Everyday various sectors across our continent are adjusting and finding ways to deal with challenges brought about by the current coronavirus pandemic. Given MultiChoice Group’s position in Africa’s video entertainment sector, the group is acutely aware of the challenges their partners in the industry are facing. At this time MultiChoice will be standing by them.
Across the continent business and industry is experiencing disruptions and delays. In South Africa, production has come to a complete halt as the industry adheres to the national lockdown. For many years MultiChoice has been a leader in the sector and are a leading investor in local content production. The group has deep rooted partnerships and long-standing commitments that have grown the industry for the benefit of many, both in front and behind the camera.
It is for this reason that MultiChoice has decided to implement several measures, aimed at safe guarding the incomes of cast, crew, and creatives as well as the sustainability of production houses. With these measures the group can hopefully steer the industry through this tumultuous time.
MultiChoice has set aside R80 million to ensure that current productions are able to pay full salaries of cast, crew, and creatives for the months of March and April, by when hopefully we will have the worst of the disruptions behind us. The need to secure salaries of our creatives goes a long way in creating income stability for them and their families. We believe this to be critical for the industry and in our view simply the right thing to do.
Through the MultiChoice Talent Factory we will be launching an online learning portal that will support over 40 000 members of the industry to gain access to courses and online master classes, so they can continue to hone their craft whilst adhering to the public health measures of social distancing and isolation.
Furthermore, we have committed to guarantee the incomes of freelancers in our SuperSport Productions, who are currently unable to work due to the suspension of sport and the national lockdown. This extends to guaranteeing the income of freelancers in our broadcast technology environment.
MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela: “Our main concern is to ensure as much as possible that we secure the incomes of creatives, cast and crew over this period. We want to ensure that they and their families are not negatively impacted as work has come to a standstill.”
As an industry made up of thousands of freelance actors, producers, directors and camera operators, Africa’s video entertainment industry is particularly vulnerable at this time. These people play a critical role in keeping viewers and communities informed, entertained and connected. All the whilst contributing significantly to the economy.
Jennifer Hudson portrays Aretha Franklin in RESPECT, releasing later this year, which celebrates the life and music of the legendary Queen of Soul. The movie will feature Aretha Franklin’s most iconic hits such as “Respect,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Think,” “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” and “I Never Loved a Man” as well as re-enactments of her most famous performances throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
To connect people during this difficult time and offer much needed entertainment, Jennifer Hudson will be performing a live Instagram concert this Wednesday, 25 March at 1pm PST (10pm South African time) in partnership with Global Citizen organization. The Instagram Live concert will be hosted on her own social handle @iamjhud. Although the concert will not be exclusively Aretha Franklin’s music, it will be a salute to Aretha.
Hudson, who was personally hand-picked by Franklin to play her in the film, is joined by a stellar cast of stars including Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Forest Whitaker; Marlon Wayans; Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winner Audra McDonald; Multiple Grammy winning, and Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee Mary J. Blige; Marc Maron; Emmy-nominee Tituss Burgess; Tony-nominee Saycon Sengbloh; Tony-nominee Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, and Skye Dakota Turner.
The first authorized feature film based on Franklin’s life, RESPECT is directed by Tony-nominee Liesl Tommy (Broadway’s Eclipsed) and is written by Emmy-nominee Tracey Scott Wilson (The Americans, Fosse / Verdon).
Franklin’s reinvention of Otis Redding’s Respect as a feminist anthem transformed her into an icon of the civil rights and women’s movements. Her cultural impact was felt throughout her career, from her singing at Dr. Martin Luther King’s memorial service to performing at three presidential inaugurations.
The film began shooting in November 2019 and will be released late in 2020.
Director Jenna Bass’s feminist subversion of the western genre interrogates contemporary identities and dark secrets as it moves towards a climactic ending.
‘Flatland’, the new film by Jenna Bass, opens in cinemas on 10 April. The unique, contemporary drama is a tale about self-discovery for three different but equally trapped women – a pregnant teenager, a young bride, and a middle-aged cop – played out against the backdrop of the Karoo.
With its darkly comic Western flavour, ‘Flatlands’ take the viewer on a journey through the surreal Badlands of the Great Karoo, wide open skies and vast plains, the land so flat, “you can see your future rolling in.” It’s a land that has been fought over, vilified and torched for centuries.
