Local Animation Film Khumba Makes History With SA DVD Release In Three Languages

Khumba and Thembi

In a first for South African film, ‘Khumba’ – the 3D, computer-animated adventure comedy –will be available on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans.The film, which took the number one position at the South African box office when it released theatrically, is still on circuit internationally and has been translated into over 20 foreign languages. The DVD will launch on 3 March and it’s the first time that Zulu children can watch an animated feature in their own language since Disney released a Zulu version of ‘The Lion King’ twenty years ago.

“Each language brings a whole new layer of humour and authenticity to the film,” says ‘Khumba’ director Anthony Silverston. “It’s been an incredible rewarding process to have the film translated, and it can now reach a bigger audience than ever on DVD.”

‘Khumba’ is the second animated feature produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, following the successful global release of ‘Adventures in Zambezia’. The film tells the story of Khumba, a zebra who has only half his stripes. When he is blamed for the drought by the rest of his herd, he sets off on a daring quest to earn his stripes. He meets a range of quirky characters and teams up with an unlikely duo: Mama V, an overprotective wildebeest, and Bradley, a flamboyant ostrich. But he also has to come face to face with Phango, a sadistic leopard who controls the waterholes and terrorises all the animals in the Great Karoo.

The New York Times Critics’ Pick called it “wondrous and slightly deranged”, while the Mail & Guardian said, “Packed with humour, folklore and absorbing characters, ‘Khumba’is a local offering of the highest calibre.”

The DVD features a number of extras, including the movie trailer, the music video “The Real Me” by Loyiso, a series of previously unreleased out takes called “Acting Out”, a character evolution which describes the personality of each of the animal characters, ‘The Karoo – A World of Difference’, and finally a glimpse into the development of Nora the sheep voiced by Catherine Tate in ‘Nora, a great partnersheep’.

“‘Khumba’ has all the makings of a classic tale: it’s well told, visually stunning and emotionally evocative,” says Helen Kuun. “It’s like‘The Lion King’ of the 21st century. “To be able to release a 3D animated film of this quality on DVD in English, isiZulu and Afrikaans is a major achievement.”

The English version features the voice of Liam Neeson as a malicious leopard, as well as the voices of Jake T Austin, Anna Sophia Robb, Laurence Fishburne and Steve Buscemi, among others.

In the isiZulu version, the role of Khumba is voiced by Siphiwe Nkosi, a singer and film, television and theatre actor best known for his role as the uncle of the title character in the popular SABC1 sitcom ‘Nomzamo’. The role of Nora the sheep is voiced by Gcina Mkhize, a familiar face form ‘Gaz’lam’‘eKasi’ and the SABC1 drama series ‘Intersexions’. Actress and voice artist Jessie Palmer takes on the role of bighearted wildebeest Mama V, while Bradley, the insecure ostrich, is voiced by gospel star Neyi Zimu.

The Afrikaans version features the voices of several well-known Afrikaans actors who will be familiar to local audiences. The voice over artists are directed by radio and television personality Bettie Kemp, who is herself an experienced voice artist, news reader and continuity announcer. Popular actor and comedian Hannes Brümmer provides the voice for Khumba, with Rika Sennet as his mother.Veteran voice artist and actor Francois Stemmet is the voice for the evil Phango. The meerkat dad is voiced by Afrikaans musician and actor Lochner de Kock, while the loony old sheep is voiced by cabaret star and actress Elzabé Zietsman. The dubbing of both the Afrikaans and isiZulu versions was done at Presto Post Production.

‘Khumba’ was in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market (MIFA), which took place in France from 10 to 15 June. This is one of the world’s premiere animation festivals and is attended by around 7000 animators and more than 400 journalist from around the world.

In addition, the film was screened and officially selected at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), held from 5-15 September 2013.It has also been sold to most of the major territories worldwide.

A film for everyone, ‘Khumba’ has been given a“Family-Approved” seal by The Dove Foundation, a US-based organisation that reviews movies and awards its stamp of approval to those deemed suitable for family viewing, giving it broad appeal.

The DVDwill be available in all good retail and rental stores from 3 March 2014.

Her: Review

It’s certainly clear to see why Her has garnered so many award nominations. Set in the not-too-distant future, we follow the story of Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), picking up where he is on the process of a bitter divorce.

