Hereditary (DVD) : Review

Film

Soon after the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette – xXx: Return of Xander Cage) and her family, husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), son Peter (Alex Wolff – Patriot’s Day), and daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) are beset by some haunting occurrences, and as the story unfolds, many dark secrets are revealed amidst some very tragic events.

Hereditary is a horror, with loads of drama. A film with an engrossing story, and yet one knows that something, very soon, is going to change and scare you. As the story unfolds, the viewer is left trying to piece together events before the characters do, and encouraged by the film, this leaves one’s imagination to start running wild, meaning the film doesn’t rely on the usual cheap jump-scares, but instead allows the viewer to scare themself, and just at the right time, it adds to this with a sound, or a visual, that chills one to the bone.

With an expertly devised soundscape for the film, the viewer is lead by sounds, but also totally encompassed in the environment, with the sounds one would expect from nature, a house, and a town. Not to be outdone, the visuals are just as immersive, with the camera angles and scene transitions not quite what one would expect, serving yet again, to suck the viewer right into the story, put them in the midst of whatever danger might be lurking, and make them feel a part of events.

Hereditary is one of those rare horror films that is driven by drama, accompanied by talent, and with a great story. It will leave one thinking, guessing, and debating what was and might have been, for days after, and it is this that would add an amount of rewatch value to the disc.

A great horror, and a must see film.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of a good technical quality, with a slightly higher than usual video bitrate. There is no bonus material on the disc, but the main feature is one that will thrill and scare many a viewer. A great film.

Hereditary is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed. Details in the several darker scenes is good, as is detail in some of the faster moving scenes. The video encoding, on average, is above what one would usually find on a DVD, and would be welcomed by those with larger screens.

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

Audio

Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate, with dialogue clear via the centre channel. Use of the surround channels serves to expand the on-screen action, totally drawing the viewer into some of the more tense scenes, and adding to the feelings evoked by the film. Great use of sound design (and at times, lack of sound) are used to a great degree.

Great use is made of the LFE channel, to enhance a the feeling of foreboding and dread brought on by the story.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu has text links to the various sub-menus, namely a link to play the movie, scene selection, and setup. There is a motion background, with video from the main feature, and accompanying music.

The Scene selection sub-menus each have ten small, desaturated colour thumbnails, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, nor is there any chapter listing including in the packaging, meaning that navigation to a part of the film would likely include some guesswork. Viewers would be better off using the bookmarking functions of their respective hardware or software.

The setup sub-menu has just two text links, allowing the viewer to choose between Dolby Surround and Dolby Stereo.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, not even trailers that autoplay at the beginning of the disc.

Packaging

Packaging is standard, with a title on the front, with poster. The back of the packaging includes a short synopsis, along with some small stills from the film. There is also the usual technical information and logos. There are no package inserts, such as chapter listing, etc.

 

Tag (DVD) : Review

Film

A group of friends from high school hold an annual game of tag, for one month, every year, into adulthood. Taking place any place, and any time within this period, it’s a no holds barred playground contest. What makes this even more intriguing and fun, is the fact this is all inspired by actual events.

Tag is a fun film. and one gets the impression the cast had fun making it. The story foloows the antics of Hogan ‘Hoagie’ Malloy (Ed Helms), Randy ‘Chilli’ Cilliano (Jake Johnson – The Mummy, Smurfs: The Lost Village), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress – Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Secret Life of Pets), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm – Baby Driver, Minions), and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner – Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Age of Ultron) who has as yet not been tagged.

Once news of this on-going childhood games gets out, intrepid reporter Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis – Annabelle: Creation, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) decides to follow the group, and cover this rather unique bond they have. Rebecca’s view of the entire event mirrors what many viewers might have, and that is one of amusement, that a group of grown men could act in such a way. Not only still playing a game from the school grounds, but the level and detail of planning that goes into this annual event.

Let us not forget the main characters themselves, with each possessing their own skills and personality, brought to life the the talented cast. Jeremy Renner for one feels as if he has brought much of himself to the role, prompting one to pause and wonder if he might just narrate some things in his every day life.

Tag is a fun, light-hearted, and feel good film, if there ever were one. A story that is not at all hard to follow, a diverse group of characters, given depth by a well known cast. A story that will not only have the audience laughing, but wondering how they too can create this sort of bond with those closest and dearest to them.

A film most certainly worth watching, and adding to one’s collection, Tag is a brings joy, much as their game it depicts does.

Disc

The disc is of a good technical quality overall, with a fun main feature.

Tag is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a high average bitrate, with no visible artefacts on-screen. There is no visible colour bleed, and colours are vibrant where needed, although the grade does differentiate between past and present. Details in faster moving scenes and dark scenes is good.

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

Audio

Audio is encoded at a high average bitrate. Dialogue is clear via the centre channel, with great use of the surround channels when scenes would warrant it.

Navigation

Navigation is simple, and easy to follow. The main menu is static, with a background poster and accompanying music. Menu items consist of text links to their respective sub-menus, and consist of a link to play the main feature, scene selection, languages, and special features.

The scene selection sub-menus consist of six and five large, colour, still thumbnails, for a total of eleven chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, so navigating to a specific part of the main feature might require some guesswork. There is also no chapter listing included in the disc packaging.

The languages sub-menu consists of a text list of audio languages, namely English and English Descriptive Audio. There is also a list of available sub-titles, including English for the hearing impaired.

The special feature sub-menu contains one link, to the single included featurette.

Bonus Features

Meet the Real Tag Brothers – This short featurette gives the viewer a look at the real life persons that inspired the film. This makes the main feature even more enjoyable. A fun look at the bond between these friends.

Packaging

The disc packaging is rather standard, with a poster on the front, with cast listing. The back of the case has a short synopsis, with some small stills from the main feature. There are also the usual technical logos and information one would expect. There are no package inserts in the case, such as chapter listing.

 

The Hurricane Heist (DVD) : Review

Film

With a plot that sounds like it could be a lot of fun, and action, with a group of thieves attempting to rob the U.S. Treasury, The Hurricane Heist has all the promises of non-stop action. But, that’s as far as it goes.

The abysmal execution of the plot is evident from the start, checking all the checkboxes on it’s plummet to the lowly depths of a straight to home video release. Yet, even if one could suspend disbelieve to the utmost extent of one’s abilities, the terrible visual effects, plot holes, and total disregard for any reality, will soon snatch that last piece of remaining imagination away.

