SAFTA Win For Shepherds And Butchers

Oliver Schmitz, director of the award winning SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS won the coveted Best Achievement in Directing prize at the 11th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) last night.

Produced by Anant Singh and Brian Cox (who also wrote the screenplay), the film stars 2017 SAFTA nominees Garion Dowds and Deon Lotz who received nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectfully, as well as Academy Award® nominee, Steve Coogan (‘Philomena’) and Andrea Riseborough (‘Birdman’). The film also features well-known South African talent including Robert Hobbs, Eduan van Jaarsveldt, Marcel van Heerden and Sylvia Mdunyelwa.

In a statement on winning the award, Schmitz who is currently in Germany said:

“I thank you for this honour and apologise profusely that I cannot be with you, I am shooting at the moment and that made it impossible for me to come. I salute my fellow nominees and the new generation of directors in South Africa who mare making big strides despite the difficulties and uncertainties that mark our profession.

SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS was a hard film to make as a director because it deals directly with white violence in apartheid and a challenging one to watch, especially by all who suffered at the hands of it, maybe more so even now because South Africa is still trying to heal the wounds of its damaged past. But if we always made films that are popular we would censor our desire to tackle difficult things. I believe that in order to strive for a better society it is important to also look at the worse one behind us, to see how much we have achieved, to see how far we have come and not to repeat the same mistakes of the past. I am proud of SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS and all the creativity that went into its making.

I thank Anant for his tenacity, courage and perseverance, my wonderful cast and team for their talent and dedication and Brian for always being there to think, rethink and his laconic sense of humour. I thank you all and I am humbled by this award, thank you very much.”

Producer, Anant Singh said, “Whilst the film deals with the controversial issue of capital punishment, Oliver crafted an amazing film with sensitivity and care. We congratulate Oliver on this wonderful achievement. We also congratulate the production team, including those who received SAFTA nominations for their contributions to the film.”

dvd / blu-ray Review

Trolls (DVD) : Review


Branch (Justin Timberlake), the village naysayer. He is a prepper, getting ready for the day that the Bergens will once again invade Troll Village. Soon the worst comes to pass, and the villages happiest Troll, Poppy (Anna Kendrick – The Accountant, Into The Woods), convinces Branch to help her rescue their friends. The pair set off on a daunting adventure, interspersed with musical numbers from the singing Trolls.

The film has several messages, about acceptance, and how to treat others, not to mention how to love one’s self. The musical numbers are fun, performed by an extremely talented voice cast.

With many cute, and many more funny scenes, this is a feel good film. A plot that is not overly complicated, the broad appeal is a big plus.

Trolls is a fun, exciting film, with an abundance of happiness. The amount of work and detail that have gone into each character is absolutely amazing. This is certainly a film for the family to enjoy. Sadly, with just one caveat, and that is the occasional blaspheming. While many would not be bothered by this, it is out of place in a film that would be viewed by so many younger viewers.

Overall, Trolls is a fun film, with a good dose of toe tapping to boot.


Overall, Trolls is a disc with great value. A fun main feature, lots of bonus content, and a technically sound disc.

Trolls is available now, to purchase on disc, in South


Video is encoded at a high average bitrate. There are no visible artefacts on-screen. Colours are vibrant, with not bleed. Darker scenes do preserve detail.

Viewers with the necessary hardware or software can scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.


Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, is encoded at a high average bitrate. Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker. The front left and right carry the weight of music heaving soundtrack, with great use of the surrounds to expand on the on-screen world, and further draw the viewer into the story.


Navigation begins immediately, with some foot-tapping background music, and a pre-menu video. The main menu has a static background image, still accompanied by the music.

The setup sub-menu allows one to choose from various audio languages, and subtitles, from a lengthy text menu.

The scenes sub-menu has four large, colour still thumbnails. While these are numbered, they do not contain chapter titles. Navigating to a specific spot in the film might require some guesswork. At least until the younger viewers have memorised the film.

The extras menu presents a list of text links to the various bonus features on the disc, spanning two menu pages.

Bonus Features

Play Movie With Sing Along – On-screen lyrics, that highlight as each song in the film progresses. Other than this addition, the main feature plays as normal, keeping its surround soundtrack. The words do not get in the way of the film either. A fun addition for the younger viewers (or a silly party, with adults).