Working for a company where he writes touching letters and greetings on behalf of others, he pours out his emotions in his work, but at home his complexities turn to a more simple, lonely existence. That is, until he installs a new operating system, named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

As Samantha ingests more and more data, so her personality develops, and eventually there is a romantic connection that develops between her and Theodore. This fact on it’s own may seem strange, but in the context of the story, it is totally understandable. Humans are not, for the most part, lone creatures, but rather seek company and emotional connection. With a highly intelligent artificial system, these needs are met. And in Her, they are met in sometimes humorous, and sometimes slightly awkward ways.

Her, a romance with a difference, and a totally plausible story that is sure to become a reality one day soon. Great entertainment, and an endearing story that viewers are sure to enjoy.

Her opens Friday , 14 February 2014, just in time to take that special someone out for a Valentines Day night.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (DVD): Review

The Film

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, two worlds, one story, juxtaposed, yet an ocean apart. A look at our persuit of a dream, and success, and the battle against equality.

The film follows Changez (Riz Ahmed) as he persues The American Dream, leaving his home in Pakistan and rising quickly through the ranks of power in a firm on Wall Street, yet as the events of September 11, 2001 strike, he finds the world polarised, and each side prejudiced towards the other.

Changez returns to Pakistan, and becomes embroiled in a hostage drama, his conflict of wanting The American Dream, and wanting to remain true to his homeland.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist shows a stark, real look at the two worlds, their similarities and their differences, and how one’s ideals or goals will inevitably affect the innocent.

An engrossing story, well portrayed.

The Disc

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, and so can be scaled via software to HD, but towards the latter part of the disc there were increasing screen artefacts, and even more disturbing some very loud audio pops. These are unfortunate, as they mar a very good story.

Audio does not make use of the surrounds, but the story, for the most part, does not lend itself to scenes that would be greatly enhanced by the surrounds.

There are no bonus features on the disc, which is a pity, as some insight in to the locations, and the events that form the background of the story, would have been most welcomed.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is available to purchase in South Africa now.

Mandela Long Walk To Freedom Brings History To Life For Students

Videovision Entertainment has joined forces with Pearson, the world’s leading learning company and home to Heinemann and Maskew Miller Longman, to give high school students the opportunity of a visual history lesson of the life and times of Nelson Mandela through the film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom which will form part of their CAPS Syllabus.

Pearson, in collaboration with Videovision Entertainment, developed high school worksheets based on the film which are CAPS-aligned and support the relevant content for the Social Sciences, History and English Language curricula.

“True to the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’, we have created a film that we hope will inspire people all over the world, especially the youth to uplift themselves and to find the ‘Mandela’ within,” said Anant Singh, Producer of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

“At Pearson we believe in all kinds of learning for all kinds of people. We wanted to honour the legacy of Madiba and his extraordinary life in a way that would benefit learners across South Africa. What better way than creating educationally sound, curriculum aligned worksheets based on his life, and making them available for free”, said Gary Broom, Marketing Director for Schools at Pearson South Africa.

Learners will be able to use existing Social Sciences and History knowledge, challenging them to think critically about the historical events that shaped South Africa as we know it today; the worksheets provide an opportunity for learners to develop and apply Reading and Viewing, Language Structures and Conventions and Listening and Speaking skills while gaining insight into the life of a very important South African historical icon; the film will also provide learners with an opportunity to visually experience the exceptional life of Nelson Mandela, inspiring them while they are engaged in an educational activity.

How do the worksheets work? The worksheets will be available for download on the Classroom Solutions website www.classroomsolutions.co.za. The questions in the worksheets support the curriculum relevant to the learners’ grade, allowing them to take home not only information relevant to their studies, but also a deeper understanding of Mandela’s personal struggles while fighting for freedom in South Africa.

To make a school group booking at a discounted rate, contact:

SterKinekor: Nerisha Maharaj email: nerisham@sterkinekor.com or Tel: 011 445 8589

NuMetro: Phyllis Lebeloane email: phyllisLe@numetro.co.za  or Tel: 011 2803912

CineCentre: Hafsa or Luchanta email: cinecentrecallcentre@mwebbiz.co.za or Tel: 0861 246 300

Group bookings must be made at least 10 days in advance and even if the film is not showing at any convenient cinema for the school, SterKinekor, NuMetro and CineCentre will make arrangements to have the film re-scheduled to screen for the school booking.

