Experimental Short Film ABZ-2079 Showcases Pressure Cooker Studios Latest Score

Award-winning Pressure Cooker Studios once again showcases the agency’s outstanding talent and abilities to compose scores and sound design for feature films and television with the release of short film ABZ-2079. The experimental film is the brainchild of celebrated actor/director Porteus Xandau, who stated that it is available exclusively online through various creative showcasing sites.

Xandau explains: “ABZ-2079 is a dance based portrait study of the Anglo-Boer-Zulu War and is a futuristic science fiction interpretation of the historical events. In terms of style, it’s post-apocalypse meets pop-Africana. The characters include a Zulu warrior, a British robotic soldier and a Boer ballet dancer.”

James Matthes, co-founder and composer of Pressure Cooker Studios, says that they were given creative freedom for the score and sound design, as long as it had a dramatic tone filled with unconventional and noise based sounds. “Porteus would challenge us by asking, what would a robot sound like when crying, which made the process experimental and challenging. It’s definitely the hardest project we’ve ever tackled.”

Matthes says that they are very proud of the final product and expect ABZ-2079 to become a viral favourite with its very unique edge.

Shot in Cape Town and surrounds, ABZ-2079 is produced by Herman le Roux and stars Mia Labuschagne, Sonwabo Vayi and B-Boy Bax.

 

The Write Journey: A Workshop For Screenwriters And Storytellers

The Writing Studio’s celebrated workshop The Write Journey will be on in Cape Town on Saturday mornings from 10am until 1pm on June 7, 14, 21 and 28 and is ideal for aspirant screenwriters and ardent storytellers who would like to sharpen their storytelling skills.

The Write Journey is presented by Daniel Dercksen, who has been a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, taught and mentored writers at The Writing Studio for 15 years, and whose latest play The Beauty of Incomplete Things opens at the Joburg Theatre in July (following its World Premiere in Cape Town in January 2014).

This unique workshop explores the fine art of writing visual narrative, mastering the skill of plotting and structure, and developing and exploring ideas and characters.

It’s a journey into the world of story, empowering storytellers to take ownership of the creative journey, and creative expression.

The Write Journey is ideal for first-time writers who would like to define their writing skills, and also recommended for seasoned writers who are trapped in the web of re-writes and unfinished projects, or lost in the maze of the daunting writing process.

Graduates of previous workshops include producer screenwriter and filmmaker Sallas de Jager (Roepman, Verraaiers, Musiek vir die agtergrond and Stuur Groete aan Mannetjies Roux), award-winning playwright Neil Coppen (Abnormal Loads) and Jeremeo Le Cordeur (Tannie Dora Gaan Bos), filmmakers John Barker (Bunny Chow and How To Steal a Million) and Henk Pretorius (Bakgat, Fanie Fourie Se Lobola), novelists Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, The Shining Girl) Gary Hirson (The Magic That is Ours and Calm in Storm)and Consuelo Roland (who received acclaim for her Lady Limbo Novel, and was Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and received an Honorary mention for the Olive Schreiner Prize for her novel The Good Cemetery Guide).

The Write Journey workshop takes place at The Writing Studio in Cape Town on June 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 10am until 2pm.

To register and for more information, visit the website http://www.writingstudio..co.za or send an email to info@writingstudio.co.za

A Million Ways To Die In The West: Review

A meek, almost cowardly sheep farmer is down on his luck, escaping death by talking his way out of a duel. A mysterious woman, wife to a notorious outlaw, rides into town, and here their two paths cross in what can only be described as two stories. A Million Ways To Die In The West has two sides to it. There’s the rough and tough of the Old West, with some action, some romance, a bit of bravado, and some great jokes (including a few that will bring back a feeling of nostalgia in many an audience member). Then, there is the other story, the slap-stick, gross-out humour that appeals to a different class viewer.

So, a side to the film for each side of the humour fence. The question is, will once side be able to bear the funny-fruit of the other side long enough to enjoy the film? It’s easy enough to grimace during these scenes, with the hope that another sort of humour will come along shortly, and thankfully, the film does not disappoint.

Local belle Charlize Theron plays Anna, the mysterious love interest opposite Seth MacFarlane, as ALbert. Both are surprisingly ideal for these roles, supported by Amanda Seyfried, as Alberts ex-girlfriend, on a path to find herself with a new boyfriend, played Neil Patrick Harris as you’ve never seen him. And, not forgetting the outlaw, Anna’s husband, Clinch, played by Liam Neeson. Sarah Silverman playing the local prostitute, Ruth, along with some over-sharing on her escapades, and her boyfriend Edward, played by Giovanni Ribisi, round off the comedy ensemble that will have audiences in fits of laughter.

