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Festival Film

African Gothic – New Film Based On Reza de Wet’s Master Piece – Diepe Grond

African Gothic, a bold new international film version of Reza de Wet’s iconic masterpiece, Diepe Grond, will have its South African and African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in July.

African Gothic is a gritty, poignant drama set in a decaying farmhouse in the desolate heart of the parched Free State, about a dangerous and passionate relationship between deeply troubled lovers, their benign domestic worker and a hapless lawyer who pays them a visit. The production features two South African-born actors from Johannesburg who play the pivotal roles of Frikkie and Sussie: Damon Shalit plays the menacing Frikkie, and Chella Ferrow plays his beautiful and complex, sweetheart from childhood.

Shalit also wrote the screenplay and produced the film, which is directed by Gabriel Bologna. Shalit performed in the LA premiere of the play in 2005. Shortly thereafter he began writing the screenplay – a process, which was endorsed and supported by de Wet.

“After performing in the play, I felt compelled to embark on the journey to create the film.” says Shalit. “I was fortunate enough to be able to work directly with Reza de Wet in developing the screenplay, a somewhat daunting task as the play is such an iconic piece of theatre. The challenge came in how to take the play, set in one room, and expand it into a cinematic experience. So it was invaluable having her insightful input into this process.”

“When I read the screenplay of which Damon took pangs to stay true to the original text, I was surprised to discover that such a dark milieu and context was completely overshadowed by a deep love story. Aside from the spectacular symbolisms throughout the piece that represent the insidiously complex and dark legacy of Apartheid, there is a remarkable revelation about the nature of love itself: what unites people is not necessarily their common interests and pursuits, but in fact, their grief, their pain,” explains Bologna.

“What makes Frikkie and Sussie’s bond so strong is the mutual abuses they shared in their childhood – only they and they alone could understand one another, as their love was consecrated by the same scars, both emotional and physical.  Surprisingly, in some strange way, we are all like Frikkie and Sussie – our true search for love lies in finding someone who not only understands our joy, but even more so, our pain,” he said

“Reza de Wet, was one of South Africa’s most celebrated authors, who has won more theatre and literary awards than any other playwright. Though, sadly, she passed away last year, she has left behind a legacy in her native country of leading an artistic war against Apartheid.  When the government censors were clamping down on news, television and film, Reza led a hand-full of playwrights into a thriving artistic movement called, Theatre of the Struggle,” he explains.

“We are passionate about this story, and very excited about it coming to Durban, as it has a meaningful context in South Africa,” says Chella Ferrow who plays Sussie. “Reza de Wet wrote such powerful and courageous stories, and we are so proud to be bringing African Gothic to life on screen. When I think of her writing such a bold and daring piece during a time of so much oppression and secrecy, I am in awe. Her writing is extraordinarily fearless and potent in commenting on the complex nature of society and morality at that time.”

Frikkie and Sussie are carefully-crafted, fascinating characters – complex, intriguing, gritty and feral. Visually and emotionally, they would not be out of place in a Roger Ballen photograph. Their complexity and depth make them a challenge to perform.

Connie Jackson as Alina, the housekeeper, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Connie Jackson as Alina, the housekeeper, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

It is hugely significant that this important piece of South African theatre will be seen by a new international audience, and that the pivotal characters of Sussie and Frikkie will be played by South African actors who have carved a career for themselves in Hollywood.

Shalit was born and raised in Linksfield, Johannesburg before moving to Houston with his family in his early teens. Ferrow grew up in Johannesburg and studied psychology through Wits and Unisa. She then moved to London in 1998 to do a post-graduate in acting. She has been living in New York for the past 11 years.

