Schuster Brings It To The People

just over 1 month until Leon Schuster’s latest candid-comedy caper, Schuks! Your Country Needs You, hits cinemas on 29 November nationwide. Now, with the full-length trailer playing in cinemas and whetting appetites nationwide, SA’s favourite prankster brings an announcement that is sure to galvanise many followers into action.

Lare Birk, Leon Schuster, Alfred Ntombela, Rob van Vuuren
Lare Birk, Leon Schuster, Alfred Ntombela, Rob van Vuuren

The search is officially on to find SA’s best prankster! Leon is looking for the best, stomach-achingly funny pranks that his fans can produce. As of this week, fans can submit their pranks by logging on to the official Facebook page,, until 26 November.
(T’s and C’s apply; see the Facebook page for full terms and conditions.)

Through a series of public votes over December, together with Leon’s input, the winner will be selected in January 2014. In addition to being crowned the King (or Queen) of all Pranksters, the winner will also have their prank included in the Special Features of the Schuks! Your Country Needs You DVD and Blu-ray, to be released in the first half of 2014 – forever memorialising their contribution to making the nation laugh. With lots of prizes and special giveaways, there is more than enough motivation to stake your place as a prankster!

Say’s Schuster, ‘I can’t wait to see what fun my fans will have for us and I am certainly looking forward to having a great laugh with all of South Africa.’ On whether he has any advice for the would-be-pranksters, Leon adds, ‘keep it safe, keep it clean, don’t get hurt and remember – laughter is the best medicine!’

To get some inspiration fans can view the full-length trailer from Schuks! Your Country Needs You that delivers some insight into the non-stop laughs that cinema-goers can expect this holiday season.

A side-splitting candid camera comedy, Schuks! Your Country Needs You co-stars long-time Schuster collaborator Alfred ‘Shorty’ Ntombela, stage and screen comic icon Rob van Vuuren as well as newcomer Laré Birk. Together, the awesome foursome create havoc across South Africa, testing people’s patience in traffic, swindling them at shops and scaring them by the side of the road – all for a good cause: laughter! Transformed by elaborate costumes and special effects makeup, Schuks and the team also tackle some of the country’s biggest names – will they take the bait and see the funny side of it?

Directed by Gray Hofmeyr, and Produced by Andre Scholtz, Schuks Your Country Needs You is set for release on Friday 29 November 2013 and will be distributed by The Walt Disney Company Africa under the Touchstone Pictures banner.

SAMDB title page:


Adults Only… For Second National Arts Festival Short Sharp Stories Award

The National Arts Festival again partners with author Joanne Hichens for the second annual Short Sharp Stories Award for South African short-story fiction.  An anthology of selected stories will again be published from submissions to the award. All writers are asked to submit a story under the theme “ADULTS ONLY… “ this year.

“There are few writers of literary merit who approach the subjects of sex and sensuality. Advertisers and pornographers have annexed not only the terrain, but the language. It is very difficult to write about sex because the language is so limited, so blunt. Yet we can’t hand over such an important topic to commerce,” said Dawn Garisch, winner of the first Short Sharp Stories Awards in 2013.

This year’s collection will therefore be devoted to stories with an element of sex and sensuality. “We’re looking for stories that are raw, dangerous and powerful, as well as those that are delicate, sensitive and funny. Your story can titillate the senses, it can be highly provocative. It can be sacred or profane, playfully perverse or deeply poignant. It can be tender, reserved, and full of self-possessed restraint, or it can speak of rapacious appetites. The sex and/or sensuality must however be part of a strong, compelling narrative,” said Hichens.

The organisers are looking for stories that will challenge stereotypical thinking. “We want stories that explore the struggles and celebrations around sexuality in whatever form it takes, bearing in mind that Love can be heroic, it can be tragic, it can make you laugh and cry,” Hichens added.

The prize-winning stories of the second collection, selected from the stories to be published by a panel of independent judges, will be announced at a launch event at the 2014 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

In addition to being published in the anthology, there are cash prizes to be won of R35 000 (thirty five thousand rand). The winner will receive R20 000 and the three runners-up will receive R5 000 each. Plus each published writer apart from the winners will receive an honorarium of R500.

The big news is that Helena S. Paige, Helen Moffet, Paige Nick and Sarah Lotz will write the foreward.

The competition is open to South African citizens regardless of residency, and to residents of South Africa, over the age of 18. Stories must be previously unpublished fiction, written in English. Stories are to be between 3000 and 5000 words in length (which will enable submission to the Caine Prize), and only one story per author is to be considered in any one year. Closing date for entries for the competition is 30 November 2013. The full rules and requirements for the stories can be viewed on the National Arts Festival website: as well as at

Selected writers will be invited to read at, and to participate in events at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2014. Transport and accommodation will be paid for winning writers, provided they are resident in South Africa. Copyright of stories will remain with the writers, although writers may be requested to publish in partnering online and print media.

The final panel of independent judges to choose the winning stories from the short-list of twenty-five stories will be announced in 2014. Stories will be edited by author and editor Joanne Hichens, in association with the writers, in order to ensure a publication of the highest standard.