Travel Through Troll Village – With tour guide, Cloud Guy. He gives some insight into the village, its inhabitants. The video is short, but does show a bit more of the characters. This is sure to appeal more to younger viewers, but seems to lack much re-watch value.

The Potion For Stop-motion – A short feature on how the stop motion sequence was created. An interesting insight, and sure to thrill filmmakers interested in stop motion.

Creating Troll Magic – Some words from Kendal Cronkite-Shaindlin (production designer), talking about the look of the film, with colour and texture. Some input from the directors and other crew. Another interesting insight for any budding filmmaker.

“Get Back Up Again” Music Video – Performed by the talented Anna Kendrick, and produced by Justin Timberlake. Watch the foot-tapping song, from the film.

“Hair Up” Music Video – Performed by Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and Ron Funches. The thumping song from the film.

Deleted Scenes – A collection of deleted scenes, incorporated into one feature, and introduced by director Mike Mitchell and co-directors Walt Dohrn, sharing a few things that did not make the final cut of the film, and explaining why those scenes needed to be cut. Each scene is also introduced with a title card, allowing some context to where it fits in the film.

Theatrical Trailer – The theatrical trailer to the film, with 5.1 soundtrack.

The World Of Dreamworks Animation – A selection of seven music videos, from various Dreamworks films, including I’m A Believer (Shrek), I Like To Move It (Madagascar), Fly High (How To Train Your Dragon), Kung Fu Fighting (Kung Fu Panda), Shine Your Way (The Croods), The Snail Is Fast (Turbo), and Feel The Light (Home)


Exciting Week For The Voice SA Fans

Which coach assembled the best team on The Voice South Africa?
Season 2’s Blind Auditions end on a spectacular note

It has been an exciting week for The Voice SA fans. On Thursday night (16 March) M-Net’s popular singing competition clinched the SAFTA for Best International Format. Then, during the last episode of Season 2’s Blind Auditions (Sunday, 23 March), coaches Bobby van Jaarsveld, Karen Zoid, Lira and Kahn Morbee filled the remaining spots on their teams with more spectacular singers.

“Going into the next rounds, the most pertinent question is: which coach assembled the best team? ” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard. “There is so much more at stake for the coaches this season. By M-Net changing the format and giving the public all the say during the live shows, the coaches run the risk of not having a team member in the final. They simply have to make the right decisions throughout the competition. First, during The Battles and thereafter during our new competition phase The Knockouts”.

In the Battle rounds, which will kick off on Sunday 2 April, as The Voice SA is taking a short break on Sunday 26 March due to M-Net’s live broadcast of the Miss South Africa pageant, the four coaches will pair off their team members for grueling duets, after which they can only take one person to The Knockouts.

At the start of the last of the seven Blind Audition episodes tonight, there were three spaces left in #TeamKaren, while Lira and Kahn could give two more singers the opportunity of a lifetime. A stressed Bobby only had one more spot.

Soulful songstress Lira added two very different voices to her talented group of singers this evening: 27-year-old dance teacher Michelle Benham from Johannesburg and Sheldon De St Pern (41) from Durban.

Michelle’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” not only earned her a full house of chair turns from the coaches, but also had the four mentors out of their red chairs and dancing along to her song! Despite having coach Karen Zoid telling Michelle that she could take her to the Top 10, and heart throb Bobby even joining her on stage to for a slow dance in an attempt to woo her onto his team, Michelle chose herself a spot with #TeamLira. Sheldon, undoubtedly one of the tallest talent on the show to date, performed Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open”. It was good enough to get both Lira and Karen to turn for him, and despite admitting that he was a huge Karen Zoid fan, Sheldon made the surprising decision to pick Lira as his coach, bringing her to tears.

Alongside Michelle and Sheldon, the rest of #TeamLira is made up of: Al Petersen (28) from Cape Town, Amanda Faku (23) from Port Elizabeth, Andrew Snyders (37) from Cape Town, Aston Wylie (24) from Gonubie, Bryce MacMillan (28) from Johannesburg, Bubbles Mnomiya (23) from Richard’s Bay, Jacqueline Tolken (31) from Kempton Park, Luke Lovemore (23) from Cape Town, Spha Mdlalose (28) from Cape Town and Tender Mavundla (34) from Port Shepstone.