Not forgetting the actual plot of the film. It’s simple enough, while entertaining, and forming an enjoyable vehicle for the films funny moments, interspersed with the odd bit of action.

A Million Ways To Die In The West opens Friday, 30 May 2014 in South African cinemas, and is a film you should have on your wishlist for this year! Book now!

Godzilla: Review

One of the most well known monsters is back. Godzilla returns, in all his computer generated glory, for a retelling of the story.

After a brief introduction to cover the backstory, during the opening credits, we plunge in to the life of Joe Brody, where the scene is set for the fight ahead. Move forward in time, and Brody’s son Ford is now a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and as the events of the film unfold, we are treated to a story of reconciliation between father and son, an epic fight with massive creatures, and a tale of courage.

The effects in Godzilla are astounding. Not the creature effects, but the result of those creatures destructive tendencies. There’s the usual American bravado, as the military moves in to save the day, and fight the big fight.

That aside, Godzilla is a great improvement on it’s predecessor, and tells an entertaining story. There is a different take on the title creature too, and keen-eyed viewers should pick up on this pretty early in the film.

Godzilla is a special effects laden story of human nature, how we overcome our differences, and work together, when there is a threat to our existence., Fans of creature movies will flock to this one, but there is something for every type of viewer in the film.

Godzilla opens 16 May 2014 in South Africa.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past: Review

Time travel, it’s one of those things can can be used to alter the timeline for good or bad, and X-Men: Days Of Future Past uses it to combine the original X-Men with their younger selves from First Class. In the future, times are dark, and they are fighting for survival, and the survival of all mutants, who are being wiped out by huge robotic sentinels. Their last desperate act, is to travel back to help their younger selves alter the timeline at a point where it all began.

The story begins when times are at their bleakest, diving right into the drama. The sudden shift in story from the original stories instils a sense of confusion in the viewer, much like what the characters on screen must be feeling as they are hunted down. Magneto and Professor Xavier have joined forces in this battle, with their goal to send Wolverine’s conciousness back into his younger self, where he must bring the two leaders together in a time when they are the worst of enemies, convince his younger friends to help him, and succeed in this important of missions.

The cast are all back, young and old, and inhibit their roles as enjoyable as before. The effects are marvels, but yet do not detract from the story, preferring to augment the on-screen action, as opposed to being the main focus.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past is a welcome change to the previous, more linear stories of fighting an opponent, and accomplishing a mission. The story is slightly more intellectual, while keeping the fun, and action of the previous films.

This is certainly a must for fans, but those new to the genre will certainly enjoy it. A bit of background information might be needed to fully appreciate the nuances, but who these days would not know of the X-Men.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past opens 23 May 2014 in South Africa, and is sure to take the box office by storm. Book now.

Transcendence: Review

Set in the not too distant future, Transcendence tells the story of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), a top researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that will combine the sum intelligence of mankind, including the full range of human emotion.

Caster’s progress garners him fame, but makes him a target of anti-technology extremists. In an attempt to stop Caster, these extremists inadvertently set him on a path towards his own transcendence, aided by his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max (Paul Bettany). However, Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seeming omnipresent quest for power, one that soon becomes terrifying.

Transcendence deals with the singularity, an event often talked about in a great many of the science documentaries, a point in time when mankind would have created a self-aware artificial intelligence, and shift mankind to another level. Long have there also been projects that hope to record a persons mind, and store it on servers on The Internet. Transcendence looks at these possible futures, and combines this science with a simple story of love, one where Will has a driving passion for his work, and a love for his wife he wishes to protect, and Evelyn’s love for him means she wants more time with him, and the debate becomes how far would she go to achieve this.

The film is well cast, well written, and told in a way that will leave audiences debating their own moral choices. The science is not too involved that it will appeal to sci-fi buffs only, but provides plenty of explanation to the average viewer.

At the heart of all the science, is a love story, and a story that looks at what is is to be human, and how do we define our state of being.

Transcendence, a thought provoking story, of love, and humankind. It opens 30 May 2014 in South Africa.