After consulting the submission details on the National Arts Festival website, entries can be emailed to Submissions should be accompanied by the signed entry form (available on the website), plus a covering letter conveying contact details, plus a brief CV and biography. Stories are preferably to be set in 11 point, Times Roman, at one and half line spacing. For further information, or queries, please contact Joanne Hichens at

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Department of Arts and Culture, The Eastern Cape Government, The National Arts Council, City Press and M Net.

Film Review

Review: Paranoia

With a star studded cast, including Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Liam Hemsworth and Amber Heard, you’re sure to be in for a compelling story, full of twists, double-crosses, and intrigue, and Paranoia does not disappoint.

Bitter rivals, and technology billionaires Jock (Harrison Ford) and Nicolas (Gary Oldman) will stop at nothing to destroy each other. The rivalry stems from a bitter past, when they were once friends. Bring in Adam (Liam Hemsworth), a young genius hungry for success and riches, and you have a recipe for industrial espionage. But no such story is complete without the girl, in the form of Emma (Amber Heard).

Brining the main characters of Paranoia together ignites a host of plot twists, pretence, industrial espionage and betrayal. Just when you think you’ve figured out where someone loyalties lie, you’re proved wrong. Paranoia will keep you guessing right to the very end, and is a definite must see for those who love a thrill.

Paranoia opens 25 October 2013 in South Africa

Film Review

Review: Riddick

Left for dead on an apparently lifeless planet, Riddick is fighting for survival against alien predators, and triggers a distress beacon to lure mercenaries and bounty hunters to the planet, providing him with a possible means of escape.

The film opens with a bit of reflection, on life and the soul of Riddick. We see his tough side, and we see a more gentle side peaking through, as he prepares himself for the upcoming conflict.

Although slow to start, with Riddick alone against the elements and alien life, things soon take on a sense of urgency once the other humans arrive, one a team of mercenaries, the other a group of bounty hunters. The two crews are competing, everyone is out to get Riddick, and there’s hostile alien life.

Riddick is far more contained then Chornicles of Riddick, feeling more in-touch with PItch Black than the previous film.

The story provides for great entertainment, and tough guys Vin Diesal and Karl Urban don’t disappoint with the action. Riddick is an action packed look at the instinct for survival.

Riddick opens 25 October 2013 in South Africa


Shnit 2013 Announces SA Winners, Closes In Style

Shnit International Shortfilmfestival came to a rousing end Sunday night 6th October at The Labia Theatre as this year’s Flaming Faun trophy for Best Film Made In South Africa was awarded to Armed Response, directed by Donovan Graham and written by Donovan Graham and Greg Parvess. Local jurors Anthony Silverston and Neiloe Khunyeli presented the award in front of a capacity crowd, commenting that ‘a well-balanced cast carried the nuanced comedic timing and subtle yet hilarious script, often pushing the envelope in a way that only South Africans can. It was refreshing to be able to laugh at ourselves and a series would be a great addition to what we currently have on our screens’.

Overall the judges were impressed by the Made In South Africa category’s strong acting, cinematography and high production values with a range of interesting and unique stories that showcased the diversity and rising filmmaking talent of our country. Honourable mentions went to Kanye Kanye – a quirky and heart-warming story with many touching moments and a strong stylistic vision, Port Nolloth: Between a Rock and a Hard Place – an exquisitely filmed, well-rounded documentary with strong undertones of hope, faith and tradition, Stone Cars – an authentic and moving girls’ coming-of-age story who’s strength is in its understated yet strong performances and naturalistic filmmaking and Like Clockwork – a creative visual style resulting in a unique and interesting short film.

The night also saw the premieres of three Real Time Competition films, each filmed in 72 hours over the course of the festival. Filmmakers Tlhonepho Thobejane, Marco van der Merwe and collective Gambit Films blew the audience away with their output in such a short production window, with Gambit films ultimately awarded the audience-voted Real Time 2013 prize, sponsored by Exposure Gallery, for their film The Briefcase.

Shnit 2013 has been roundly praised as the best edition yet, with a world class line up of films leaving packed houses in Cape Town and Stellenbosch with jaws on the floor all weekend long. Whether through the numerous filmmakers in attendance to give insight into their work, or the little flourishes for which shnit is famous – an opening night laser show courtesy of Sound Events, Afrodizzyact’s giant robots or a neon techno-crane installed in the Labia foyer courtesy of Media Film Service – many may have left feeling it’ll take a lot to better this year. Challenge accepted…

Key team members travelled to New York to represent South Africa at the International shnit Awards night on October 13th. For those who missed it, shnit will return in late 2013 for ‘Best of the International Competition’ screenings. Details to be announced.

Shnit Cape Town is made possible through the financial support of the Cape Film Commission and the National Film and Video Foundation, as well as the National Lottery Distribution Fund (through new partners the upcoming Cape Town International Film Festival). The Real Time Competition is generously supported by our partners Zootee Studios, Sound Surgeon Studios; Priest Post, The Monk, 744 Digital, Propfather, and Flexfit. Thanks to all of our co-operation partners who make the festival what it is.