The action filled synopsis does give hope, but once you realise there is not much hope, you either relegate yourself to watching sub-standard nonsense, or move on and watch something else.

As for rewatch value, there is none. Unless you’re a film studies lecturer, and you really need to show your class what not to do.

Really, give this one a miss.

Disc

Overall, this is a an average disc technically. The video is slightly lacking, and navigation menu rather pathetic. Add to this a rather awful main feature, and one would do best to avoid this disc completely.

The Hurricane Heist is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a fair average bitrate, with this ranging from high to mediocre, depending on scenes. The overall encoding could have been higher, however there are no visible artefacts on-screen, however edges do look slightly sharpened at times.

Overall, the colour grade does lack vivid colours, likely due to the fact that the film is depicting grey skies and bad weather, however some detail is lost in darker scenes, and finer details in general could have been slightly better. Given that this is a DVD disc, this could be forgiven for the smallest of objects, but all the same, the video does feel slightly lacking.

Audio

Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, with a stereo downmix option available. The audio is encoded at a high average bitrate.

Dialogue is clear via the centre speaker, with a surprising amount of use made of the surround channels, and LFE.

Navigation

The main menu is simple, and easy to follow with text labels to play the main feature, scene selection, and setup. The menu has a motion background showing some clips from the main feature, and with accompanying music.

The scene selection sub-menus are terrible, with each containing ten large yellow numbers, for a total of twenty chapters. These are just the yellow numbers, no thumbnail, no label, nothing. One wonders why the disc creators even bothered with this, as almost anything provided by the simplest set-top or software player would be so much better. Seriously, this look as if they were told they must put a scene selection option on the disc, so did the bare minimum possible.

The setup menu is almost just as sparse, offering text options to choose between Dolby Surround or Dolby Stereo for the audio track. More functional than the scene selection menus, but this too can be covered far better via the hardware or software of the viewers respective player.

Bonus Features

There are no bonus features on the disc, not even the usual trailers that autoplay at the beginning of many discs.

Packaging

Packaging is the standard DVD jewel case, with a poster on the front. The back of the packaging has a short synopsis, and some stills from the main feature. There are also the usual technical symbols and information provided.

 

Next Week On The Graham Norton Show – 4 December 2018

Graham Norton meets Geraint Thomas, Nicole Kidman, Stephen Fry, Joe Lycett and Take That

Nicole Kidman reveals how she went method for Destroyer, Stephen Fry talks about Greek Myths, Joe Lycett jokes about coming out, Geraint Thomas talks cycling and Take That perform live in the studio

Geraint Thomas, Nicole Kidman, Stephen Fry, Graham Norton, Joe Lycett, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London.

On The Graham Norton Show, airing Tuesday, 4 December on BBC Brit (DStv 120) at 21:00, Graham welcomes Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, actor and writer Stephen Fry, comedian Joe Lycett, Olympic and Tour de France cycling champion Geraint Thomas and pop superstars Take That.

Nicole, talking about her latest film, Destroyer, says, “It’s really a tough, gritty film, which is something I’d never done and I am always looking for new territory to explore. And, when you are cast to play the older character you don’t usually get to play the younger, but a great thing as an actor is when you get to play both. It was a gift to be able to arc out the whole story for the character.”

Asked about taking her broken, damaged character home with her, she says, “My husband was like, ‘When is this going to end?’ As an actor, you take on things and some you can shed and walk away from and others you can’t. The character had to seep out of my pores and I didn’t know how to perform that, so I just had to live it. I was a bit of a nightmare!”

Stephen, asked about his love-hate relationship with Twitter, says, “I am on it but the difference now is that I don’t engage with it very much because of the comments and the unkindness. I am very sensitive. It’s pathetic after all these years, but I am.”

Talking about Heroes, his second book of Greek Myths, and asked about the success of the first, he says, “It was a huge surprise to me and I was delighted.”

Joe, talking about coming out to his father, says, “I came out on my 21st birthday and he was just so lovely about it and said, ‘That’s fine and as long as you are happy, I really don’t mind.’  I was sort of annoyed about it because I wanted there to be a battle so I tried to escalate it by saying I was taking drugs and all he said was, ‘Don’t tell your mother!’”

Geraint joins Graham for a chat about his book, The Tour According to G

Talking about the long journey to becoming a champion, he says, “10 years ago I did my first Tour de France and came 140th out of 141.  I beat one guy!   Road cycling is all about endurance so I’m coming into my peak now.” Asked if he ever dreamed of the success he has had, he says, “I definitely thought I would never wear the yellow jersey. That first race was just about survival. You just keep going and before you know it you’re in Paris. It was insane.”

Asked about the injuries he has sustained cycling, he says, “I’ve broken lots of bones and ruptured my spleen. When I broke my pelvis I just carried on. The doctor said, ‘If you can put up with the pain, then crack on.’ I had to because I had been training all year and I was part of a team so couldn’t let them down.”

Take That performs Greatest Day live in the studio, before joining Graham for a chat about their 30th anniversary album and tour.

Chatting about their live shows and asked if they will top all the other shows they have done or whether it’s a combination of everything, Mark, giving very little away, says, “Yeah and yeah!’ Adding, “But, it will include some songs we haven’t performed for a long time.”

Asked if it’s a farewell tour, Gary says, “Let’s hope not! This feels like end of part two to us. Part one was the 90s and part two is three decades of music. Then, after this, we can get excited about what’s next.”

Howard, revealing he’s still the master of the moves, says, “I can still breakdance and do backflips. Whenever we go on tour we like to challenge ourselves and it would feel a bit strange if we didn’t come off stage and not be sweaty.” Mark interjects, “I don’t think the insurance allows for backflips anymore!”

And finally, Graham pulls the lever on more foolhardy audience members brave enough to sit in the Big Red Chair.

The Graham Norton Show, BBC Brit, Tuesday, 4 December 21:00.

Teen Film Culture Welcomes Fresh New Faces To The Big Screen With ‘Status Update’

As if high school wasn’t torturous enough for some teens, they’re now subjected to the cruelty of believing everyone’s life around them is better than theirs. And it’s all there on display in perfectly filtered pictures. But while social media makes everyone’s lives seems flawless, in truth, without the filters, none are…

STATUS UPDATE follows the usual teen film culture but the film spices up the stereotypical with comedy, fantasy, and a moral lesson.  With a combination of talented fresh faces like Ross Lynch and Olivia Holt, the movie is a commentary on the current situation on social media.  The film opens up at 33 cinemas around South African on 30 November, 2018.