Out In Africa Film Festival 28 May To 1 June At Cinema Nouveau Rosebank And V&A

OUT IN AFRICA Gay & Lesbian Film Festival: CINEMA NOUVEAU Rosebank and V&A Waterfront

28 May to 1 June – Bookings open 19 May – click here for website

The 21st Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival opens on Wednesday 28 May at Cinema Nouveau (Rosebank Jozi and V&A CT) with a selection of four exceptional features and two documentaries bound to spark debate. The Festival runs until Sunday 1 June.

Festival guest Jan Soldat will present his unusual and extraordinary documentaries Weekend in Germany and The Incomplete at all screenings in both Jozi and CT. Soldat travels courtesy of the Goethe Institut.

Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe as gay Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, will open the Festival. The film and refreshments on the night are courtesy of Cinema Nouveau.

The Festival is supported by the National Film & Video Foundation, the Goethe Institut, Graton Guest House, 6 Spin Street Restaurant, loyal 8333 members, the 700 MySchool contributors and our advertisers. We would also like to thank Carolina Meyer of City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts, for our programme cover design.

Boy Meets Girl / Dir: Eric Schaeffer / 2014 / USA / 95min

Schaeffer’s film is a poignant, sexy, romantic coming of age comedy about three twenty year-olds. A smart script, this is a sex/human positive modern fable and identification with its story crosses all gender and sexual orientation lines.

Concussion / Dir: Stacie Passon / USA / 2013 / 97min

A suburban lesbian housewife pushing 40 suffers a blow to the head that unleashes her latent sexuality, and sends her on an erotic journey that gives birth to a secret second life. Winner of the Teddy Jury Award at the Berlinale, it is palpably sensual and deliciously contained.

AWARDS: Berlin International Film Festival 2013 – Won Teddy Jury Award; San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2013 – won Best First Feature – Special Mention

Kill Your Darlings / Dir: John Krokidas / USA / 2013 / 104min

Daniel Radcliffe is Beat Generation icon Allen Ginsberg in this biopic set during the famed poet’s early years at Columbia University, and centering on a murder investigation involving Ginsberg, his handsome classmate Lucien Carr, and fellow Beat-er William S. Burroughs.

AWARDS: Cork International Film Festival 2013 – won UCC Film, Academy Student Jury Award; Hamptons International Film Festival – won Breakthrough Performer; Palm Springs Interntional Film Festival 2013 – won Directors to Watch

Stranger by the Lake / Dir: Alain Guiraudie / France / 2013 / 101min

Winner of the 2013 Cannes Un Certain Regard Best Directing award, Stranger by the Lake is a candid and absorbing portrait of passion and murder at a secluded lakeside cruising spot. This stunning, minimalist erotic thriller explores how human identity is defined, and sometimes imprisoned, by our desires, drives, and passions.

AWARDS: Cannes Film Festival 2013 – won Queer Palm & Un Certain Regard, Regard – Directing Prize; César Awards, France 214 – won César & Most Promising Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound; Montréal Festival of New Cinema 2013 – won Special Mention

Weekend in Germany Ein Wochenende in Deutschland 2013 / Germany / 25min + The Incomplete Der Unfertige 2013 / Germany / 48min / Dir: Jan Soldat

With unprecedented access, intimacy and humanity, without flinching or judging, Soldat invites us behind closed doors and into the meeting place of our deepest fears and desires. A provocative, outrageous and touching documentary double-bill!

Academy Announces 2014 Student Academy Award Winners

Fifteen students have been selected as winners in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 41st Student Academy Awards® competition. They will arrive in Los Angeles for a week of industry activities that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m., at the DGA Theater in Hollywood. The medal placements – gold, silver and bronze – in the five award categories will be announced at the ceremony.

The winners are (listed alphabetically by film title):

Alternative
“Oscillate,” Daniel Sierra, School of Visual Arts, New York
“Person,” Drew Brown, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida

Animation
“Higher Sky,” Teng Cheng, University of Southern California
“Owned,” Daniel Clark and Wesley Tippetts, Brigham Young University, Utah
“Yamashita,” Hayley Foster, Loyola Marymount University, California

Documentary
“The Apothecary,” Helen Hood Scheer, Stanford University
“One Child,” Zijian Mu, New York University
“White Earth,” J. Christian Jensen, Stanford University

Narrative
“Above the Sea,” Keola Racela, Columbia University, New York
“Door God,” Yulin Liu, New York University
“Interstate,” Camille Stochitch, American Film Institute, California

Foreign Film
“Border Patrol,” Peter Baumann, The Northern Film School, United Kingdom
“Nocebo,” Lennart Ruff, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany
“Paris on the Water,” Hadas Ayalon, Tel Aviv University, Israel

This year saw first-time honors go to Tel Aviv University, Israel, and The Northern Film School, United Kingdom, in the foreign competition. Academy members voted the winners from a field of 49 finalists, announced earlier this month.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar® nominations and have won or shared eight awards. They include John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker and Spike Lee.