The film opens with a wedding ceremony in a church between skittish, virginal bride Natalie Jonkers (Nicole Fortuin) and her policeman groom, Bakkies Bezuindenhout (De Klerk Oelofse) in the boondocks of Beaufort West.
What follows is an odyssey. Grieving her dead mother, Natalie flees her new husband, seeking the comfort from her horse, and armed with her husband’s firearm for self-defence. She ends up on the run, Thelma and Louise style, with heavily pregnant childhood friend Poppie Van Niekerk (Izel Bezuidenhout).
After a night of binge drinking, they plan to flee to Johannesburg, the city filled with gold and opportunity. Questioning issues of race, class and gender, ‘Flatland’ is a portrait of femininity set against the backdrop of a hostile frontier land, that interrogates what it means to be a woman today – in South Africa and the world at large.
Bass introduces the audience to marginal communities on the fringes of the social group, which further add to the dislocation and fragmented sense of identity throughout the film. In the traditional Hollywood Western, male cowboys on the frontier forge ahead into the wild west. Bass’s vision offers us the ‘post-western, the conquered, colonised land reverting back to lawlessness’, and in the place of cowboys, she offers a menagerie of cowgirls, convicts who moan that they don’t belong and a young police officer who hides behind his retired father in a shoot-out.
‘Flatland’ is the third feature from writer-director Bass — who also co-wrote the Kenyan Cannes headline-grabber ‘Rafiki’. “I have long wanted to make a western set in the Karoo,” says Bass. “I love the drama, action and locations of the traditional western. The unwritten rule of westerns is, however, that they are for men and by men. ‘Flatland’ is the opposite – it’s a feminist post-western in which the women reject the conformities of a heteronormative life.
“Each woman is raw and authentic in her own way,” Bass says. “In making the film, we deferred to each of the actresses and encouraged them to ‘own’ their characters. The story interrogates life in communities that exist on the margins, where there is a sense of the land returning to lawlessness, which is what made Beaufort West an ideal setting. It became its own character. The film looks at complex questions and injustices, offering no solid conclusions or happily ever-afters.”
Combined with composer Bao-Tran Tran’s pulsating electronic beats, the film’s composition supports the feminist subversion of the western genre and floats the spectator towards a climactic ending. Shot by international cinematographer Sarah Cunningham, ‘Flatland’ takes the audience into South Africa’s dry interior region, emphasising dusty roads, distant mountains and endless sky.
‘Flatland’ had its North American premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema selection of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It also opened the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. ‘Flatland’ was produced by South Africa’s Proper Film, with Luxembourg’s Deal Productions and Germany’s In Good Company, in co-production with Germany’s unafilm and ZDF/Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, and in cooperation with Arte. It was made in association with the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa as well as the Hubert Bals Fund, the Berlinale World Cinema Fund and EAVE. It is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.
IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) announced in February that Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) will narrate the latest IMAX® educational film, Asteroid Hunters, a fascinating look at asteroids, their cosmic origins and the potential threat they pose to our world. The film will be released in select IMAX® and IMAX® 3D theatres starting April 17, 2020.
Written and produced by Phil Groves, produced by Jini Durr and directed by W.D. Hogan, Asteroid Hunters introduces asteroid scientists – the best line of defense between Earth and an asteroid’s destructive path – and reveals the cutting-edge tools and techniques they use to detect and track asteroids, and the technology that may one day protect our planet. The effects of an asteroid impact could be catastrophic and while the current probability of an event in our lifetime is low, the potential consequences make the study of asteroids an incredibly important area of scientific research. Witness the latest in planetary defense and how science, ingenuity and determination combine to explore the world’s most preventable natural disaster.
“I am so very excited to work with IMAX to continue transporting audiences into space,” said Daisy Ridley. “Asteroid Hunters showcases the brilliant minds of scientists and true planetary defenders working to protect our world and reminding us what our people are capable of when united by a common goal.”
Megan Colligan, President of IMAX Entertainment and Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp., added, “We’re thrilled to have the very talented Daisy Ridley join the IMAX family as the voice of Asteroid Hunters. The IMAX experience is unmatched when it comes to space exploration and we’re delighted to deliver another top-quality presentation to educate our audiences about the fascinating science behind asteroid detection and prevention.”
“Asteroid Hunters has been a real passion project for me and I am so happy to be working with IMAX to bring this very important topic to the forefront,” said producer/writer Phil Groves. “IMAX offers an immersive experience like no other and to have someone of Daisy Ridley’s caliber to help share our message is truly special.”