Directed by Scott Speer and written by Jason Filardi, STATUS UPDATE offers a glimpse of what life would be like if your dreams came true every time you updated your status.  The film also sees Gregg Sulkin and Courtney Eaton join the cast with a handful of proven actors such as Rob Riggle, Wendi McLendon-Covery and John Michael Higgins, which makes for an exciting and hilarious ensemble.

The movie features former Disney Channel star, Ross Lynch, as the quintessential California kid Kyle, who is uprooted when his parents split, and his mom takes him and his younger sister cross-country to Connecticut.  At Kyle’s new school, he meets the usual suspects – Lonnie, the nerd who becomes Kyle’s best friend; Dani, the girl of Kyle’s dreams; and Derek, the jock and Kyle’s nemesis.  As expected, Kyle is a total fish out of water and his first day consists of one humiliating incident after another, resulting in his cell phone being smashed by bullies, led by Derek. But everything changes when he goes to the mall to get his broken phone fixed.  There he meets a strange, seemingly insightful cell phone salesman, who introduces him to YOUniverse, a mysterious app that effectively turns his phone into a 21st century Aladdin’s lamp.

Kyle soon discovers that with just one sentence, he can get whatever he asks for – whether it’s a visit from his father, the voice to win a part in the school talent show, or the talent to threaten the hockey captain’s dominance on the ice.  But with great power comes great temptation, and Kyle begins to want more and more. In a matter of weeks, the new kid turns into the school’s most popular all-rounder – he becomes the person every guy wants to be, and every girl wants to date.

As in life – and every other wish fulfilment film – when something seems too good to be true, it often is. Kyle finds himself the victim of his own desire for acceptance and social media fame. Can he set things straight and make amends with those he hurt?

“The goal was to create a story that was relevant today but had the fun and heartfelt feeling of a John Hughes comedy, a magical, modern day fairy tale not unlike Big or 17 Again, and then bring that story to the big screen. I think the team behind STATUS UPDATE accomplished that and more,” says Filardi.

STATUS UPDATE is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd and will be shown in the following cinemas around the country:

  • Epic Mall@Reds, Pretoria
  • Epic Northridge, Bloemfontein
  • Epic Sun City, Pilansberg
  • Killarney Cine, Rosebank
  • Midlands Cine, Pietermaritzburg
  • Movies@Monte, Fourways
  • NC Game City, Gaborone
  • Suncoast Cine, Durban
  • NM Canal Walk, Cape Town
  • NM Galleria, Durban
  • NM Menlyn Park, Pretoria
  • NM V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
  • NM Westgate, Roodepoort
  • Ster-Kinekor Bay West, Port Elizabeth
  • Ster-Kinekor Blue Route, Cape Town
  • Ster-Kinekor Brooklyn, Pretoria
  • Ster-Kinekor Cresta, Northcliff
  • Ster-Kinekor Forest Hill, Pretoria
  • Ster-Kinekor Gateway, Umhlanga
  • Ster-Kinekor Greenstone Mall, Greenstone
  • Ster-Kinekor Irene Mall, Preotira
  • Ster-Kinekor Kolonnade, Pretoria
  • Ster-Kinekor Mall at Carnival, Benoni
  • Ster-Kinekor Maponya Mall, Soweto
  • Ster-Kinekor Matlosana Mall, Klerksdorp
  • Ster-Kinekor Riversquare, Vereeniging
  • Ster-Kinekor The Zone, Rosebank
  • Ster-Kinekor Sandton City, Sandton
  • Ster-Kinekor Secunda Mall, Secunda
  • Ster-Kinekor Somerset Mall, Cape Town
  • Ster-Kinekor Southgate, Johannesburg
  • Ster-Kinekor Tygervalley, Cape Town

Critics And Audiences Raving About Green Book – In SA Cinema 15 February 2019

The critically acclaimed and highly-anticipated GREEN BOOK is confirmed for release at South African cinemas on 15 February 2019.

Cultures clash when a working-class Italian-American from the Bronx becomes the driver for a classically trained pianist on a concert tour of the American South in GREEN BOOK.

A warm, funny and surprising look at a real-life friendship, GREEN BOOK is directed by Peter Farrelly, and stars Oscar®-nominee Viggo Mortensen and Oscar®-winner Mahershala Ali.­­

GREEN BOOK is a warm-hearted and often hilarious road movie about two very different, strong-willed men who break through barriers of race, class and education to form a deep and enduring bond – on the journey of a lifetime. Transcending initial assumptions and stereotypes, the pair’s unlikely alliance demonstrates the life-changing power of tolerance and cross-cultural understanding – two steadfast values that continue to resonate today.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality

After GREEN BOOK won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, it went on to win audience awards at three additional film festivals in the U.S. (Middleburg, Mill Valley and Boston).

Apart from being a definite favourite amongst movie audiences, there are also strong indicators that it will receive significant attention during the upcoming awards season – with Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominations being suggested by various critics.

Pro’s Last Recorded Track, For Love Lives Here Movie, Released

The late Pro’s (Pro Kid) music continues to live on, after South Africa lost one of it’s most talented sons in August 2018. ‘Ntsimbi’, was one of Pro’s last recorded tracks is now out, as the country celebrates this icon through his music.

The song, which features Kid X & up and coming rapper, Khaz Money, was recorded for the soundtrack of the upcoming South African romcom, ‘Love Lives Here’, and was composed by the movie’s soundtrack curator, Tshepang “RMBO”Ramoba.

Asked why Pro was one of the artists selected for the soundtrack, movie producer Dumi Gumbi had this to say: “Pro was, and still is, the perfect artist to feature in the movie’s soundtrack because of his ability to bring people from different backgrounds together, which is something we see happen in the movie, so it was a no brainer.”

The movie, which will be released in March 2019, feature’s well known actress Thando Thabethe as it’s lead, alongside Lungile Radu, Andile Gumbi, Zola Nombona, Sihle Ndaba and Motlatsi Mafatshe. The track, which dropped exclusively on Metro FM’s Fresh Breakfast, is now available on iTunes and will be available on Deezer, Google Play, and Spotify from Monday 26 November.

Q&A With Rory Kennedy: Above And Beyond NASA’s Journey To Tomorrow

Naomi Powell-Brown:  Okay. DStv Magazine, can you ask your first question please?

Speaker:  Yes. The first question is, so how did people imagine cosmos before the era of NASA? It was 60 years of people in space, we can say, almost. And before this era, we didn’t know how to eat this cosmos, how to perceive it. And how do you know, how do you do this, how do you imagine it?