For Pearson worksheet enquiries:

Camilla Costa
Pearson
Tel: 021 532 6122
Email:  Camilla.costa@pearson.com

For any information on the film, please visit the website: www.mandelamovie.co.za

Acting For Film – Level 3 With Grant Swanby

ACT Cape Town

10 February – 19 March

The level 3 course hones the technical skills required to act in front of a camera for film and television. The course culminates in the performance of a scene for filming.

Course will cover:
The tools needed to further develop a performance on screen and the understanding of the technical aspects of film production
Including:

  • Film production, terms and conditions
  • Exploring shot size and angle
  • Economy of performance
  • Recap three ‘R’s and beats and actions
  • Status
  • Continuity
  • Understanding self
  • Need versus want
  • Alba emoting
  • Knowing what to expect on the set

Course Schedule:
3 hours per class, twice per week, for six weeks

Entry Requirements:
Acting for Film – Level 2 / Equivalent in Industry Experience

Cost:
R5450.00 (includes all training material, DVD of final filmed performance and certificate of completion)

Contact ACT Cape Town on (021) 419-7007 or email info@actcapetown.co.za to book your space. Places are limited.

The Smurfs 1 And 2 (Double DVD): Review

The Smurfs 1 – The Film

The first in the series of films combining live action with very detailed CG animation, and a superb job at that.

When evil wizard Gargamel finds his way into the Smurf Village, the Smurfs escape, but some take a wrong turn and end up in the streets of New York, where adventure begins as they try find their way back home, and away from Gargamel.

Meeting Patrick, a New Yorker, they form a symbiotic relationship, where each helps the other in an important stage in their lives, helping each other grow and achieve their goals.

The film is incredibly detailed as far as the Smurf Village goes, and the CG animation is superb, with vibrant colours bringing not only the real-life locations to life, but breathing life into those little blue creatures.

The Smurfs has a little something for all, young and old, serious and silly. An adventure for everyone.

The Smurfs 2 – The Film

Read the SAMDB Smurfs 2 film review.

The Smurfs 1 – The Dic:

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning no artefacts are visible on screen, and it can be scaled up to HD via software. The sound make abundent use of the surrounds, totally immersing the viewer in the on-screen action.

As for bonus features, there is an abundance of these, from a music video all the way to technical details on how the Smurfs were animated, complimenting the films broad appeal, so that everyone from filmmakers to children will have something of interest to learn. With the quality and number of extra features in the disc, this puts so many other titles, who couldn’t be bothered, to shame.

Smurfs 2 – The Disc

The Smurfs 2 disc is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning image is crisp and clear, and can be scaled up via software to HD. It also makes great use of the surround channels, wrapping the viewer in the Smurf world.

There are slightly fewer extra features this time, and they are a bit shorter in length, but provide some insight into the creative process, the work that went into the animation of the characters, and a little bit into the deeper story of emotion and belonging portrayed by the story.

Smurfs 1 and 2 are available on disc in South Africa now, with a limited time double pack.

Disney On Ice Returns To South Africa This July

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends from Disney’s Mulan, The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Toy Story, take to the ice for a grand celebration in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. Produced by Feld Entertainment, this fanfare production features more than 60 unforgettable Disney stars that span the decades, a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music, stunning choreography, elaborate sets and beautiful costumes will be in South Africa for the July school holidays.

Brought to South Africa by local promoter, Showtime Management in association with DSTV, Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic opens on Friday, 11 July 2014 at the Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg and runs until Sunday, 20 July 2014. Thereafter the production moves to the GrandWest Arena, Cape Town for 11 shows only from Wednesday, 23 to Sunday, 27 July 2014. “Showtime is extremely excited to bring Disney On Ice to South Africa.  This production – 100 Years of Magic – is a jewel in the Disney On Ice crown and will surely transport both kids and parents alike into the wonderful enchanting world of Disney.” says Tony Feldman of Showtime Management. Tickets are on sale now at Computicket.

