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.


Acting For Film Level 4 WIth Act Cape Town

The Acting for Film – Level 4 course is suitable for beginner actors wishing to enter the industry, or professional actors requiring additional material for their acting reel. The
course comprises five rehearsals and a film shoot, in which students rehearse and shoot a 2-3 minute film scene. The scene will be professionally edited and can be utilized for show-reel purposes to gain agency representation and or work in the industry.

Final class will include an invited industry guest.

Course Details: Tuesdays, from 5:30 – 8:30 plus weekend shoot (30 Nov & 1st Dec)

Entry Requirements: Acting for Film – Level 3 / Equivalent in Industry Experience

Cost: R3500.00
(includes all training material, DVD of final edited performance and certificate of completion)

Coach: Matthew Kalil, Film Director


Much Anticipated Elelwani To Screen At Rosebank Nouveau In November

South African’s first Venda-language feature film, “Elelwani”, will run at Rosebank Cinema Nouveau in Johannesburg from 1 to 7 November 2013, prior to its official national release on 31 January 2014.

This is to ensure that the film qualifies to be in competition for the 2013 South African Film and Television Awards (the SAFTAS).

The film, directed by Ntshaveni Wa Luruli and based on the novel by Titus Ntsiene Maumela, tells the story of Elelwani (played by TV star Florence Masebe), a young woman who left her rural village for the big city, where she has completed her studies. She’s been offered a dream job in Chicago and she’s engaged to Vele, the love of her life. The two set out on a drive to her village, intending to tell her parents of their plans to marry and spend their future together. After their arrival, Elelwani is blindsided when her parents reveal that her hand has been promised to the tribal king, Torn between a glowing future and familial duty, she initially rebels, but finally consents.

What follows is a cinematic initiation into the culture of the Venda through an ethnographic thriller infused with the tradition of oral storytelling. Shot against the glorious green backdrop of the Thohoyandou area of Limpopo, incredibly beautiful images and a disturbing plot combine to create a film inflected with magical realism. Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, himself a Venda deals maturely with a sensitive topic and the tale comes to a complex and grounded resolution.

“‘Elelwani’ is a unique film and an important milestone in South African cinema history,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the film locally. “Not only does it provide a window into Venda culture, but it’s also a well told tale that is beautifully shot, with solid performances from the lead characters. We are confident that the film is likely to win awards, which is why we want to ensure that it is eligible for the 2013 SAFTAS by exhibiting it in November this year. The SAFTAS celebrate creativity, quality and excellence in South African film, and ‘Elelwani’ is definitely a movie that we can all be proud of.”


The Write Journey – Turning Words Into Action

If you’re a storyteller with a vivid imagination whose ideas are larger than life, The Write Journey is guaranteed to turn words into action!

The Writing Studio’s penultimate four Saturday morning workshop for screenwriters takes place in Cape Town on October 19, 26 and November 2 and 9 from 10am until 1pm.

Following in the tradition of 19 years of workshop throughout South Africa, including as guest speaker at this year’s 48Hour Film Project in Johannesburg, master classes at the Sithengi Film and TV Market’s Talent Campus, as well as the 2012 International Kunjanimation Animation Festival, community workshops at the  Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of their annual Kwa Mashu Film Festival, the workshop is presented by the Daniel Dercksen,  celebrating creative freedom in South Africa.

The Write Journey looks at mastering the art of plotting your story, defining and developing your premise, concept, theme and characters and taking ownership of the writing process.

The motivational and inspirational workshop explores the art of visual narrative and the fundamentals of successful storytelling.

Within 4 sessions budding screenwriters will understand the principles of writing for a visual medium and what it takes to be screenwriter in South Africa.

Although the workshop focuses on the art of visual narrative and uses film as a medium, the workshop is ideal for novelists, journalist and writers who would like to master the art of adapting stories into a visual medium.

The workshop is ideal for ANYONE with an idea for a story.

If there is something or someone you want to write about this is your opportunity to turn thoughts into words.  Ideas are transformed into concepts that will be reworked into visual narrative filled with action, description and vibrant characters. 

This outcome-based workshop examines the principles of writing for film (including documentaries), television, theatre and fiction and explores the writing process, developing characters and mastering the art of structure.

It is a basic workshop that explores the art of storytelling and the craft of writing a universal story that reflects the uniqueness, history and culture of South Africa and Africa.

It’s about writers connecting with the process of writing productively in their comfort zones and producing South African stories the world wants to experience.

The duality of the interactive workshop nurtures creativity: it allows the writer to write instinctively and take an introspective journey into story; it also stimulates writers to write stories connected to their unique cultures, communities, history and experience that reflect the universal human condition.

Following the workshop, the writers will be guided through the process of developing their screenplays through The Write Agency, and get their drafts shaped for the international film, television and publishing markets.

For more information on The Write Journey that takes place at The Writing Studio in Green Point, Cape Town on October 19, 26 and November 2 and 9 from 10am until 1pm, email or visit the website, /


Success Of Mandela Film Acknowledged In National Assembly

The successful debut of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom at the Toronto Film Festival in September, was recently acknowledged in a motion in the National Assembly by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party, Ms Dorris Dlakude which was agreed to by all parties.

Quoted in the Minutes of Proceedings of the National Assembly on 12 September, Ms Dlakude succinctly captured what the film means to South Africa in her motion that the House:

· “Believes that the production of this film will remind us, as we celebrate the life of our international icon, to also contribute towards social cohesion, reconciliation and nation building;

· Acknowledges that through this film, we need to draw inspiration from uTata Madiba to continue to build an inclusive society as the best way to honour his legacy; and

· Calls upon all South Africans to watch the film, as soon as it is released in South Africa in November as a means to pay tribute to former President Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela.”

On learning of the acknowledgement, producer Anant Singh said, “We are honoured with the recognition of the film by the National Assembly. It is gratifying to note that we have made a film that will impact positively on all South Africans and we are pleased that a call has been made to the nation to watch the film as a tribute to Madiba.”

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom will be released in South Africa on 28 November 2013 through United International Pictures.

Film Review

Review: Gravity

At 600km above planet Earth, the temperature  fluctuates between +258 and -148 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is nothing to carry sound.
No air pressure.
No oxygen.

Life in space is impossible.

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock - Gravity

Acadamy Award winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney team up in this non-stop thrill ride set in low Earth orbit.

Gravity takes a few minutes to introduce the audience to the main characters, then it takes a deep breath from it’s rapidly depleting oxygen tanks, and hits you with flying debris, leaving you gasping from the tension and thrills for the rest of the fast paced, heart stopping ride!

Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes.  The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.  The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue.  As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left.

Clooney and Bullock deliver intense performances, falling nothing short of the high flying standards one would expect. Ed Harris once again play Mission Control, the voice of reason and calm amidst the life threatening chaos. Harris played mission controler Gene Kranz in Apollo 13.

Clooney’s character Kowalksi brings us the few of the lighter, and more humours moments, being the more experienced astronaut, and mainting a clam compusure.

Houston, in the blind.  To confirm:
Mission Specialist Dr. Stone and Mission Commander
Matthew Kowalski are the sole survivors of the STS-157.

Bullock’s character Ryan is the less experienced of the team, fighitng nerves, panic and the on going danger coming at her from every angle.

The effects are biliiant, believable and technically correct, with few titles since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Oddysee presenting such realism and ‘silent space’. See the trailer below (keeping in theme with pushing the visual and technological boundries, now available to view in 2k).

Gravity is a must see, for its thrilling story, impressive effects, and engrossing performance by a top cast. A must see.

Official site
Gravity on SAMDB