Rory Kennedy: Thank you. Well, first of all, this is Rory Kennedy, and I want to thank all of you for joining today. Again, we’re sorry, but things were running behind here, and appreciate your patience, and I’m excited to speak with you. And I appreciate you all of you giving some attention to the film and letting people know that it’s coming out. So, thank you.

In terms of the specific question, it’s pretty mind-boggling and exciting to think about all that we’ve learned in these last 60 years. And so, I think it’s a good question to remember where we were 60 years ago, before NASA was really part of our efforts to understand and explore space. You know, prior to NASA we didn’t have rocket ships that could go into – outside of our atmosphere; we had never sent a man up into space – that started with the Apollo programme. I think that, you know, everything that we knew really about the [inaudible] from the back end of a telescope here on planet Earth. And the knowledge of our solar system was quite limited, the galaxy as well, as, of course, our universe. And there has been an endless number of breakthroughs over these last six decades which are quite exciting and really led by NASA.

Naomi Powell-Brown:  Perfect. Can we have the next question from Sarah, from DStv Magazine please.

Sarah Borchert: Thank you very much. Hi Rory, it’s lovely to talk to you. Why did you feel that this was an important story to tell now? What is significant about the 60 years, and are there other reasons perhaps for bringing NASA’s story to the forefront again?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I think that NASA has really done more for our understanding to some of the basic questions that we ponder as human beings – where did we come from, are we alone, what’s to become of us. And the amount of knowledge that we’ve learned from this institution I think is greater than any institution in history. So, now coming up on its 60th anniversary seems like a good time to look back and reflect on the accomplishments and that knowledge.

I think I was particularly interested in this subject matter, in addition to it being the anniversary, in part, because of my uncle John F Kennedy’s involvement and leadership in getting us to the moon; and his extraordinary speech at Rice University in 1962, which I think is one of his all-time great speeches; and the leadership that required, particularly at that time, where we hadn’t sent a man up into space; where we didn’t have the rocket ship capability; and where the stakes were so high; and the vision was so outlandish to think that we could get to the moon within the decade, but, in fact, we were able to accomplish that goal. And, of course, he had the innovation and the leadership and the vision, but NASA had to do the work – they had to build the rocket ships that would not only get us to the moon but then bring them back, most importantly.

You know, it’s an extraordinary thing all around and an exciting thing for me to look back on. But, I think also, you know, I grew up in that era, and the excitement of getting to the moon. And it’s – I think that younger generations don’t – didn’t experience that, and so it’s fun for me, and seems timely to share some of NASA’s accomplishments, and hopefully ignite younger generations to get involved in exploration, space exploration, the innovation, and all the things that NASA is working on I think.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Oh, thank you, Sarah. Marwa from Gulf News?

Marwa Hamad: Yes. Hi Rory, thanks for taking the time to chat to us today. I have a few questions, but I’ll just go with the one for now which is, you know, you had to go for, I’m assuming, through decades of footage for this, which seems like such an overwhelming, you know, process. How did you cull the material, and how did you decide what to leave on the cutting room floor, and how long did that process take?

Rory Kennedy: Thank you. That was a significant part of the process for me in the archives, because I really wanted to make a film that would translate the extraordinary accomplishments of NASA. And part of that is doing – having a visual presentation that really ignites that kind of awe-inspiring feeling. And there are so many amazing images that have come out of NASA over these last many years that I really prioritise the archival process in this film-making endeavour. So, I had a very accomplished archive team, I had an archive producer. I hired them early on and worked very closely with them to identify the types of images that we were looking for. And it honestly almost felt like a curating position for me in the making of this film where we were pulling together some of the greatest images, but that also kind of spoke to meaningful moments in NASA’s history.

One of the challenges is that in the United States, NASA has ten different locations. You know, so it has the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Johnson Space Center in Texas, the Jet Propulsion Lab in LA, or outside Pasadena technically, and the Goddard Space Center outside of Washington DC in Maryland. So, it has these centres scattered across the country and each of them has their own archive houses. So, there’s not kind of one central location where everything is organised. So, it was, you know, it was a challenge. But, it was also a bit of a, kind of, fun scavenger hunt too, to research through all these incredible images and pull them together. And I hope for, you know, those of you – I don’t know who’s seen the film – but when you get to see it, that you experience it for all the awe and wonder that it deserves.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Lovely. Can we go to Fatima from El Mundo?

Fatima Elidrissi: Hello Rory. I wanted to ask you why did you decide to approach this story of NASA from a personal point of view? And how important was John F Kennedy, as you mentioned before, both to the agency and to you personally?

Rory Kennedy: Well, thank you for that question. I didn’t intend to – when I signed on to the project – to have it be such a personal essay. But as I jumped into the material, I felt that the best way to tell this story, and because John F Kennedy’s speech was so meaningful in the effort to get to the moon was such an extraordinary moment. And as a filmmaker, I like to have a relationship with the audience that’s very transparent. And I felt it was important to position myself as John F Kennedy’s niece so that it didn’t come across as simply an objective point of view. And I also felt that it was a more interesting way to tackle the material, because I – when we started the process, it was kind of chronological in its telling, and it felt a little bit like a march through time, and didn’t quite have the energy and vitality that I wanted it to. And I felt also because of the way that I wanted to frame it, which was this idea of the pull towards Earth and the push towards the outer echelons of the universe, that it felt structurally to do it more as an essay film and POV film made it work better actually just as a film. And so, I kind of landed on that at some point during the process, and it felt like it was the right direction and the right move.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Perfect. Can we go – move on to Turkey now.

Demet Sarova: Yes. Hi Rory, it’s great to have this interview with you. And my question is you have produced documents about some of the world’s most important problems like poverty, human rights issues, and all of them have achieved success. Is there a secret to their success?

Rory Kennedy: Secret potion. I don’t know that there’s a secret to that success. You know, I feel very lucky to be making documentaries. I love filmmaking and I love sharing real stories with people, and I love the storytelling aspect of it, and I love the influence that it can have in opening minds and hearts alike. I think that every film I’ve ever made has a new set of challenges and difficulties. In every single film I make, I think at some point in the process oh my God, this is a disaster, what was I thinking, I shouldn’t have done this; but somehow, they kind of come around and the story emerges. And I’ve been very happy with the work to date, and the films I’ve been able to – and the stories I’ve been able to tell and share.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Okay, we’ll move on to Vanda from Savadel Magazine[?].

