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Amazon Studios Acquires Coming 2 America – Starring Eddie Murphy – From Paramount Pictures

Amazon Studios has acquired worldwide rights to Coming 2 America from Paramount Pictures. This long-awaited sequel to the iconic comedy Coming to America will launch worldwide in over 240 countries and territories on Prime Video on March 5, 2021.

Set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda, newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new hilarious adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York – where it all began. Original cast favorites from Coming to America return including King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), Queen Lisa (Shari Headley), Cleo McDowell (John Amos), Maurice (Louie Anderson) and the motley barbershop crew. Joining this star-studded ensemble are Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha and Teyana Taylor, making Coming 2 America the most anticipated comedy film of the year.

“Coming to America was a cultural phenomenon that is one of the most loved and celebrated comedies of all time,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Thanks to Eddie Murphy’s comedic genius along with the brilliant filmmakers, writers and fabulous cast, we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this new adventure. We know audiences around the world will fall in love with this hilarious, joyful movie that will surely become a timeless favorite.”

“What could be better than a return to Zamunda? We are so excited for Amazon Studios to bring Eddie Murphy and Coming 2 America to a worldwide audience where they can laugh again with characters they have loved for 30 years, and meet new ones that they will love for years to come,” said producer Kevin Misher.

Coming 2 America is directed by Craig Brewer, from Paramount Pictures in association with New Republic Pictures, and produced by Eddie Murphy Productions and Misher Films. The screenplay is written by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield, with story by Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield and Justin Kanew, based on characters created by Eddie Murphy. The producers are Kevin Misher and Eddie Murphy, executive producers are Brian Oliver, Bradley Fischer, Valerii An, Kenya Barris, Charisse Hewitt-Webster, Michele Imperato Stabile and Andy Berman.

Coming to America opened in theaters in 1988 to become a box office sensation achieving over $288 million in total worldwide box office gross. The comedy was translated to over 25 languages around the globe, known in other countries as Un Prince à New York in France, Der Prinz aus Zamunda in Germany, Un Príncipe en Nueva York throughout Latin America, Il Principe Cerca Moglie in Italy and many more – to become the iconic movie we all know and love today. Beyond its financial success, the film was a cultural zeitgeist that was not only timeless but also a proudly celebrated American comedy, making the film a go-to classic across generations. The memorable characters and relatable story of a fish-out-of-water connected audiences around the world, which is why fans have made it a repeat-viewing over the years.

About Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios is the home for talent, creating and producing original films and television series for a global audience. Original series all premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, which is available in over 200 countries and territories. Recent hit Amazon Original series include the Emmy Award-winning comedies Fleabag, created by and starring Emmy Award-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Emmy Award-winners Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, as well as the action thriller drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski, the irreverent superhero series The Boys, and fantasy drama Carnival Row starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne; Amazon Originals also include culturally relevant and buzzed about content such as Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty music and fashion event, Donald Glover’s Guava Island and Chasing Happiness, a documentary about pop superstars the Jonas Brothers.In film, Amazon Studios produces and acquires original movies for theatrical release and exclusively for Amazon Prime Video. In 2017, Amazon Studios became the first streaming service to win Oscars for Manchester by the Sea and The Salesman. Recent Amazon original movies include the subversive comedy Borat Subsequent Moviefilm with Sacha Baron Cohen, Troop Zero starring Viola Davis and Allison Janney, Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, Scott Z. Burns’ The Report, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy and the Academy Award nominated Les Misérables directed by Ladj Ly. The 2020 slate include the family comedy My Spy starring Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, Chemical Hearts starring Lili Reinhart, Sound of Metal starring Riz Ahmed, Sylvie’s Love with Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, Alan Ball’s Uncle Frank with Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis, I’m Your Woman starring and produced by Rachel Brosnahan and more. In addition, the originals film slate includes a number of diverse first-time feature filmmakers – Blow the Man Down directed by Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole, Selah and The Spades from director Tayarisha Poe, The Vast of Nightdirected by Andrew Patterson and 7500 directed by Patrick Vollrath.

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Film

Basotho Film Starts Oscar-qualifying Run On 27 November – 4 December

‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, a haunting tribute to land, community and ancestry, will screen for one week in order to qualify for the 93rd Academy Awards

‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, starring the late South African screen legend Mary Twala, starts its Oscar-qualifying run on 27 November at Ster Kinekor Tygervalley in Cape Town and at Ster Kinekor Sandton in Johannesburg. The film will screen until 4 December, in line with the rules for qualifying films for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards, which require films to screen for seven days to qualify for nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Our film will be Lesotho’s first ever Oscar entry. This is a historic moment!” says producer Cait Pansegrouw of lauded production company URUCU. “It was made under such humble and challenging circumstances, but it continues to amaze us as it takes on a life of its own. I am exceedingly proud and so thankful for everything that it has achieved.”

