Cold Harbour Star Wins Best Actor At Durban

South African star Tony Kgoroge was named Best Actor at Durban International Film Festival this weekend for his role in Cold Harbour, currently in cinemas. Tony shared the prize with Timbuktu star Ibrahim Ahmed.

“The best actor award is shared between an actor who is established and commanding and a newcomer who is unforgettable. Both give soulful and compelling performances and are enviable collaborators with the filmmakers they work with,” said the Durban jury.

In Carey McKenzie’s African noir Cold Harbour, Tony plays ambitious Khayelitsha policeman Sizwe Miya, who uncovers an abalone smuggling scheme while investigating a Triad murder. The role was written especially for him .

The Sunday Times said that the character was ” superbly inhabited on screen by the charismatic Tony Kgoroge.”

The Sunday Independent said “ Cold Harbour will leave you with a warm feeling towards local movies and Tony Kgroge shines like a star.”

Tony made Variety’s list of South African talent poised to break out in 2010, after a fiery performance as Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, opposite Morgan Freeman.

He’s familiar with international audiences for his co-starring roles inThe First Grader, as the love interest of current Bond girl Naomie Harris; Skin, opposite Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo; and as former ANC Secretary General Walter Sisulu in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, opposite Idris Elba.

Remarkably though, Cold Harbour marks his first lead role in a South African feature film, and his transition to an action hero.

“In most of the parts I’ve played, my character has been politically-driven or very sad or a lover boy, so it’s very exciting to be playing such a different role, where I get to be more physical and macho,” says Tony. “It must be every actor’s dream to be the action hero; it’s something I’ve been dying to do for years.”

Sizwe does all his own stunts in the film, even taking on former Intercontinental World Muaythai Thai Supermiddleweight champion Quentin Chong and a German Shepherd guard dog in different scenes. “You rehearse everything so carefully, but when you get into a scene, the adrenaline takes over and things go crazy,” he says. “Doing your own stunts is one of the best things an actor can ever do. It keeps you in touch with your character.”

Cold Harbour had a sell-out world premiere at Durban International Film Festival and opened nationwide on Friday.

For more info, visit www.coldharbourmovie.com or follow Cold Harbour on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Ian Gabriel’s Four Corners Continues To Garner International Awards

Ian Gabriel’s debut feature film, Four Corners, continues to garner international awards. Following the film’s Best Film win at the Niagara Film Festival in Canada last month, the South African thriller continued its award-winning streak taking 2nd Place for the ‘Best Film Gryphon’, Youth Jury Award at the Giffoni Film Festival in Italy on Sunday night. Director Ian Gabriel’s film was the only South African picture selected to screen at the Italian festival, and was praised for ‘outstanding direction, cinematography, performances and music that gave a strong sense of the world of the film’. Four Corners was featured in the Generator 18 category, where the The Best Film Gryphon was won by Korea’s Joon ik Lee’s true story, Hope.

Giffoni is the largest youth orientated cinematic event in the world and allows young audience members to act as the jury and vote for winning films. This year saw a star studded event where Meryl Streep was awarded a Giffoni Fellowship Award while other attendees to the festival included Alan Rickman, Dylan O’Brian and the festival’s guest star Richard Gere, who hailed the festival as having ‘worldwide importance’.

“International cinema allows you to see the world from a richer and broader perspective than the typical American and Hollywood films youth have traditionally been exposed to. In this way, encouraging the next generation’s interest in these stories allows the broadening of global youth culture and I’m convinced that any good change we hope to see in the world will only come about through the actions of today and tomorrow’s youth” comments director Ian Gabriel.

This is the second Youth Jury Award presented to South African Director Ian Gabriel. His critically-acclaimed feature film, Forgiveness, received a Youth Jury Best Film Award at the Locarno International Film Festival in the year of its release. “It’s a special privilege to be recognised by youth audiences. With Four Corners it was always my intention to make a film that firstly addressed young people, as the film itself is about the choices young people must make. By voting for a film from the Cape Flats at an International festival in a beautiful Italian valley, this Youth Jury has proven that today’s young people want the windows of the world, no matter how distant, opened to them. ”

This week Four Corners will have it’s Quebec premiere in competition at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal. Meanwhile, Four Corners was released this month on DVD and is available in Musica stores nationwide.