Vanda Marques: Hello. Thank you so much for having us and for talking with us. What I would like to ask you, Rory, was throughout this research that you had to do for the documentary, all this footage, what was the most impressive thing that you discovered while doing this investigation and why was it so impressive?

Rory Kennedy: Well, you know, I would say that I learned a huge amount during this process and really have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for NASA and all that we’ve learned, much of which is often, frankly, invisible to the eye. You know, I think that there is – the stores of a lot of knowledge and information and technology that we use – I’m looking at a cellphone right here – and the reason we have the little iPhone cameras in there is because of NASA and their need to make smaller cameras to go up on spacecraft and continue to document what happens up there.

So, you know, there’s all sorts of ways that NASA is a part of our world – the reason – the storage for weather is from NASA, and they feed it to NOAA which then feeds it to the weather channel or wherever you get your information about the weather. All of the satellites are having – you know, are then used by people all around the world and the information that comes out of them. But they are kind of the source material.

So, I’ve been understanding and appreciating just all the ways that NASA has influenced us and how it’s helped us understand, you know, the basic questions. And, you know, with innovations like the Hubble telescope out in space and seeing the cosmos from that angle, and seeing stars being formed and supernovas and, you know, suns like our own forming; it’s really an extraordinary thing – understanding that the galaxy – I mean, that the universe is expanding. We used to think we knew how big the universe was, and through NASA we now don’t know, but we know that we don’t know. It’s really an amazing thing. And, you know, – and the number of exoplanets that it’s uncovered, and 23 earth-like exoplanets that are in the Goldilocks zone that seemingly could harbour life.

It’s also an amazing thing how close they are to finding life, not only in the galaxy but in our solar system, which I think we’re really right on the brink of. That they are, you know, really are at the brink of also having the technology to get us to Mars and get us back from Mars. It’s amazing that we’ve sent the Curiosity rover up to Mars and because of that, and because of the scientific lab, that we understand that Mars was much like Earth 3.5 billion years ago when Earth started harbouring life, and that it had water on it – you know, that is because of NASA.

But I think to me the most pressing and urgent breakthrough has really been around their knowledge of climate change, and what we’re doing through the use of carbon. And, you know, as humans and the damage we’re doing to this planet and the long-term consequence of that, which – and the immediate consequence. I mean, we are experiencing what they predicted, which is more severe storms, higher sea levels, fires, more drought. You know, the [inaudible] that these scientists have for where that’s going to take us not in 100 years but now and the next year, and the year after that. And the consequence of that which is significant and, you know, the stakes are very, very high. I mean, it is human’s ability to survive climate change, if we don’t change course, it’s deeply concerning [inaudible] NASA report to me.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. Can I get the next question from Ludmilla from Russia?

Ludmilla Arinchina: Yes. Hi Rory, my question is did you face any challenges during your work on above and beyond NASA’s journey [inaudible]

Rory Kennedy: Okay, I’m going to – I think what you were asking me is did you face any challenges during the work of making this film.

Ludmilla Arinchina: Yes. And if yes, what were they?

Rory Kennedy: Yeah. Well, yeah, there were a lot of challenges in the making of this film. You know, I mean, one of the things about NASA is it has so many initiatives over a long period of time, and we were really trying to celebrate all of those. But some of them, other than being part of the same institution, felt disparate and not necessarily connected. For example, you know, initiatives around the International Space Station or the Hubble and [Inaudible] telescope versus what – the work that they were doing and continue to do on Earth and the Arctic and Antarctica and the Greenland ice sheet, as well as in the oceans and Hawaii and throughout the world; and then jumping back to the Curiosity rover and exploration of Mars, and how we get to Mars and the James Webb telescope. And then, you know, the network of antennas that enable us to communicate with the satellites and the orbiters, landers and rovers that are exploring different planets in our solar systems and beyond.

So, it was a challenge to kind of synthesise all of that. And, you know, it’s also complex ideas of how things work, and what the significance of each of them are and how it relates to larger ideas of where we came from and life in the universe and whatnot. I mean it was challenging. And then I would say the archives, as one of you mentioned earlier, you know, there was just thousands, tens of thousands of images and media that NASA has generated. So, figuring out a system to go through that and really get the best of it all was certainly challenging. But hopefully we figured it out and there’s a good film there.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Perfect. Okay, can we go back to Marta from Newsweek? Can we get your next question?

Marta Tomaszkiewicz: Yes, thank you. After the Challenger and Columbia catastrophes, NASA seemed to take a back seat in terms of the expanse[?] space travelling and development of reusable space technology. Some people think NASA has been over-performed by private companies, for example, SpaceX or Boeing. How do you think about this opinion, do you agree with it?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I think that NASA, if you look back through its history, has always worked with the private sector. I think that, you know, even in getting to the moon, rocket ships were made with the support of private sector companies. So, there’s more attention towards that today but I don’t feel that it is a dramatic departure from how NASA has always worked. And I think it as a model is a good way of moving forward, because I think there are a lot of things that NASA can do. There are some limitations as a government agency, and there’s a lot that the private sector can do but they have their own limitations. And the ability to partner I think can really bring out the best in both of them.

I think that, you know, for the last many years with the end of the Space Shuttle, we have been relying on the Russian Soyuz to get people back and forth to the Space Station, and we have not sent up our own people on our own spaceships. And I would like to see us do that again. But, whether that’s through NASA directly or through SpaceX and Boeing, which is the current initiative, I think that is only very positive.

I think the other thing, you know, that has been really exceptional about NASA is their willingness and interest in working and collaborating with not only, you know, the best and brightest minds in this country but internationally as well, and within the private sector as well. And I think really what you want when you are pushing limits and innovating is to pull together the best and brightest. And I think one way to do that is this kind of partnership. And I think it’s a great model not just for NASA but for other companies and our government as well.

Naomi Powell-Brown:  Perfect. Thanks, Marta. Can we go back to Sarah from DStv Magazine.

Sarah Borchert: Yes, sure. Rory, are you ever confronted with the conspiracy theory about the moon landing having being filmed in a Hollywood basement, and if so, do you ever bother to engage with them and what do you say?

Rory Kennedy: I have been confronted with them every now and then, and I say that it’s not true.

Sarah Borchert: Yeah, that’s what I say.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Marwa from Gulf News?

Marwa Hamad: Yeah. I guess, I think a lot of times our entry point into NASA are introductions that happen pretty early in life, it starts like a childlike curiosity or awe. Do you remember some of your earliest memories and, you know, where your interest stems from before adulthood?