The first film from Lesotho, made by a Mosotho filmmaker, to screen internationally, ‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, was viewed by critics as one of the best films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, held in January.

The visually striking drama, set in the mountains of Lesotho, opens with an elderly widow named Mantoa (Mary Twala), grieving the loss of her son. Determined to die and be laid to rest with her family, her plans are interrupted when she discovers that the village and its cemetery will be forcibly resettled to make way for a dam reservoir. Refusing to let the dead be desecrated, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.

The film won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Visionary Filmmaking at Sundance. Allan Hunter of Screen International said, “’It offers a vivid, beautifully crafted reflection on identity, community and the tension between respecting age-old traditions and accepting the seemingly unstoppable march of progress.” On Twitter, Los Angeles film critic Robert Koehler wrote: “Add Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s name to the ranks of great young filmmakers with his first narrative feature ‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’, a work of extraordinary poetics and emotion, an unforgettable giant from Lesotho.”

“The film continues to travel internationally, and has taken home twenty-one awards to date,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “Mary Twala’s performance is astounding and we look forward to sharing the film with South African audiences during this limited qualifying run. It will be theatrically released country-wide in 2021.”

For director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, the film is deeply personal. “When I was a child, my family was evicted from our home,” he says. “My grandmother’s village is undergoing forced resettlement right now. My experience of displacement has significantly impacted who I am and how I see the world. Urucu believed in me from the beginning and Cait’s passion in particular was the driving force behind ‘Resurrection’.”

The film also stars film and television icon Jerry Mofokeng Wa Makhetha (‘Tsotsi’, ‘Fanie Fourie’s Lobola’, ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’, ‘Four Corners, ‘Scandal’, ‘Soul City’, ‘Yizo Yizo’, ‘Isidingo’), Makhaola Ndebele (‘Machine Gun Preacher’, ‘Money Monster’, ‘Nomzamo’) and Tseko Monaheng (‘Naka la Moitheri’, ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’).

‘This Is Not A Burial, It’s A Resurrection’ will release in South Africa in 2021. It will be distributed by Indigenous Film Distribution.

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Film

Transforming Book To Film – At virtual European Film Festival (12-22 November)

It’s a rarity to hear of a film that became a good book, but turning books into films is fairly common practice nowadays.  Of the 12 films in this year’s European Film Festival, four are based on books. Three film directors and an author will gather on Zoom to discuss how it all works.  The live discussion Transforming Book to Film on Tuesday, 17 November  at 6pm is part of the Special Events programme of the virtual European Film Festival (12-22 November).  

Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Voerden are directors of the Dutch film Becoming Mona, Griet Op De Beeck is the award-winning Flemish author of the book on which it is based, Kom Hier Dat Ik U Kus.  Also participating is Stefan Ruzowitzky, director of Narcissus and Goldmund, the legendary story by Nobel Prize-winning Hermann Hesse, and no, Hesse will not be participating, he passed away in 1962. But his book lives on and has another incarnation in the film version by Ruzowitsky, who won an Oscar in 2007 for his film The Counterfeiters, which in turn is adapted from a memoir written by Adolf Burger. 

Clearly there is lots to talk about in how the world of words transforms into the silky magic of film. How seamless is this transition, if at all?  Do the multi-layered dimensions of the audio-visual medium, with its drama, acting and sound, help us experience a story any better than the nuances and reflections we create ourselves when reading?  How different are the interpretations, and does it matter?  Local documentary producer and literature festival curator Tiny Mungwe will lead the discussion.

Tune in via the Special Events page on www.eurofilmfest for 6pm (SA time) on Tuesday 17 November. 

Online Book Launch

Wednesday, 18 November features Griet Op De Beeck at the Online launch of Kom hier dat ek jou soen, the Afrikaans translation of her book that has recently been published in South Africa by Protea Books.  Hosted by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders, Azille  Coetzee will be in online conversation with the prolific writer about this coming of age novel and her writing inspirations.  Access the conversation at 18.00 on Wednesday through the link.

The conversation will be streamed in Afrikaans and Dutch at 6pm on Wednesday 18 November on Facebook Live (www.facebook.com/flanderssa/) or through the festival website www.eurofilmfest.