PJ Pretorius (26) from Secunda was the first talent of the evening to be added to #TeamKaren. A full time worship leader from Secunda, PJ sang Coldplay’s “Yellow” and received three chair turns from the coaches but ultimately chose the Afrikaans rocker to be his mentor. Karen also landed 30-year-old Samantha Landers from Durban, who wowed with her stunning rendition of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Sam, who clearly doesn’t shy away from a challenge, started her song completely a cappella without the support of The Voice SA band. The risk paid off for her, as Karen pressed her buzzer on the second note of the song! The smooth-toned voice belonging to Chico Muya (24) from Durban completed Karen’s team. Chico’s friends – and The Voice SA Season 1 alumni Chloe Clark and Gavin Welsh – encouraged Chico to enter, and they were on point. His version of Oasis’s “Wonderwall” was exactly what Karen wanted to round off her team tally.

PJ, Samantha Landers and Chico joined the following talent in #TeamKaren: Armand Joubert (21) from eMalahleni, Celest Schoeman (28) from Strandfontein, Christie Woolmington (20) from Johannesburg, Emma Ellis (21) from Port Elizabeth, Lindo Sithole (22) from Pietermaritzburg, Marissa Petzer (22) from Stilfontein, Samantha Leonard (24) from Kimberly, Veronique Lalouette (35) from Johannesburg and brother-and-sister duo The Massers, made up of Lillian Masser (33) and John Masser (30).

Season 1’s winning coach Kahn Morbee, known for choosing eclectic and left-of-centre talent, completed his team with two more unique voices: full time musician Lee Taylor (31) and Dylan Pretorius (32), both from Pretoria. Lee performed Jessie J’s “Domino” and reminded Kahn of Bonnie Tyler, while Dylan’s growling-voiced cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” crept right into Kahn’s heart and landed him the final position in his stable. Lee and Dylan now find themselves in the company of Christy-Lyn Marais (28) from Cape Town, Craig Lucas (24) from Cape Town, Fatman Brummer (40) from Bela-Bela, Freddie Lalendle (23) from Durban, Kirby Jo (23) from Cape Town, Mia Pretorius (20) from Potgietersrus, Monique Hellenberg (33) from Cape Town, Sonia Morsner (24) from Vereeniging, Zee Gqamana (23) from Port Elizabeth and the duo Symphony, made up of Charl Esterhuizen (20) and Christopher Mabasa (27) from eMalahleni.

Bobby, who knew he had to pick an amazing vocalist as his last representative, followed his instincts and turned for Dawie de Jager (33) from Pretoria. Dawie started out his singing career as a member of successful Afrikaans band Klopjag and now he splits his time between composing musical scores for feature films, and cultivating orchids! Dawie’s rendition of the U2 anthem “One” had both Karen and Bobby delighted to see him, as they instantly recognised him from his “Klopjag” days, but it was Bobby – who admitted to stealing money from his mother as a youngster in order to buy a “Klopjag” album – that landed Dawie on his team. Dawie’s new #TeamBobby family comprises Alex Cavan (23) from Port Elizabeth, Anchen Groenewald (19) from Rustenburg, Caroline-Grace Brussow (31) from Bloemfontein, Chad Jubber (18) from Durban, Jean Citto (23) from Cape Town, Jeanne-Mari Engelbrecht (29) from Strand, John James Janse van Rensburg (18) from Carltonville, Josh Ansley (31) from Johannesburg, Marco Basson (23) from Van der Bijl Park, Meggan Moore (25) from Langebaan and Rick Jansen (18) from Centurion.

Each coach now has 12 talent in their team as the series moves into the Battle rounds of the competition.

The Voice South Africa, sponsored by Dial Direct, is broadcast every Sunday night on M-Net channel 101 at 17:30 and every Monday night at 18:00 on M-Net City channel 115.

Viewers can also visit to watch exclusive interviews with the coaches and talent, and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @VoiceSA / #TheVoiceSA or on the official “Voice SA” Facebook page. You can also download The Voice SA app today for exclusive show-related games and special features


Ster-Kinekor And SAFTAs Announce Winner Of Young Achiever Award

The who’s who of the South African film and television industry put on their finest as they walked the red carpet with their peers. This, in preparation for the announcement of all the winners at the 11th Annual SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards) ceremony at Sun City this evening (18 March).