May The Ferb Be With You

Phinias and Ferb: Star Wars

An adventure and action-filled television special, “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars,” is set to premiere SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 (09:25am) on Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304).  The story is set a couple summers ago in a galaxy far, far away when Phineas, Ferb and the gang are in a parallel universe — during Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  IconicStarWars characters Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 are featured in this special event programming., which will be immediately followed by an extended first look of the highly-anticipated “Star Wars Rebels.”

Avid Star Wars fans and “Phineas and Ferb” creators/executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh make cameos as themselves in the animated special.

Eric Coleman, Senior Vice President, Original Series, Disney Television Animation, said, “Dan and Swampy have put their unique spin on the iconic events in A New Hope, and have created fun ways for the characters to interact within the Star Wars universe.”

In “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars,” Phineas and Ferb are living just one moisture farm over from Luke Skywalker on the planet of Tatooine when R2-D2 and the Death Star plans inadvertently fall into their speeder. With the fate of the galaxy thrust upon their shoulders, they hire pilot Isabella, Han Solo’s rival, to help them return the plans to the Rebel Alliance. Complicating matters, low-ranking Stormtrooper Candace is intent on busting the Rebels and chases them across the galaxy in hopes of retrieving the Death Star plans.

Meanwhile, intergalactic chaos erupts on the Death Star when Perry the Rebelpus is trapped in carbonite while trying to stop Darthenshmirtzfrom using his new “Sith-inator.”  The saga takes a turn for the worse when Ferb is accidentally caught in the crossfire of the “Sith-inator,” changing him into a full-fledged Sith and leading to an epic first-time battle between the brothers.

The voice cast is: Vincent Martella as Phineas; Ashley Tisdale as Stormtrooper Candace; Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Ferb; Caroline Rhea as mom Linda Flynn-Fletcher; Richard O’Brien as dad Lawrence Fletcher; Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Rebelpus; Alyson Stoner as pilot Isabella; Jeff “Swampy” Marsh as Major Hologram; Dan Povenmire as Darthenshmirtz; Tyler Mann as Carl2-D2; John Viener as Norm-3PO; Maulik Pancholy as Stormtrooper Baljeet; and Bobby Gaylor as Stormtrooper Buford.

 

Featured are: Simon Pegg as C-3PO and Candace’s Commanding Officer, and “MythBusters” hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as members of the Empire.

An extended first look at “Star Wars Rebels” will debut immediately following the special. “Star Wars Rebels” is scheduled to premiere in Spring 2014 as a one-hour special, followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.

 

“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is a production of Disney Television Animation and carries a TV-G parental guideline.

First Look From Sony Pictures Pixels

Sony Pictures Pixels

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that the studio has brought together an extraordinary number of iconic video game companies, whose classic characters – including PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Centipede®, Galaga, Frogger, Q*bert, and Space Invaders – will be featured in the highly-anticipated action comedy Pixels, starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, and Brian Cox, and directed by Chris Columbus. The film will be released on May 15, 2015 in the US and in South Africa.

In Pixels, when intergalactic aliens misinterpret video-feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them, they attack the Earth, using the games as models for their various assaults. President Will Cooper (James) has to call on his childhood best friend, ’80s video game champion Sam Brenner (Sandler), now a home theater installer, to lead a team of old-school arcaders (Dinklage and Gad) to defeat the aliens and save the planet. Monaghan plays the team’s unique weapons specialist. The action-comedy is directed by Chris Columbus from a story by Tim Herlihy and a screenplay by Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, based on the original short film of the same name by Patrick Jean. The film is produced by Adam Sandler, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, and Allen Covert. Executive Producers are Barry Bernardi, Michael Barnathan, Jack Giarraputo, Heather Parry, Tim Herlihy, Steve Koren, Patrick Jean, Benjamin Darras, Johnny Alves, Matias Boucard, Seth Gordon, and Ben Waisbren. The film, a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with LStar Capital, is a Happy Madison / 1492 Films production in association with One More Production.