Asteroid Hunters was filmed using IMAX® cameras and mixed in immersive IMAX 12.0 channel sound. Utilizing awe-inspiring images and heart-pounding audio for a fully immersive experience, IMAX’s Asteroid Hunters will engage audiences with the exploration of our solar system and educate how science, knowledge, and communication can be powerful enough to save the planet.
Daisy Ridley is an English actress best known for her breakthrough role as Rey in the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She reprised her role as Rey in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi in 2017 and was most recently seen in the final film in the trilogy, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, directed by JJ Abrams. The film marked the final chapter in The Skywalker Saga and was released on December 20, 2019. Her other film credits include Ophelia, Peter Rabbit, Murder on the Orient Express, Only Yesterday and the upcoming Chaos Walking. She also served as an executive producer on the documentary The Eagle Huntress and will be an executive producer on the television adaptation of the Maggie Hope book series.
Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Daveed Diggs, “Soul” is directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short “Lou”). Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar®-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds.
RICHARD JEWELL is based on the true events of the heroic security guard who discovered a suspicious backpack in Centennial Park, initially hailed a hero, only to find his life turned upside down when a false news report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution implicated him as a suspect – kicking off a media firestorm that, day by day, slowly destroyed one man’s character in the eyes of a nation. Jewell was considered the main suspect in a startling case of “trial by media” that was so virulent in its incrimination of him that, through the lens of history, much of the general public doesn’t recall that he was ultimately exonerated after 88 days.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, the suspense drama “Richard Jewell” centres around the events that forever made his name synonymous with that terrible act.
A moffie, a person who is weak, effeminate, gay. A way of life deemed evil, illegal, persons shunned as outcasts, usually facing aggression and anger.
Set in 1981 South Africa, we join sixteen year old Nicholas van der Swart (Kai Luke Brümmer) in the eve of his national service conscription. A time that every white male youth in the Republic had to endure, doing their duty against the terrorist and communist threat.
Based on the book by André-Carl van der Merwe, Moffie tells a tale known to many, but this telling does not come down on either side, neither pushing for or against the cause of the designated moffies. The film treats the issue of national service much the same, being neither for nor against, just telling the fact that many young men went off to ‘The Border’ and came back changed, or not at all.
The story feels more like we’re following a series of events, ticking a series of checkboxes, rather than being taken on an emotional journey. While one can not fault those said checkboxes, as they cover aspects of almost every story told by those who where there, on the border, fighting for their country, the story of Nicholas is lacking that certain something, to draw one in, make one care for the character, understand the time.
From a war perspective, we are treated to very little action. A mere suggestion of the violence experienced on patrol is given, but feels merely as a stop along the way to ticking yet one more checkbox. Not forgetting the homosexual aspect of the film, this makes more appearances than the violence of war. But troops were all treated like nothings when they first start their basic training, and most time the film depicts this equal opportunity bad treatment, rather than the much worse treatment someone of the day would have thrust upon them.
Moffie tells the story of a group ostracised back in a time when many expected conformity, but while telling the story, it is merely taking one from event to event, reminding those who were actually there, of lines from stories or anecdotes they might tell. Had it delved deeper, got the audience invested in taking a side, it would have made for a much more powerful tale. Sadly, it comes down squarely in the middle of each topic, and its own potential to be great rather than average.
Moffie opens 13 March 2020 in South African cinemas.
Interview With Oliver Hermanus
What inspired you to adapt André-Carl van der Merwe’s iconic memoir?
When I first read the book I was quite taken by the texture and detail it told of this part of our history. I did not know about the treatment of gay conscripts, about psychiatric Ward 22 or the damage that the system did to so many men and I felt very strongly that there was a power to Moffie that needed to be told on a cinema screen.
What was it about the story that resonated with you?
At the centre of this film there is a word: Moffie. Any gay man living in South Africa knows this word and has a relationship with it. It’s a weapon that has been used against us for so long. I felt a strong pull to explore my own history with this word – which ended up being a scene in the film. I think it was the want to denuclearise, to reform this word that was at the heart of my decision to make this film.
Issues of identity are and sexuality are more pertinent today than they were in 1981, when the story takes place, do you agree?