Chella Ferrow as Sussie and Damon Shalit as Frikkie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Chella Ferrow as Sussie and Damon Shalit as Frikkie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

They are supported by established British actor Jonny Coyne, who plays the ill-fated Mr Grove, who was most recently seen in Hangover Part 3 and Gangster Squad; and  Alina, the housekeeper, played by US singer / actress Connie Jackson who was in Dreamgirls on Broadway and has been a backing vocalist for Phil Collins. The young Frikkie and Sussie are played by youthful Cape Town-born, UK based-actor David Verne, and Los Angeles musical-theatre performer Aviv Gadi. The parents are played by former South African actors, Glen Anthony Vaughan – who spent many years at PACT – and Maria Olsen, who moved from East London to Los Angeles in 2005.

Jonny Coyne as Mr Grove, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF
Jonny Coyne as Mr Grove, Damon Shalit as Frikkie and Chella Ferrow as Sussie in African Gothic directed by Gabriel Bologna, which will have its SA Premiere at DIFF

Director, Gabriel Bologna, worked as an actor with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Mark Rydeland, Dick Van Dyke, before turning to writing and directing with his most recent film being Black Waters of Echo Pond. He is son of Hollywood legends, Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor.

“Like so much of film making, this has been a true labour of love and remarkable creative collaboration,” says Shalit. “Our film is not mere film adaptation of a play, but a wide-reaching artistic achievement that will hopefully spread global awareness about Reza de Wet, one of South Africa’s greatest playwrights, who died last year.”

African Gothic will have its South African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival. It is a joint SA and US production.  Visit www.africangothic.com for more info.

The Durban International Film Festival takes place in Durban, South Africa from July 18 to 28. African Gothic will be screened at 20 July 12:00 at Musgrave Ster Kinekor; 24 July 15:30 at Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre; 25 July 18:00 at Suncoast Cinecentre. For more info go to www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

Categories
Film

Focus Features Sets Release Date for Fifty Shades Of Grey

The global release of Fifty Shades of Grey will start in North America on Friday, August 1st, 2014 with opening dates around the world to be announced. The Focus Features domestic theatrical release will be in theaters nationwide. Universal Pictures International is releasing the movie in the rest of the world.

Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing the highly anticipated film adaptation of E L James’ #1 bestselling book. Fifty Shades of Grey has been adapted into a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the movie version alongside Ms. James.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. Fifty Shades of Grey has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in over 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.

Fifty Shades of Grey (first published in 2011) follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, Fifty Shades Darker (2011) and Fifty Shades Freed (2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship. For more information please see the official Fifty Shades of Grey Facebook page: www.facebook.com/fiftyshadesofgreymovie.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

In addition to Fifty Shades of Grey, upcoming Focus Features releases include The World’s End, the new comedy reuniting director Edgar Wright with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; the true-life dramatic thriller Kill the Messenger, to be directed by Michael Cuesta and star Jeremy Renner; the comedic fable The Boxtrolls, the new animated feature from LAIKA, directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable with a voice cast that includes Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, and Tracy Morgan; Black Sea, the adventure thriller to star Jude Law for Academy Award-wining director Kevin Macdonald; and Dallas Buyers Club, the fact-based drama directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures are part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast Corporation.

Categories
Workshops

Elocution And Accent Reduction

Elocution is speaking in a polished and professional way. Accent Reduction is when you reduce your current accent (Collard, African, Afrikaans, European, etc.) so that you can sound more neutral English like what you hear in South Africa. The course makes you aware of the sound system (or phonology) of a language or dialect: which include identifying problems in the person’s current speech from the desired accent (such as pronunciation, speech patterns, and speech habits), changing the way one uses the mouth, teeth, and tongue to form vowel and consonant sounds, modifying one’s intonation and stress patterns, and changing one’s rhythm. Using this method, individuals trying to help their communication; will learn how to alter their speech to more closely resemble the accent of neutral English commonly used in SA and abroad, thus enhancing the clarity of their communication within the workplace.