Companies with classic arcade games that are teaming with Sony Pictures on the film include:

  • Atari® Interactive: (Asteroids®, Breakout®, Centipede® and Missile Command®)
  • Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. (Frogger)
  • BANDAI NAMCO Games Inc. (PAC-MAN, Galaga, and Dig Dug)
  • Nintendo (Donkey Kong)
  • Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (Q*bert)
  • Taito Corporation (Space Invaders)
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Joust, Defender, Robotron and Wizard of Wor)

Commenting on the announcement, the film’s director, Chris Columbus, said, “There would be no way to make the movie without these legendary characters – they are as important to the film as the roles that Adam, Kevin, Michelle, Peter, Josh, and Brian are playing. It was a real thrill to see everything come together exactly as we envisioned it, and we’re grateful to have all of these fantastic companies on board.”

Producer Allen Covert added, “These classic characters are part of the DNA of the project, so it was critical that we work together to bring them on board. Fortunately, they were all extremely receptive. We approached them with a deep love for their characters and a respect for the elements that make them unique and iconic, and we’ve worked with the companies to incorporate those elements into the film.”

At Comic-Con San Diego, from July 24-27, arcaders 13 years of age and older with Comic-Con badges will have the chance to engage with many of these classic original arcade games and try them out again as the studio features a Pixels Electric Dreams Factory arcade at the Hard Rock Hotel, 209 5th Ave., San Diego.

“There’s no better way for the core Comic-Con audience to interact with the movie than to get a hands-on refresher on the games that will be a part of it,” said Dwight Caines, president, Theatrical Marketing for Sony Pictures.

Durban International Film Festival Announces Award Winners For 2014

The Durban International Film Festival announced its award-winners last night at the closing ceremonof the festival’s 35thedition at the Suncoast CineCentre Supernova, prior to the screening of its closing film,Million Dollar Arm. The announcement comes as the festival rounds off a very successful year, with significant increase in attendance with many films screening to sold-out audiences. Festival Manager Peter Machen says of this year’s event: “I was extremely happy with the success of DIFF 2014, and it was very gratifying to witness both the large amount of sold-out screenings and also the huge enthusiasm for the festival, both from local audiences and from the hundreds of guests attending the festival from around the world.”

At the ceremony, the festival unveiled its new statuette, the Golden Giraffe, designed by Durban artist, Caryn Tilbury. Machen said of the new awards: “We are extremely that the festival finally has an iconic award. Venice has the Golden Lion, Berlin has the Golden Bear and now Durban has the Golden Giraffe. Caryn Tilbury’s beautifully idiosyncratic design is perfectly representative of the slick but edgy nature of the festival.”

At the awards ceremony, the festival’s highest accolade ofBest Feature Filmwent to Malian auteur Abderrahmane Sissako’s masterfulTimbuktu, from a selection of competition films that the international jury described as having dealt with “individuals coping with ideological, social and political pressures whilst trying to find their own identity and humanity in a world increasingly under distress.” The Best Feature Film award carries a cash prize of R50 000.

The jury commended Sissako’s film for being “an impressively well-made film that makes us aware, in an extraordinarily human and gentle way, of the fight for dignity and freedom of individuals against oppression and violence. Beautifully crafted and showing mature accomplishment on all levels the film illustrates the absurdity of war and ideological dogmatism and offers humour, gentility and humaneness as a possible solution to the madness that seems to engulf so many regions in the world and on our continent. It embraces cinema as a weapon of love against violence and intolerance.”

The International Jury consisted of: Rémi Bonhomme, who heads Critics Week at Cannes Film Festival; Diarah N’Daw-Spech, the co-founder and co-director of the African Diaspora Film Festival in New York; Andrew Worsdale, writer, director and previous winner of Best South African Feature film at DIFF; and actress and activist Paulina Malefane, known for her role of Carmen in both the stage and film productions ofU-Carmen eKhayelitsha,and co-founder of the Isango Ensemble.

The award for Best South African Feature Film, which carries a prize of R25 000 went to Jenna Bass’ exciting first feature Love the One You Love. The local jury stated that they chose the film “for its stylistic and narrative freshness”, calling it “a playful, quirky and idiosyncratic debut made with curiosity, warmth, heart and sensitivity.” Bass was also honoured with the prize for Best Direction in a South African Feature Film, with the jury describing the young director as “inquisitive, innovative and with a unique voice and luminous cinematic sensibility, who shows us a contemporary universe which is as imaginative as it is true”.