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Film

Gunpowder Milkshake: Exclusive Images Of Karen Gillan’s Assassin Thriller

Directed by Navot Papushado from a script he wrote with Ehud Lavski, Gunpowder Milkshake focuses on Sam (Karen Gillan), who was only 12 years old when her mother Scarlet (Lena Headey), an elite assassin, was forced to abandon her. Sam was raised by The Firm, the ruthless crime syndicate her mother worked for. Now, 15 years later, Sam has followed in her mother’s footsteps and grown into a fierce hit-woman. She uses her “talents” to clean up The Firm’s most dangerous messes. She’s as efficient as she is loyal.

But when a high-risk job goes wrong, Sam must choose between serving The Firm and protecting the life of an innocent 8-year-old girl – Emily (Chloe Coleman). With a target on her back, Sam has only one chance to survive: reunite with her mother and her lethal associates The Librarians (Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Carla Gugino).

With a cast also featuring Paul Giamatti, Ralph Ineson and Freya Allan, Gunpowder Milkshake will be out next year via Studiocanal.

Karen Gillan and Chloe Coleman in GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
© 2020 STUDIOCANAL SAS, All rights reserved
Lena Headey in GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
Credit: © 2020 STUDIOCANAL SAS, All rights reserved
Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Carla Gugino in GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
Credit: © 2020 STUDIOCANAL SAS, All rights reserved

GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE is currently scheduled for release in South Africa on 26 February 2021.

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Film

Hopkins Stars In Heart-rendering New Film

It is an inescapable fact of life that for every relationship between a parent and a child, there will come a time where the child becomes the carer and the parent the dependant. This heart-breaking yet universal theme is at the core of a touching new film.

THE FATHER, based on an acclaimed, award-winning play, starts out as a simple drama hinged on a familiar dynamic – a middle-aged daughter is losing patience with her elderly father, a mischievous and highly independent man, whose grip on reality is fading but who refuses to allow a carer to look after him. She is moving away and, to ensure her father’s safety in her absence, she must find someone who will take care of him. As he – in the early stages of dementia – tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

Making his debut as film director is the award-winning French playwright, Florian Zeller, who was responsible for the original play. He co-wrote the screenplay with his long-time collaborator and translator Christopher Hampton, who emphasises that while the theme may be familiar, the film is not a medical treatise. “It is not about a medical condition and the people who suffer from it,” he explains. “Instead, THE FATHER tries to find an artistic way of presenting the way dementia affects the people around the patient – those who suffer the fall-out.”

The story is deliberately told through the eyes of Anthony, the elderly father, whose life has become a source of ever-disorienting confusion, with the characters and locations constantly shifting – resulting in the viewer feeling as confused as Anthony is. It is disorienting and surreal, but it speaks volumes to living with dementia. “I didn’t want to tell the story from the outside, because it’s already been done so many times,” says Zeller. “I wanted to try to tell that story from the inside, as if the audience was in the main character’s head.”

As Zeller homes in on the theme with thoughtful direction and careful storytelling, the message he wants to convey is supported by exceptional acting. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman masterfully portray the dementia-afflicted man and his daughter, Anne. While Colman’s expressive face registers all the emotions her character is going through, Hopkins perfectly captures the fear, frustration and anger of a man who is losing his grip on reality. As he spans the chasm between independent adult and scared child, his rich and emotive performance adds elements of both thriller and horror to the film.

Hopkins and Colman are supported by an excellent cast, including Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell and Olivia Williams.

Despite its dark subject matter, the film is built on a foundation of empathy and celebrates the unbreakable bond between parent and child.

Commenting on the theme, Colman says: “It is terrifying to think of your world shifting beneath your feet when you’ve lost the ability to comprehend the change. For all the complexity I think at its heart the film is very simple. It is about loss and love, and the way you suffer when the person you love no longer knows you. It is beautifully written and very moving.”

She’s right. THE FATHER is an accurate and somewhat unsettling account of both what it is like to love someone with dementia, and what it is like to live as someone with dementia, and offers a heart-rending account of what happens when a relationship, which has functioned in a certain way for decades, suddenly and irrevocably changes.

The film recently won the coveted Audience Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and Anthony Hopkins is slated for a Best Actor Academy Award nomination next year for his devastatingly emotive performance.

THE FATHER is distributed locally by Filmfinity Pty (Ltd.) and will be released in South African cinemas on 15 January 2021.