Rory Kennedy: You know, I mean, I was born in 1968, and so, I was, you know, obviously very young. I mean I don’t have a memory of landing on the moon, and the Apollo missions were on their way out by the time I gained consciousness. But I grew up in the aftermath of that, and I was, you know, I had the great honour and privilege of being surrounded by people like John Glenn who was good friends with my family and was obviously the first American to orbit Earth. And so, these people were really heroes in my childhood. And so, – and I had such an appreciation of my uncle Jack and his vision and leadership in getting us to the moon and what that took, that I felt that NASA was very much kind of in the ether of my childhood and was an institution that I always had great admiration and respect for.

You know, I think over time, I mean, there are some memories and understandings of, you know, curiosity, getting to the – to Mars, you know, that I was aware of and excited about, and finding water on Mars and kind of these moments. And certainly, the Shuttle programme and the Shuttle disasters were moments that I have recollection of, and the Hubble spacecraft launching and then not having the right mirrors, and then then innovations to fix those and get it working, and the images that came out of that were really awe-inspiring for me.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Next question from Fatima from El Mundo please.

Fatima Elidrissi: Well, yes, I also wanted to ask you about what the different relationships recent Presidents of the USA had with NASA. For example, George Bush wanted to return to the moon, then Barack Obama cancelled that programme to try to go to Mars. And now, Donald Trump has said that the goal is again returning to the moon. So, I wanted to ask you about what do you think about this and is it really possible to achieve something if every administration changes the previous plan.

Rory Kennedy: I think it’s a good question, and you’re tapping into, you know, the way that NASA is structured which is that it is, you know, controlled and governed by the executive branch and the President of the United States. So, you know, that position changes every four years. In terms of leadership, I’m hopeful that [inaudible] will be two years but that’s to be seen. In any case, I think that it is difficult and it is a challenge in the way that NASA is structured, because some of these initiatives like getting to Mars, you really need to think through 10, 15, 20 years out in order for it to happen. And it’s hard for Presidents to think that far ahead and to be invested in something that happens outside of their tenure. That said, despite the limitation of the leadership turnaround, NASA has managed to accomplish extraordinary things over the past 60 years, and so something’s working.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. Next question from Turkey please.

Demet Sarova: My next question is you have been at the backstage of NASA, how did this environment make you feel?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I love talking to astronauts who have been to outer space because I think they’re really cool. And to, you know, hear about blasting off and then leaving our atmosphere, and having that perspective on Earth, and seeing this little ball in the vastness of space and the impact that that has on them is a really an extraordinary experience and a beautiful thing. And kind of the poetry and the – really awe of their ability to articulate their – the emotional experience; and the, you know, the deep love and connection to this planet was part of the, you know, part of the process I loved the most. I think it’s all so really – you know, I went to a lot of these space stations and centres of NASA, and to be at headquarters, to be at these locations where, you know, they have been interacting with space shuttles over the years, or with, you know, Apollo 13 or, you know, the moon after a launch, you know, it’s really cool and awe-inspiring as well. And then, you know, I go to places like the Johnson Space Center where they have a pool that can fit what is the equivalent of the International Space Station inside of it, and that they go diving, and to see these astronauts in these diving suits and how they stand in the water for six, seven, eight hours a day, and how they go about doing spacewalks and get trained for that, and the intensity of that training is so impressive, you know. So, it was fun to – for me to get that perspective and that behind the scenes.

You know, I remember doing an interview with Peggy Whitson while she was on the International Space Station going 17,000 miles around Earth, orbiting Earth. You know, so those are moments that I’ll never forget.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. The next question from Samvada Magazine[?].

Vanda Marques: Yes. I would like to ask did you have the opportunity to try any of those preparations like antigravity or something like that? And would you like to go on a journey out to space, would you be able to dream of you going to Mars if you were able to do something like this?

Rory Kennedy: I did some cool things. I mean I got into some spaceships that weren’t operating, and then I – but they were, you know, real spaceships. And I was able to, you know, go very close to the James Webb and the building of that which was – is really cool and impressive. I was – I was able to do some – you know, go to the pool and be witness to that experience and was really amazing. And then, you know, they have a kind of 3D programme that – a VR programme that they do which also helps them in the training and the communicating with astronauts in other countries. And so, I was able to do that. So, yeah, there were some of these things that I was able to be a part of. But in terms of going to space, I don’t think anybody wants me on a spaceship going to Mars. I’m a little – I don’t really like heights, I’m a little claustrophobic. I think I’m better off just making documentaries of everybody else –

Vanda Marques: Okay.

Rory Kennedy: I would like to have gone to space, but I don’t want to actually go to space.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Shall we have the next question from Ludmilla from Russia, please?

Ludmilla Arinchina: Thank you. [Inaudible] and did you meet any interesting people during the production and what did they say to you, and what surprised you?

Rory Kennedy: Yeah. So, I met a lot of interesting people. I mean, I would say, you know, I really have a love and administration for astronauts. So, I was able to interview people like Jim Lovell, who was the Commander of Apollo 13, and he was also on the first mission, Apollo mission that circumnavigated the moon, Apollo 8. And so, to hear first-hand from him about what those missions were like and those experiences was really amazing. You know, I interviewed a number of women astronauts, like Sunita Williams and Peggy Whitson, while she was on the ISS, which was really cool; Mark and Scott Kelly who were the identical twins. And spent – you know, the impact it has on the human body, and the studies that were done connected to that was really interesting to me.

And then, you know, there’s other people who are less known but are hugely important in terms of their innovations and ability to push the realm of what was considered possible and whether that’s, you know, people – the folks who helped get Curiosity to Mars and what it took to do that was amazing. A number of the administrators, people like Pete Gordon[?], who’s really working in the field of looking at the search for life in the universe, and how they’re going about that is fascinating to me. So, yeah, and endless number of fascinating people.

Naomi Powell-Brown: So, now we’re going to go to Marta from Newsweek for your last question.

Marta Tomaszkiewicz: Thank you. So, my last question, could you name five – maybe less, maybe more – five greatest NASA’s achievements, what do you think in your opinion?