Disney on Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic in a once-in-a-lifetime skating spectacular that brings together the legacy of Disney in the tradition of Disney on Ice quality that has entertained more that 135 million guests worldwide to date! With features from seven blockbuster all-time favourite movies;  The Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Finding Nemo that have a worldwide box office total of over 2 billion dollars and are listed in the Top 100 Movies Ever Worldwide by www.the-movie-times.com, Disney On Ice is not-to-be-missed family entertainment!

Disney fans of all ages will be singing along and clapping to many of the 24 memorable Disney tunes such as “When you wish upon a star” from Pinocchio; “A whole new world” from Aladdin; “Can you feel the love tonight?” and “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King and “You’ve got a friend in me” from Toy Story.

With Mickey and Minnie leading the fun, audiences enjoy breathtaking production numbers choreographed by Emmy Award®-winner Sarah Kawahara.  Kawahara previously worked with Michelle Kwan and choreographed the skating segment for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Complementing Kawahara’s fabulous skate sequences are the memorable tunes compiled by music directors Art Kempel and Stan Beard that bring the wonderful memories of Disney to life on ice. Scenic Designer David Potts and Lighting Designer LeRoy Bennett create the mood and settings that showcase extraordinary Disney moments.

Outfitting this cast of more than 60 characters was the challenge facing Costume Designer Scott Lane. His dazzling designs range from Mickey’s Marching Band, to the “It’s a Small World” dolls, to the stars of Mulan and Finding Nemo. The bright colors and minimal structure in the Nemo costumes allow the characters to move freely in order to mimic the natural movement in water.  Renowned designer Bob Mackie also lends his talents to a red sequined evening gown worn by Minnie.

Scenic Designer David Potts, who has worked on numerous Broadway productions, creates a theatrical atmosphere on ice. Skaters weave around and enliven the “It’s a Small World” sequence amidst sparkling floats that turn into a radiant light parade; a blanket of snow and an avalanche fall as Mulan battles the Huns; and a giant present is opened to reveal Buzz Lightyear as he’s first introduced to that favorite toy cowboy, Woody and his pal Jessie.

Don’t miss this wonderful Disney entertainment skating spectacular. Join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pumbaa and their many Disney friends in celebrating 100 Years of Magic! Book now at Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or your nearest Computicket service centre. To discover more about Disney On Ice, log on to www.disneyonice.com, or visit us on Facebook and YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG SHOW INFORMATION

 VENUE:
Coca Cola Dome

SHOW DATES AND TIMES:
11 to 20 July 2014
Friday, 11 July 3pm,
Tuesday 15 July, Wednesday 16 July and Thursday, 17 July – 3pm
Friday 18 July; Saturday 12 & 19 July; Sunday 13 & 20 July  – 10am & 2pm

PRICES:
Midweek – R175,  R250, R 300, R450 per person inclusive
Weekend – R200, R275, R350, R500 per person inclusive

BOOKINGS:
Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket outlet.

GROUP BOOKINGS:
20% Discount on groups of 20 and more
Only valid for second and third price categories
Bookings through Computicket call centre

FAMILY PACKAGES:

WEEKENDS

Family Packages

R275.00*

R350.00*

SAVING

4 Tickets less R50 per ticket

R900.00

R1200.00

R200.00

5 Tickets less R 50 per ticket

R1125.00

R1550.00

R250.00

6 Tickets  less R 50 per ticket

R1350.00

R1800.00

R300.00

*Only valid for two categories as indicated

MIDWEEK

Family Packages

R250.00*

R300.00*

SAVING

4 Tickets less R50 per ticket

R800.00

R1000.00

R200.00

5 Tickets less R 50 per ticket

R1000.00

R1250.00

R250.00

6 Tickets  less R 50 per ticket

R1200.00

R1500.00

R300.00

*Only valid for two categories as indicated

CAPE TOWN SHOW INFORMATION

VENUE:
Grand Arena, Grand West

 SHOW DATES AND TIMES:
24 to 27 July 2014
Wednesday, 23 July, Thursday 24, July – 2pm
Friday, 25 July – 2pm, 6pm
Saturday 26 July and Sunday 27 July – 10am & 2pm

PRICES:
All Shows – R150, R250, R350

BOOKINGS:
Computicket by calling 0861 915 8000, visit www.computicket.com or visit your nearest Computicket outlet.