Paramount Pictures Announces Start Of Principal Photography On Scouts VS Zombies

Paramount Pictures announced today that principal photography on “SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIES” has commenced in Los Angeles.  The film is directed by Christopher Landon (“PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES”).

The screenplay from Landon is based on Lona Williams (“DROP DEAD GORGEOUS,” “The Drew Carey Show”) and Etan Cohen’s (“MEN IN BLACK 3,” “TROPIC THUNDER”) draft of an original script from Emi Mochizuki & Carrie Evans (“COLLEGE ROAD TRIP”).  Todd Garner (“PAUL BLART: MALL COP,” “INTO THE STORM”) and Andy Fickman (“PARENTAL GUIDANCE,” “RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN”) will produce, with Bryan Brucks (“BLENDED”), Sean Robins (“INTO THE STORM”) and Samson Mucke (“PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES”) serving as executive producers.

Tye Sheridan (“MUD,” “DARK PLACES”), Logan Miller (“I’M IN THE BAND,” “NIGHT MOVES”), and newcomer Joey Morgan are three scouts who, on the eve of their last camp out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.

Rounding out the cast is Sarah Dumont (“DON JON”) as Denise, David Koechner (“ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY,” “ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES”) as Scout Leader Rogers, Cloris Leachman (“THE LAST PICTURE SHOW,” “Raising Hope”) as Ms. Fielder, Halston Sage (“NEIGHBORS,” “THE BLING RING”) as Kendall, and Patrick Schwarzenegger (“DEAR ELEANOR,” “STUCK IN LOVE”) as Jeff.

 

Transformers Age Of Extinction To Feature Award-Winning Band Imagine Dragons

Director Michael Bay, film composer Steve Jablonsky and Paramount Pictures are collaborating with the Grammy Award-winning band IMAGINE DRAGONS to feature the band’s original music in the upcoming film “TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION,” one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.

Following an early footage screening of the film, IMAGINE DRAGONS wrote the original song “BATTLE CRY,” which Bay used in critical points in the film. Additionally, the band contributed original music during the scoring process by recording cues with Jablonsky, the film’s composer, and Hans Zimmer, who assisted in the process. The collaboration resulted in added depth to the sound of the film.

“We’re incredibly lucky that Dan, Wayne, Ben and Daniel were available to work with us,” says director Bay. “I remember being drawn to the emotion of ‘Demons’ and ‘Radioactive’ the first time I heard those songs, and I knew I wanted that same energy and heart for this movie. They’ve created a really epic, otherworldly sound for ‘Battle Cry.'”

“The TRANSFORMER franchise has set the bar for cinematic innovation over the years, says Alex Da Kid, label head at KIDinaKORNER records. We are excited to collaborate with Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures and view this as an incredible global platform.”

IMAGINE DRAGONS will perform its new single live at the film’s worldwide premiere in Hong Kong, one of the locations in the film, on June 19th.

Grammy Award-winning rock band IMAGINE DRAGONS is one of the 2013’s breakout artists, having played to sold-out audiences in North America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Their debut full length album, Night Visions, (KIDinaKORNER/ Interscope Records) arrived on the Billboard Top 200 at #2 with the best first-week sales for a full-length debut by a new rock band in over six years.

Certified multi-platinum selling over 4 million copies worldwide, the album was propelled by the success of the multi-platinum single, “It’s Time,” with follow-up singles “Radioactive” selling over 10 million globally and “Demons,” which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Rolling Stone proclaimed Imagine Dragons “the biggest breakout of the year” and Entertainment Weekly called 2013 the “Year of the Dragons.”

IMAGINE DRAGONS are Dan Reynolds (vocals), Wayne Sermon (guitar), Ben McKee (bass), and Daniel Platzman (drums).

“TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION” is the fourth film in director Michael Bay’s global blockbuster franchise. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Li Bingbing , Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T. J. Miller, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor and Titus Welliver star. The film begins after an epic battle that left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history… while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

Produced By Don Murphy & Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce.
Based on Hasbro’s Transformers(tm) Action Figures. Written By Ehren Kruger. Directed By Michael Bay.

“TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION” opens in theaters on June 27, 2014.