Rory Kennedy: Five of the greatest NASA achievements? Okay, well, I would say getting us to the moon. Understanding our, you know, Voyager 1 and 2, which were launched starting in 1977, and really helped us understand our solar system I think was an extraordinary accomplishment. Certainly, the Hubble spacecraft – not spacecraft, telescope, and getting that into space is an extraordinary achievement. I think one of the images that I appreciate most coming from Hubble was the Deep Field, which looked – Hubble looked at a very dark part of the sky that was the size of a thumbnail, that they didn’t think anything was there. And they identified because of that image 10,000 new galaxies – and that was in the space, you know, in a part of the sky that was as big as a thumbnail. So, you know, they now have an understanding that there are so many more galaxies, 100 billion galaxies, and each galaxy has billions of stars. And the furthest galaxy that Hubble has detected is 13 billion light years away. You know, those are kind of crazy mind‑blowing notions and ideas that we now have an understanding of because of Hubble.

I think also, the Kepler spacecraft – telescope, and the identifying of the exoplanet which also, you know, they really didn’t have an understanding of the number of exoplanets that are in the universe, and now have a much deeper understanding of that.

And then I think everything we’ve learned about this planet and this – Earth, because of, you know, some combination of the – they’ve launched over two dozen satellites, there’s 19 operating right now that are helping to monitor the weather systems, they’re monitoring the fires, they’re monitoring the ice and the ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctica and Greenland ice sheet. You know, we know because of the studies, you know, of – that are coming out of NASA. We know that the temperatures increased one Celsius degree, and that we’ve had, you know, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record because – since 2000 – because of the research that NASA has done. They’ve also helped us understand what’s happening, you know, with the oceans and the amount of water that is getting sucked out of the ice sheet and going into the ocean. So, these are all innovations that – you know, and knowledge that we have about our own planet because of NASA.

Naomi Powell-Brown:  Sarah from DStv, your final question.

Sarah Borchert: Yes. I think looking ahead to the future, Rory, what do you think the next 60 years of NASA might bring? What are the – do you think there are any big breakthroughs on the horizon? Where is the agency going, what’s its direction?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I think that there’s a number of initiatives. So, I think the Mars mission is a serious one. I don’t know when exactly that happens, but they are pushing to innovate so that we could get to Mars and, importantly, get back from Mars. And that, you know, is a serious endeavour that is complicated but doable. So, I think that’s an exciting mission.

I think we’re really on the verge of finding life in the universe, and not only the universe but in our solar system. So, I’m excited about, you know, that is a mind-blowing idea. And I think that we will – I think we’ll find life in our solar system in our lifetime, if I had to guess, and that’s exciting. I think that – I think the James Webb is really promising as the next level of telescopes going out into the world that will be able to look back through time – it’s sort of considered a time machine –and it will be able to really see back to the beginnings of the universe and the Big Bang potentially. So, I think we’ll get a huge amount of information and knowledge out of the James Webb telescope.

And then, you know, my hope is that we will have – which, you know, we don’t have it right now –but we will have leadership that will really empower these scientists to help us further understand what’s happening to this planet and potentially ways to address it, you know, beyond limiting the amount of carbon. But I think we need to continue to innovate in terms of green energy. Right now, we have enough green innovation to light up and provide the electricity needed in – on the planet seven times over; but that we need, you know, in order to have that take over our electric grids and how they’re sourced right now, we really need the involvement of the scientific community. I think, you know, looking at innovations and questions of how to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere, that we should really unleash our scientists to take on that, and to continue their efforts to really monitor the carbon released and the health of this planet, and the seas, and every aspect of the vegetation and all around. So, I think that is, you know, to me the most important thing that we could do, given the urgency of climate change.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Marwa from Gulf News, your last question.

Marwa Hamad: Yeah. My last question would be, you know, going back to Above And Beyond, who do you think this movie is for?

Rory Kennedy: I think it’s for, you know, all humans on Earth. I think that this movie helps us understand our planet, it helps us understand our place in the universe, it’s hopefully entertaining, the engaging storytelling helps us also understand the – what’s happening with our planet and the urgency of protecting this planet, and what we humans can do to protect it. So, I, you know, I think it’s for a younger generation. You know, I’ve shown it to my children who – my youngest child in his class when he was nine or ten years old, and they ate it up, and I think it’s for them and the generations above to really understand what it means to explore, to go out into space, to challenge ourselves to do things that have never been done before, and it’s exciting on that level. And then I think it’s for older generations as well and people all – you know, this is not a film that is for people in the United States, even though NASA is an agency that was founded in the US – they’ve partnered with countries all over the world. And our understanding and knowledge comes from those partnerships, and that understanding and knowledge impacts all of us equally.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. Fatima, your last question.

Fatima Elidrissi: Yes. Well, unfortunately, Rory, [inaudible] John Kennedy or your father Bob Kennedy. So, I wanted to know if this documentary helped you get to know them better and what did you find out about them both, I mean professionally I assume, but also personally?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I would say that, you know, I’ve certainly become very intimate with the speech that my uncle gave at Rice University which I think was one of really his all-time great speeches he’s given – and has been given in history, frankly. And, you know, the [inaudible] to have that vision, you know, in 1962 to get us to the moon within the decade when we had no rocket ships that could get us outside of Earth’s atmosphere. We really had no knowledge of what it would mean to build the spacecraft, how it would impact astronauts, how we would get them back. You know, so I certainly have a deeper appreciation because of what that leadership moment entailed for my uncle, John F Kennedy, in the making of this.

But, I mean, frankly, my father was less involved in this particular endeavour. So, I did make a film called Ethel, about my mother, where that was more part of that journey.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. Last question from Turkey.

Demet Sarova: Yeah. My last question is about the documentary. What is the main enlightenment for the viewer, if we need to sum up?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I think that, you know, to me this film is really an opportunity to inspire people to understand what it means to explore, to go into outer space, to push human limits. And I think that is a great message that NASA has given to all of us over these many years. I think it also is an example of what happens when you have great leadership and when we work together not only within the United States but outside of the US and partner with people all over the world to tap into the best in all of us.

You know, in the – in his initial speech at Rice University, John F Kennedy said we choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it is easy but because it is hard, and because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills. And I think that speaks to this idea of tapping into the best in all of us to bring forth something greater than any individual can do alone. And I think that’s a poignant message for today. And then lastly, the, you know, the reminder of what these scientists are telling us in very scientific terms based on data of what is happening to our own planet. And I think that what one of the things NASA has learned over the years is in the exploration of our solar system and our galaxy and the universe, the further we’ve got now, the deeper we’ve gone into space the greater appreciation there has been for this planet and the preciousness of this planet and how unique it is; and, frankly, how unfriendly space is to humans.