GROUP BOOKINGS:
20% Discount on groups of 20 and more – all performances
Bookings through Computicket call centre

FAMILY PACKAGES:

Family Packages

R250.00*

R350.00*

SAVING

4 Tickets less R50 per ticket

R800.00

R1200.00

R200.00

5 Tickets less R 50 per ticket

R1000.00

R1550.00

R250.00

6 Tickets  less R 50 per ticket

R1200.00

R1800.00

R300.00

*Only valid for two categories as indicated

The South African National Dance Trust Calls For Auditions For Spartacus

Veronica Paeper, Artistic Director and Choreographer for The South African National Dance Trust (SANDT) will be holding auditions for professional dancers for her brand new production of Spartacus (Spartacus of Africa), due to grace South African stages in 2015.

The legend of Spartacus is based on an uprising of Roman slaves and was first written as a ballet in 1956. Paeper’s original version was staged in Cape Town in 1984.  It is the story of a man taken into slavery, humiliated and deprived of his dignity, for whom freedom is an ideal so precious that he is prepared to die for it.

“This initial audition is for professional, athletic and dynamic classical ballet and contemporary dancers (male and female), and will take place in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.” says Paeper. Additional auditions will be held for dance students, which will be called for and held at a separate time.

Dancers wanting to audition for Spartacus should email robyntaylor@iafrica.com requesting an audition in the city of their preference, by 20 February 2014. Applications should include a 1 page CV, together with a full colour headshot and a full length shot. Any emails and CV’s not complying with the above-mentioned guidelines will not be considered. The audition dates, times and details will be confirmed via email.

Proposed dates for initial auditions will be between 7 – 20 March 2014. Dancers applying for Spartacus must be available between 2 February 2015 – 26 July 2015. The production is due to be staged in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Robocop: Review

There are two groups of people who will go see the new Robocop reboot: those who have not seen the original, and are in for an action packed ride, and then those who have seen the original, and who will be treated to an updated take on the old story, a more serious look at the character, with some finesse for good measure.

Set in the year 2028, police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is gunned down, and chosen by OmniCorp (a division of OCP) to be the first in a new line of robot, one with a human brain, one that can think and empathise.

There are way too many remakes, and reboots, that are being pushed out by the studios, and with those comes the inevitable comparison to the old. Does the new Robocop pull the reboot of successfully? it’s more serious, the effects have been updated, and there is more emotion. This film explore the family aspect of Murphy, his loss, as well as that of his family, and the sense of betrayal when fellow officers have become corrupt.

The characters are perfect cast to keep a feel for the original, plus there are several homages to the first part-man, part-police officer in carnation. Updated effects give us an adrenaline rush through chases and gunfights.

Robocop, an update to a classic, but which can just as well stand on it’s own as a fun filled look at where things may be in the near future.

Robocop opens 7 February 2013 in South Africa.

Red 2 (BluRay): Review

The Film

Red 2, the second outing in the comedic action series with Frank Moses. Read the SAMDB Red 2 review of the cinema release.

BluRay brings this film to life, with the added detail and 7.1 sound, the only way to enjoy a fast paced action movie.

The Disc And Bonus Features

It’s great to see a title released that makes use of the added features and storage BluRay allows.

There are a host of added features, with deleted scenes, and a brief gag real. The fun and more informative section comes in the form of the documentary The Red 2 Experience, where we are given detailed background on the cast, with each actors take on their charater. There is a segment on all the weapons, and this being an action movie, will appeal to action and weapons buffs alike. Another segment details with the gadgets and spy-tech presented,  and not just that which we have become accustomed to, but the more bizzare items created by the slightly off-beat characters. Finally, a segment on the stunts of the film, although providing only a slight look at these.

The disc quality is superb, being encoded at a high bitrate, there are no artefacts on screen, and at 1080p the detail is fine and the colours vibrant. Sound is a 7.1 mix and makes full use of the surrounds.

A few of the added features did have small issues automatically navigating from one segment to the next, but with all the varied hardware available on which to watch the disc, this is bound to happen on a few players.

The Red 2 disc is available in stores now.

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