The accolade for Best Documentary went to Mahdi Fleifel’s A World Not Ours. According to the jury, “This intimate, affecting and often humorous debut feature is a portrait of three generations of exile in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon, a Palestinian pocket of hemmed-in buildings and stifled hopes. Fleifel may have set out to tell a small domestic story about the loved ones he has left behind but the result is a powerful tale of the human cost of a political nightmare, the end of which seems very far away.”

Best South African Documentary was awarded to Rehad Desai’s Miners Shot Down. The film was also awarded the Amnesty International (Durban) Human Rights Award, which carries an award of R10 000 sponsored by the Artists for Human Rights Trust. The film was chosen “for its profoundly moving portrayal of the Marikana miners’ massacre. The human rights abuses so vividly portrayed include the right to life, the right to justice, the right to protection by the police, the right to know, the right to peaceful protest and the right to human dignity.” ­

The full list of awards is as follows:
BEST FEATURE FILM: Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako

BEST FIRST FEATURE FILM:Salvation Army by Abdellah Taia

BEST DIRECTION: Noaz Deshe for White Shadow

BEST SCREENPLAY: Love is Strange written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sofian el Fani – Timbuktu

BEST ACTOR: Ibrahim Ahmed – Timbuktu & Tony Kgoroge – Cold Harbour

BEST ACTRESS: Chi Mhende – Love the One You Love

DURBAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARD FOR ARTISTIC BRAVERY: Petter Brunner – My Blind Heart

BEST SA DOCUMENTARY: Miners Shot Down by Rehad Desai

Special Mention: Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me by Khalo Matabane

BEST DIRECTION IN A SOUTH AFRICAN DOCUMENTARY: I, Afrikaner by Annalet Steenkamp

Special Mention: Fatherland by Tarryn Crossman

BEST DOCUMENTARY: A World Not Ours by Mahdi Fleifel

BEST SHORT FILM: Out of Place by Ozan Mermer

BEST SOUTH AFRICAN SHORT FILM: Keys, Money, Phone by Roger Young

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: To be announced on Monday

Cold Harbour: Review

Cold Harbour, set very aptly in The Cape of Storms, and a story of turmoil, when township cop Sizwe begins to witness first hand how deep corruption can go, when he investigates a turf war between local gangs in the city of Cape Town.

Abalone, seen as very potent by those from the East, but in short supply, meaning the street price is incredibly high. Poachers area pain a vast amount of money by overseas gangs, and with this illegal trade, cops need to be bought, communities protect their own, and people will do whatever it takes to stay out of prison.

The film holds true to the reality of this criminal activity, taking the viewer right into the locations where these gangs operate, so sights familiar to viewers of local news, or those involved in the fight against this ongoing blight on the Mother City.

Well researched, and shot on location in Cape Town, there is a sense of excitement as you spot familiar locations. As for the cast, these actors are on the list of those to watch in South Africa, inhibiting their roles in a way that brings a realism to the rollercoaster of ups and downs of the story.

Cold Harbour, while portraying fictional events, is telling the story of an the ongoing issue of poaching, the problem with government and police corruption, and the greed that controls so many, and what more of a thrill ride than to be viewing a film such as this, right n amongst the various settings, in some cases, almost being on-set as you watch, with familiar sights such as the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Harbour, and not forgetting the other side of the tracks in the various suburbs and townships.

Cold Harbour is another in a line of films that are once again stepping up the production quality, and furthering the reach, of South African film. It opens 25 July 2014 in South African cinemas.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Review

After stealing an orb, pilot Peter Quill (or Starlord as he wishes to be called), becomes the object of a massive manhunt. The orb holds an item that can be used for horrendous deeds if it should fall into the wrong hands, and just such hands are after the orb and Peter in the form of the villainous Ronan.

Guardians Of The Galaxy follows Peters story, from humble beginnings on earth, at the point of a huge life-changing event, to his more interesting occupation as he grows up.

The story is adventure driven, sprinkled with humour, enthralling action sequences, and you only realise when watching the very long list of digital effects artists, that perhaps they were not really in space, or not really on another planet. The visuals are stunning, and will transport you away to another world, quite literally.