Course Outline:

  • How to develop your voice using posture, relaxation + breathing;
  • Neutralizing any accent – resonance, pitch + tone;
  • Eliminating any/all speech faults – stuttering, mumbling;
  • Birth defects such as cleft palate/ cleft lip;
  • Strengthening weak oral muscles;
  • Reducing any accent: Collard, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Zimbabwean, Afrikaans, French; English (England), American etc.;
  • Communication skills in a private, public and corporate setting;
  • Public Speaking and confidence building;
  • Maximizing your vocal capacity giving you versatility and dynamics when speaking;
  • You will have better diction and clarity – articulation and enunciation;
  • Switch board, private and public sector and corporate sector, answering (phones), Front of house sales, etc;
  • You will learn how to gain confidence in speech within your working environment – verbal dynamics;
  • SWOT analysis;
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and developing positive affirmations;

Overcoming all threats (fear, failure, criticisms etc.).

Cost

R2900 upfront. OR
Payment options on
request.

Traveling as per AA rate (R2.09 per kilometer x 2) will be charged if needed to travel to you.

Discounts available on block booking.
5 or more gets a 10% discount.
10 or more gets a 20% discount.

Duration

13 weeks at 1hr per week OR 7 weeks at 2 hrs per week

Includes

Manual, 13 hrs of tuition, certificate and maintenance programme.

Contact

Biebie Productions
Tel: 084 625 4104
Website: www.biebie.co.za
Email: barbara@biebie.co.za

Categories
Review

Despicable Me 2: Review

The Minions are at it again!!

Sure, there Gru, and a bad guy, and a bunch of other characters, but face it, you’re there for the Minions. Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have done it again, with daddy Gru thrust into a new adventure. The Minions are there to help (is rather, make us laugh), with Gru’s (Steve Carell) three girls (Margo – Miranda Cosgrove, Edith – Dana Gaier, Agnes – Elsie Fisher), and a new partner, Lucy (Kristen Wiig), from the AVL (Anti-Villain League). And let’s not forget a new ‘bad guy’, voiced by Benjamin Bratt. Gru’s three young daughters are a little older, leading to a few pre-teen laughs. There are a few nods to wards the spy movies of old, including a nod to James Bond – The Spy Who Loved Me, and a hint of Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat. Steve Carell, as Gru, even hints at his previous spy film, Get Smart. In jokes aside, there are plenty of new one’s to keep you jiggling in your seat, and stay tuned for a rendition by the Minions at the end of the movie.

The plea for help comes early in the story, but feels slightly misleading, or is it? You’re expecting the story to take a certain route, with predictable twists, but it veers off in a totally perpendicular direction. There’s plenty for the adults, and bucket loads for the younger audience members. Parents will not be bored watching this with their children.

The voice casting is spot on, bringing life to the faces on-screen, with a ton of talent going into some very detailed sets. Even the gobbildy-goop spoken by the Minions sounds like it has meaning, developed in such as way as to keep continuity to their spoken words (similar to Klingon, from the Star Trek world).

Stuart and Jorge, Despicable Me 2Despicable Me 2, a fun adventure for the whole family, an afternoon with the children, or a night out with a significant other. You’ll be aching from laughter by the time the credits roll. Don’t leave too early though, because some of the biggest laughs come during these credits.

It’s heart-warming, it’s a spy story, a love story, and a story about family, Despicable Me 2 hits our cinema screens 5 July 2013.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Lone Ranger World Premiere

lone_ranger_poster

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling adventure infused with action and humour  in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

 

Johnny Depp as Tonto
Johnny Depp as Tonto

“The Lone Ranger” also stars Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.

Tonto and the Lone Ranger
Tonto and the Lone Ranger

A Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films presentation, “The Lone Ranger” is directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, with screen story by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Justin Haythe and screenplay by Justin Haythe and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio. “The Lone Ranger” releases in S.A. theaters on July 12, 2013.

South African acting export, and SAMDB member, Tanit Phoenix (Spud, Death Race, Mad Buddies) was there with her significant other, actor Sharlto Copley (Elysium, District 9, The A Team).

Sharlto Copley and Tanit Phoenix