Thapelo Mokoena and Ster-Kinekor CEO Wanda Matandela

Among the list of recipients of a much-treasured SAFTA statuette was a young and talented actor, who is destined for bigger and brighter things on both the big and small screen. The Young Achiever Award, sponsored this year by Ster-Kinekor Theatres, was handed over to a delighted Thapelo Mokoena by Wanda Matandela, CEO of the country’s leading cinema exhibitor. The sponsorship is a further display of Ster-Kinekor’s continued support of the local film industry, and the development of the exciting young talent therein.

“Thapelo Mokoena is a most worthy recipient of this inaugural Youth Achiever Award, and our sponsorship of this award is a very exciting development for Ster-Kinekor. The SAFTAs provides an excellent avenue for us to demonstrate our commitment to the flourishing South African film industry.

“But, more importantly, we are delighted to be sponsoring a new and innovative category that recognises and rewards the exciting young talent in our country who are destined to become the industry’s rising stars of tomorrow,” says Wanda Matandela, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

“Focusing on growing the youth market is a key sector within our marketing strategy. This sponsorship opportunity further strengthens that strategy. It also gives us access to some of the exciting and developing talent within the sector, who are destined for future success.”

Thapelo Mokoena is a South African actor and television presenter best known for presenting the first season of the South African version of the reality competition, “Fear Factor” in 2005. He also played the role of Cedric Fatani in “Wild at Heart” from 2007 to 2012 and, in August 2016, he joined the star-studded cast of “High Rollers” on SABC3.

He made his big screen appearance as Elias Motsoaledi in the much celebrated 2013 film that celebrated Madiba’s life, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Mokoena is now the owner of his own production company, Thapelo Mokoena Productions.

“We are looking forward to working with Thapelo, and exploring some interesting opportunities and collaborations with this creative talent going forward,” commented Matandela.

“It is important that all sectors within the industry work together to ensure our continued commitment to the growth and success of South Africa’s growing film industry. As such, our partnership with the NFVF to sponsor the SAFTAs category that focuses on youth achievement is our commitment to ensuring a healthy pipeline of talent and content into the future.”

The special Youth Achiever Award category is presented to a newcomer or young individual in the industry who has demonstrated excellence in their craft. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), custodians of the SAFTAs, called for nominations for this category, one of three discretionary awards to be presented at the awards event this evening.

The panel of judges, comprising members of the SAFTAs committee, CCIFSA, SASFED, SABC, M-Net, eTV and StarSat), evaluated the nominees’ submissions of work, their impact on the future of, and their development, the industry as a whole. The choice of Mokoena as the worthy recipient of this award was a unanimous agreement by the panel.


M-Net’s Local Content Strategy Wins Big At SAFTA

M-Net’s local content investment strategy paid off when its channels collectively won 36 Golden Horns, scooping some of the biggest awards – Most Popular Soap, Best Soap, Best Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Achievement in Scriptwriting, and Best Achievement in Directing-Feature Film – at the 11th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) held at the Sun City Super Bowl on 18 March.

Isibaya, Mzansi Magic’s flagship soap, won Most Popular Soap and The Road was awarded Best TV Soap. kykNET won Best Feature Film for Sink, Best Documentary Feature for Nobody’s Died Laughing, and Best Achievement in Scriptwriting for Die Boekklub. M-Net 101 won Best Achievement in Directing-Feature Film for its original film, Shepherds and Butchers.

Thembisa Mdoda, presenter of Mzansi Magic’s popular reality show, Our Perfect Wedding won Best TV Presenter and Greed and Desire’s Linda Sebezo in the category Best Supporting Actress- TV Soap/Telenovela.

kykNET (DStv channel 144) won a total of 26 awards including Best Supporting Actress-TV Drama for Die Boekklub won by Jana Cilliers, taking Best Actor- TV Comedy was James Borthwick as well as the 19 Golden Horns from the technical awards evening.

M-Net’s (DStv channel 101) original film, Shepherds and Butchers directed by Oliver Schmitz won the Best Achievement in Directing in the Feature Film category. A South African story set in the 1980’s focuses on the skewed judicial system of the time. A second win for M-Net was for its ultimate talent contest The Voice South Africa, which won its very first Golden Horn for Best International Format Show.