Guardians Of The Galaxy has enough twists and turns, some suspense, and more than enough of a well directed and written story, that few, if any, will manage to predict more than a few minutes ahead in the story.

The cast are spot on, bringing a sense of joy, adventure, and a touch of humour to the roles. Chris Pratt as Peter dredges up memories of the space operas of the 80s; Zoe Saldana (as Gamora) has an allure to her that will keep you debating whether she is sexy or scary; Bradley Cooper (as the voice of Rocket), the slightly psycho, always funny genetically created creature; Vin Diesel voices the humanoid tree, and as he takes every chance to tell us “I am Groot”. Look for a totally different role for Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan as slinky alien Nebula. This is an ensemble of stars, and makes the movie.

Guardians Of The Galaxy is one of the must see films of 2014. It doesn’t just live up to the hype, but blows it out the water. The film opens worldwide 1 August 2014, so be there.

Stolen (DVD): Review

The Film

In Stolen, a former thief, betrayed by the rest of his crew, has just been released from prison. The authorities are still watching him, and his former crew are watching him. Did he hide the money?

One the his former crew takes his daughter, and is a desperate race to save her. He calls on old friends, thieves, to assist him. The authorities following him won’t help, thinking it’s all part of his plan to sneak in and finish what he started all those years back.

This is a typical Nicholas Cage movie, with the running, chases, impending deadline, and the life of his daughter at stake.

While this is not going to tax anyone’s brain too much, you’re sure to get some thrills as we are dragged along for a ride with one very smart thief.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, so upscaling on an HD screen will not have any visible artefacts. Image quality is good, and the sound mix will make good use of the surrounds.

There are unfortunately no bonus features on the disc.

Stolen is available to purchase in South Africa now.

Winter’s Tale (DVD): Review

The Film

A common thief, running from the local boss he has crossed, happens upon a sickly heiress. She does not have long, but in this chance and brief encounter, he falls in love with her.

Winter’s Tale tell of this love attraction, and how strong and magical it may be, and how we can overcome so much, though love. Yet, this is no ordinary tale, and no ordinary love. It is dusted with magic, and as the ages pass, we see that love still holds strong.

Winter’s Tale is a surprising story, with charm and happiness. There is the world in which the common thieves and crime bosses live, and then there is the magical world, where love and amazement live. Winter’s Tale take place in both these worlds, and is a story for those who enjoy love, and for those who prefer fantasy.

Disc And Bonus Features

The DVD is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning that it can be scaled up to an HD screen with no visible artefacts. Picture quality is good, and the sound will draw you in, making ample use of the surrounds to set the local environment.

There is only one bonus feature on the disc, with a behind the scenes featurette with the cast and crew.

Winter’s Tale is now available for purchase in South Africa.

Pompeii (Blu-Ray): Review

The Film

Pompeii, a story of perseverance, of a slave turned gladiator. He falls in love way above his class, to a girl who is betrothed to a corrupt Roman senator. As paths cross, and their stories become more intricate, as lives and reputation are threatened, Mount Vesuvius erupts. Putting the city of Pompeii and all it inhibitants in grave danger.

The film chronicles the last days of the city of Pompeii, played out against the ageless tale of love.

As the disaster unfolds, you become aware of the magnificent visuals of the city, not realising how much of this is practical, and how much is special effects. A testament to work that was well-done.

Pompeii is a thrill ride, with action, romance and suspense.

Disc And Bonus Features

The Blu-Ray holds a host of features, no to mention the 2D and 3D versions of the film (ensure you have all the right hardware to support 3D viewing).

For deleted scenes, the interested viewer has a long list to choose from, adding to the mystery of the city of Pompeii. Filmmakers commentary, explaining the making of the film, and providing a great insight to those in the acting and filmmaking industry. Commentaries such as this can sometimes take the mystery out of the main feature, but it does boil down to personal choice.

The host of featurettes accompanying the Blu-Ray are phenomenal, and will keep one occupied for ages. These are not just behind the scenes clips, but full, high-quality productions, taking one on to the set, and getting up close and personal with cast and crew.

Pompeii is available now, for purchase, in South Africa.