Dolly Parton and Hank Williams. They became determined to develop a distinctly southern African take on this historically American genre of music. 


Dusty and Stones have since become prolific Country singer-songwriters with an international following. The duo’s music has been featured on radio stations across Europe and the United States, and their YouTube videos have garnered over 100,000 views. 


The cousins are three-time Swazi NACA award winners, South African Country Music Artist Foundation’s 2018 International Artist of the Year, and Texas Sound International Country Music Awards‘ 2017 Duo of the Year. 


In addition to playing music, Dusty is a beloved high school English teacher at Swaziland’s National High School, and Stones is an accomplished project manager working in construction. 






JESSE RUDOY – Director 


Jesse Rudoy is a filmmaker, musician, and born-again country fan based in Brooklyn. He is currently a story producer and editor on a forthcoming HBO documentary series. He was recently a writer/producer on Morally Indefensible, FX Network’s first podcast about the Jeffrey MacDonald murders. Jesse has composed original music for brands like Adidas and National Geographic and released music on the record label Let’s Play House. He is also the co-founder of White Label Yerba Mate Soda, a beverage brand served at nightclubs and raves throughout New York City. His first feature film, Dusty & Stones, has received support from HBO, XTR Film Society, Gotham Film and Media Institute, Durban FilmMart, and Film Independent. 






Melissa is a Nigerian American producer and the founder of Ominira Studios, a NY-based production company. Her first feature, Eyimofe, premiered at the 2020 Berlinale, has shown at over 20+ festivals, and was acquired by Janus Films. It is currently a part of the Criterion Collection, where Melissa is the first-ever African female producer to be featured in her own standalone spotlight interview. Eyimofe was nominated for an NAACP Award and won five African Movie Academy Awards. Dusty & Stones is her first documentary feature film. Melissa started her filmmaking career with Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. 


Melissa is a fellow of the Cannes Producer’s Network, Creative Producers Indaba, all three Gotham Labs, the Attagirl Residency Program, and the WIF & Sundance Financing Intensive. Melissa has an MBA from NYU Stern and a BA in African Studies from Columbia University.