Absolutely. We are living in a global culture where we still see the persecution of the LGBT community all over the world. At the same time, never before has the voice of this global community been more heard. A film like Moffie is there to remind us of what has come before, what we have endured and suffered through and why it is important to never stop being vocal and proud.
For some, Moffie has a derogatory meaning, to others it’s a term of endearment. How do you see it?
I see it as a weapon. I avoid using the word. It still has stigma for me and making this film allowed me to talk to other gay men about their relationship with this word. For most, I think, it still carries pain. I am all for the act of appropriating it for good but like the book, I hope that having it as the title of the film will go some way to eroding the word’s toxicity.
With Skoonheid you delved in the psyche of a young man who becomes the object of desire of an older man, with Moffie you explore the sexuality of a gay man imprisoned by society and the laws of the apartheid government. What are your views on this?
Skoonheid was about repression and self-loathing where I would say that Moffie is about what comes before shame and indoctrination. The two films will of course go hand in hand, one might even say that Moffie plays as a prequel but I think their messages are very different and as much as Moffie is about a gay man’s journey through the SADF (South African Defense Force), it is also the journey of an entire generation of white men, gay and straight. The film rests its attention on them all.
Was it a difficult process from idea to screen? What were the challenges?
This has been a four-year journey! I would say that the major obstacle was the casting process. Because the film’s characters are all 18 or so, it’s a tough age group to cast. We spent more than a year finding our core cast and were quite blown away by the unseen talent in South Africa.’
Tell me about the cast and how you approached them to bring the characters to life?
The cast are made up of high school students, trained actors, untrained actors and even non-actors. They spent a good amount of time with a military advisor who put them through an SADF boot camp. They learnt how to shoot R1 rifles and of course they we were taught how to drill. I then spent a few weeks rehearsing with them in Cape Town and beyond that tried to fill their heads with as much history about the time as I could.
What do you hope audiences will get from watching Moffie?
I hope audiences will get an visceral experience. The film is heartfelt and emotive. No doubt, for some, it will conjure up memories of their own time in the military but most of all I think the film is a bit of tearjerker, so perhaps some tears?”
Tell me about some of the issues regarding being a Moffie that you deal with in the film?
The film’s primary focus is masculinity. It explores the way that white South African men have been made for over a century. How the apartheid system, the army and the conservative nature of this country fed young boys an ideology of superiority and hate.
Being a moffie in this context meant being a crime, being a problem, a mistake. How did you approach these issues as a filmmaker?
With a lot of research, ha-ha! For me, personally, it was sticking to the core idea that this was a system of hate and separation, and the intention of the conscription was to reinforce and protect that system. I want to show that process through the film, letting an audience witness and experience the indoctrination.
Why do you think it was so difficult for young conscripted men to deal with their gayness during this period in South African history?
Because of the simple fact that it was deemed criminal and it was dangerous. The society at that time was determined to keep gay men and women in the closet.
Do you think it has changed much, even with the new rainbow nation constitutional support?
In the army, I am not too sure. But in the general public, the has been a change. I guess the simple fact that I can make a film like this is testament to that.
Being gay has always been an issue when it comes to the military internationally. Why do you think this milieu makes it so confrontational?
I think it is the nature of the army – it is an inherently masculine, heterosexual space and is, to a large degree, inhabited by men. I think that with the context comes an expectation and an assumption that all men in the military should want to be heteronormative. Of course, we have now seen how that is changing.
Oliver Hermanus was born in Cape Town, South Africa, on 26 May, 1983, completed his Master of Arts degree at the London Film School and has won numerous awards for his work all over the world.
Check out the exciting, fun-filled new trailer for Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE that debuted today along with a brand-new poster. Feel free to share both with your readers!
Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE releases in cinemas from July 24, 2020.
Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.
Jaume Collet-Serra directs the film, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. John Davis, John Fox, Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia and Beau Flynn are the producers, with Scott Sheldon and Doug Merrifield serving as executive producers. The story is by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa and Michael Green, and the screenplay is by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.
An action-packed new trailer for Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” is now available featuring Scarlett Johansson, who reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow in the upcoming spy thriller, which opens in cinemas nationwide from Thursday 30 April.
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige, “Black Widow”—the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—hits cinemas on May 1, 2020.
Release date: April 30, 2020 Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, William Hurt and O-T Fagbenle Director: Cate Shortland Producer: Kevin Feige Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Nigel Gostelow and Scarlett Johansson Screenplay by: Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson and Eric Pearson