Voted for by adoring fans, Isibaya (on DStv channel 161), is a proudly South African story that has captured the hearts of Mzansi. It depicts the battle for wealth and power between rival taxi families, a reality that many South Africans can relate with. Isibaya also won for its brilliant production value in the category Best Achievement in Post Production-Original Music/Score-TV Soap/Telenovela.

Sink, a kykNET original production, is based on the journey of a mother, who needs to make devastating choices. Nobody’s Died Laughing, is a biographic feature documentary, an exploration of the life and times of satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys.

M-Net CEO Yolisa Phahle stated that, ‘From audience approvals to awards, our local content focus is about creating memorable and empowering television, which has allowed our M-Net magic to spread across the continent’. Phahle continued to say that, ‘Our successes are based on the winning partnerships with powerhouse production companies, actors and our employees, who share the M-Net vision of creating local stories that are transformational and entertaining.’ Phahle congratulated all nominees and winners honoured on the evening.

The 11th Annual South African Film and Television (SAFTAs) winners announced – Night 1

1 Best Achievement in Sound Design – Documentary Feature Nobody’s Died Laughing Barry Donnelly
2 Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary Feature Nobody’s Died Laughing Geoffrey Butler
3 Best International Format Show The Voice South Africa African Media and Production Network
4 Best Achievement in Scriptwriting -TV Drama Die Boekklub Louis Pretourius
5 Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Drama Bloedbroers Adam Bentel
6 Best Achievement in Editing – TV Drama Bloedbroers Ula Oelsen
7 Best Achievement in Editing – TV Drama Bloedbroers Johan Cronje
8 Best Achievement in Original Music/ Score-TV Drama Bloedbroers Janine Neethling
9 Best Achievement in Art / Production Design – TV Drama Bloedbroers Bathoni Robinson
10 Best Achievement in Wardrobe, Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama Bloedbroers Julia Rubinstein
11 Best Achievement in Wardrobe, Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama Bloedbroers Sulet Meintjes
12 Best Achievement in Post Production – Editing – TV Soap/Telenovela The Road Kirsten de Magalhaes, Andrew Traill, Julian Thomas, Nqobizwe Ndlangamandla, Sharron Hawkes
13 Best Achievement in Art Direction/ Production Design – TV Soap/Telenovela The Road Dylan Lloyd & Johann Krynauw
14 Best Achievement in Wardrobe, Make-up and Hair – TV Soap/Telenovela The Road Trudi Barklem & Julene Paton
15 Best Achievement in Post Production – Original Music/Score-TV Soap/Telenova Isibaya Philip Miller
16 Best Achievement in Scriptwriting -TV Comedy Hotel Bennie Fourie & Stiaan Smith
17 Best Achievement in Scriptwriting -Feature Film Sink Brett Michael Innes
18 Best Achievement in Editing – Feature Film Sink Nicholas Costaras & Brett Michael Innes
19 Best Achievement in Cinematography – Feature Film Modder en Bloed Adam Bentel
20 Best Achievement in Art Production Design – Feature Film Noem My Skollie Warren Gray
21 Best Achievement in Original Music/ Score – Feature Film Sink Chris Letcher
22 Best Achievement in Sound Design – Feature Film Modder en Bloed Jim Petrak
23 Best Achievement in Costume Design – Feature Film Noem My Skollie Emma Moss
24 Best Achievement in Make-up and Hairstyling – Feature Film Noem My Skollie Gale Shepherd

The 11th Annual South African Film and Television (SAFTAs) winners announced – Night 2

1 Best Documentary Feature Nobody’s Died Laughing Who Projects
2 Best TV Soap/Telenovela The Road  The Bomb Shelter Film Company
3 Best Feature Film Sink Nostalgia Productions, Brittle Star Pictures and  Scramble Productions
4 Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film Shepherds and Butchers Oliver Schmitz
5 Best TV Presenter Thembisa Mdoda Public Vote
6 Most Popular TV Soap Isibaya Public Vote
7 Best Supporting Actress – TV Drama Jana Cilliers Die Boekklub
8 Best Supporting Actress- TV Soap/Telenovela Linda Sebezo Greed and Desire
9 Best Actor -TV Comedy James Borthwick Hotel
10 Best Actor – Feature Film Dann Jaques Mouton Noem My Skollie
11 Best Actress – Feature Film Shoki Mokgapa Sink
12 Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film Abdurahgmaan Adams Noem My Skollie