So, you know, we only have this planet. And we have searched for life, and we have searched for other planets like this, and to date we haven’t found any. And I think the lesson there is, you know, in part, to do what we can to make sure we protect this planet.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Vanda, last question from you, please.

Vanda Marques: Yes, thank you. Your projects are very different, you have NASA, you talked about Ethel. But, in a way, they also connect in some political way [inaudible] world, human rights. How do you choose your projects, and also why did you become a director?

Rory Kennedy: Well, I can’t say there’s a total logic to my choices in filmmaking, films and subject matter other than they all are of great interest to me. You know, it’s hard to make a film; it’s hard to make a documentary.

Vanda Marques: Okay, thank you.

Rory Kennedy: It takes a good amount of time, at least a year – this one took two years. And I have young children and, you know, so I have to make those choices to leave my children to go do this kind of work. I mean, I do it for a range of reasons, but I really need to feel passionate about it and excited about it. So, they all have done that for me.

And I chose to become a filmmaker because I love storytelling, I think that it can really have an impact. And I think through these individual stories you can reach an audience on an emotional level, and help them understand issues and ideas through a true – you know, the human perspective that can be lasting and expand their knowledge, and also maybe their hearts a little to understanding, you know, and deepening their sense of compassion for others which I think we can all – you know, certainly it’s been my experience in making these films, and hopefully it translates in the screening of them.

Naomi Powell-Brown: And then finally, last question from Ludmilla from Russia, if you have any more questions.

Ludmilla Arinchina: You know, Rory, you answered all my questions in some way. So, thank you a lot.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Okay, perfect.

Rory Kennedy: And, I’d like to acknowledge with the Russians the amazing Soyuz. And it’s – I know it’s been a – I think, politically speaking, our countries haven’t – had struggled over the last many years but in space we do quite well.

Naomi Powell-Brown: Thank you. If any – for anyone else that’s still on the line, thank you so much for your time and patience today.

Rory Kennedy: Thank you all, nice talking to you.

Ludmilla Arinchina: Thank you, Rory.

Rory Kennedy: Bye.

Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 14 October 2018

M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 14 October 2018 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

 

 

KwaZulu-Natal Oncology Crisis

As the KZN Health Department continues to struggle to provide adequate oncology services in public facilities, a leaked report estimates that as many as 6000 to 8000 State patients are unable to access treatment and it would cost over R1 billion to fix the problems. With an estimated 500 people already dead due to the massive backlog of cancer care in the province and the demand for radiation oncology services only escalating, can the Department find solutions to put an end to this devastating crisis?

Producer: Carol Albertyn Christie
Presenter: Claire Mawisa

The Space Kingdom of Asgardia

A loopy fantasy for space nerds – or a legitimate thought experiment in how human life could be organised beyond earth? Named after the mythical Norse home of the gods, the Space Kingdom of Asgardia with the 273 647 citizens who have already signed up from around the world, was founded two years ago by Russian billionaire – former media and defence mogul Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, now the so-called Head of State. With a flag and anthem, Asgardia owns a bread loaf-sized piece of space real estate in the form of a satellite. The kingdom also projects a future where colonies might be formed on the moon or other celestial bodies – with the aim of examining how human society can exist without any of Earth’s conflicts. Carte Blanche meets South African Asgardians who are hoping to make their mark in space.

Producer: Michael Duffet
Presenter: Claire Mawisa
Watch the trailer

The OLX gang

What are the risks of advertising your vehicle for sale online? For some unsuspecting sellers it turned into a dangerous trap involving illicit diamonds, kidnapping and extortion by a highly organised gang. In a risky undercover sting operation, Carte Blanche joined forces with a specialised police unit to unmask and arrest a major syndicate specialising in violent hostage taking, diamond smuggling and robbery.

Producer: Graham Coetzer
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli

Climate Change

Global warming means the earth is getting hotter and hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent. Now, humanity may have to start preparing for a future, living in a hothouse, much sooner than we thought.  Climate research confirms what many experts have long been warning about: the earth might be on an irreversible path to a scorching future. But what does research conducted in the Arctic Circle tell us about how soon we’ll get there?  Carte Blanche explores the very real impact of global warming.

Producer: John Webb
Presenter: John Webb
Watch the trailer

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at www.carteblanche.co.za.

Facebook: Carte Blanche #CarteBlanche
Twitter: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche
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Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 7 October 2018

M-Net & M-Net HD [101], Sunday 7 October 2018 at 19:00 & again on M-Net Plus 1 [901] at 20:00

 

 

Fuel Hikes

Since January this year South Africans have experienced five fuel price increases and the October hike has brought the price to a record high of over R17 per litre. Experts say that the weaker rand and higher crude oil prices are some of the contributing factors and forecast another hike in November. But there is also the hidden cost of levies added to the fuel price, which have increased dramatically since 2008. Carte Blanche asks: what could be done to grant motorists some much-needed relief at the pumps?

Producer: Sophia Phirippides
Presenter: Derek Watts

Awaiting Trial Prisoners

Wrongfully arrested, not charged and left to sit in prison for years. That’s the nightmare facing thousands of awaiting-trial prisoners, who haven’t had their day in court. Under South African law, every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but with over-booked courts, a lack of State-sponsored lawyers and lost dockets, men and women who’ve been arrested for crimes they didn’t commit, can spend years languishing in the overburdened prison system. Carte Blanche investigates.

Producer: Tarryn Crossman
Presenter: Macfarlane Moleli
Watch the trailer

East Rand Police Brutality

Have Ekhuruleni police become a law unto themselves? Reports of motorists arrested on false charges, then extorted for bribes and assaulted by police while in custody, persist. Now Carte Blanche investigates the lawyer that some police officers recommend to get you out of jail or persuade the prosecutor to drop charges – all for a sizeable fee.

Producer: Kate Barry
Presenter: Devi Sankaree Govender
Journalist: Siniketiwe Hlanze
Watch the trailer

Gourmet Insects

With millions of people added to the world’s population every year, food production is not keeping up. Land for agriculture is diminishing and oceans are overfished. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates a billion people are chronically hungry and that insects, which offer valuable sources of fat, protein and fibre, could be the next viable source of nutrition.  Carte Blanche meets innovative local chefs who are creating gourmet insect recipes to prepare.

Producer: Stenette Grosskopf
Presenter: Claire Mawisa

Line-ups are subject to change. Stories can be viewed at www.carteblanche.co.za.

Facebook: Carte Blanche #CarteBlanche
Twitter: @carteblanchetv #CarteBlanche
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