The Write Journey Weekend Workshop In Cape Town & Johannesburg

The Write Journey Weekend Workshop for screenwriters
Cape Town AUG 31 & Sept 1           Johannesburg SEPT 7 and 8
Master the art of plotting your story
Define and develop your premise, concept, theme and characters
Take ownership of the writing process.

It has never been a better time to be a screenwriter in South Africa and if you’re a storyteller with a vivid imagination whose ideas are larger than life, The Write Journey weekend workshop for screenwriters is guaranteed to turn words into big screen action in Cape Town on August 31 and September 1, and in Johannesburg on September 7 and 8 from 10am until 6pm on both days.

The Write Journey looks at mastering the art of plotting your story, defining and developing your premise, concept, theme and characters and taking ownership of the writing process.

Hosted by The Writing Studio in Cape Town, and Annie Malan Promotions in Johannesburg, the motivational and inspirational workshop explores the art of visual narrative and the fundamentals of successful storytelling.

Within ONE WEEKEND budding screenwriters will understand the principles of writing for a visual medium and what it takes to be screenwriter in South Africa.

The workshop is ideal for ANYONE with an idea for a story. If there is something or someone you want to write about this is your opportunity to turn thoughts into words.  Ideas are transformed into concepts that will be reworked into visual narrative filled with action, description and vibrant characters.

This outcome-based workshop examines the principles of writing for film or television and explores the writing process, developing characters and mastering the art of structure.

It is a basic workshop that explores the art of storytelling and the craft of writing a universal story that reflects the uniqueness, history and culture of South Africa and Africa.

It’s about writers connecting with the process of writing productively in their comfort zones and producing South African stories the world wants to experience.

The duality of the interactive workshop nurtures creativity: it allows the writer to write instinctively and take an introspective journey into story; it also stimulates writers to write stories connected to their unique cultures, communities, history and experience that reflect the universal human condition.

The workshop is ideal for novelists, journalist and writers who would like to master the art of adapting stories into a visual medium.

Following the workshop, the writers will be guided through the process of developing their screenplays through The Write Agency, and get their drafts shaped for the international film, television and publishing markets.

The workshop is presented by Daniel Dercksen, a local writer, playwright, movie journalist and Education, Training and Development Practitioner. As a freelance journalist for more than 30 years, and published playwright, Dercksen is a qualified ETD Practitioner (Education, Training and Development) – accredited by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority) – working in accordance with the principles of the Department of Education and focusing on outcomes-based education, training and development.

Following in the tradition of 19 years of workshop throughout South Africa, including masterclasses at the Sithengi Film and TV Market’s Talent Campus, the 2012 International Kunjanimation Animation Festival, community workshops at the Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu as part of their annual Kwa Mashu Film Festival. On August 24 Daniel will present a talk on screenwriting and selling yourself as a writer for 48HFP Producer South Africa at the 48HFP Emerging Filmmakers conference at the SABC.

Graduates of previous workshops include award-winning playwrights Neil Coppen (winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre, 2011, as well as the Naledi Award for Best South African Play, Abnormal Loads, 2013), filmmakers John Barker (Spud 3: Learning to Fly, Bunny Chow and How To Steal a Million), and Henk Pretorius (Bakgat, Fanie Fourie Se Lobola), novelists Lauren Beukes (Zoo City, Spinning Girl), Gary Hirson (The Magic That is Ours and Calm in Storm), and Consuelo Roland (Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award and received an Honorary mention for the Olive Schreiner Prize for her novel The Good Cemetery Guide).

The weekend workshop for screenwriters in Cape Town on August 31 and September 1 takes place at The Writing Studio in Cape Town, and on September 7 and 8 the weekend workshop takes place at Annie Malan Promotions at Willowview, Burnside Isle, 410 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park. Both workshops take place from 10am until 6pm.

To register and for the full agenda, visit or email

Pain & Gain: Review

From renowned director Michael Bay, comes a rather intriguing comedic, crime, dramatic thriller. With the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie and Tony Shalhoub, not to mention, Ed Harris.

The story follows a trio of bodybuilders in Florida who get caught up in an extortion ring, and a kidnapping scheme. It’s at this point, the thrills and comedic situations make their appearance. This is not a ‘laugh a minute’ comedy, but instead, from the situations the trio set up, and think they can succeed in. The film is based on the true story of Daniel Lugo, a Miami bodybuider who wanted to live the American dream, and wanted all the money others had worked for.

The characters are brilliantly cast, the story endearing, and the story solid. You want to route for them, and deep down you feel sorry for them, but yet, you don’t want them to have an easy ride.

Pain & Gain is a great film in which to relax, and enjoy a piece of a great story telling.

Sexual Perversity In Chicago By David Mamet

Sexual Perversity In ChicagoDavid Mamet’s notorious one-act dark comedy filled with profanity and regional jargon that reflects the working-class language of 1970s Chicago. A young couple, illustrator Deborah (Melissa Haiden) and office manager Danny (Alistair Moulton Black), fall in love but their relationship soon suffers horribly through their suspicion-sowing “best friends”, sexist-ranting macho, Bernie (Pierre Malherbe), and cynical elementary school teacher, Joan (Marlisa Doubell). Heading up the team is Fleur du Cap Life-Time Achievement Award-Winning director, Professor Chris Weare.

This was Mamet’s first hit play that put him on the map as a playwright in 1974 – and shocked Chicago in the process! By today’s standards, the play is rather tame, but certainly addresses timeless issues such as the misunderstandings that can complicate sexual relationships and the way some people wreck others’ happiness in the name of saving it.

This masterpiece, with undercurrents of loneliness, hope, and tragedy, forms part of the national curriculum for Drama and Literature in many states of America and is studied world-wide.

Hot on the heels from the Edinburgh Festival, where he directed two shows, Professor Chris Weare returns to South Africa to tour ‘Vigil’ and direct ‘Sexual Perversity in Chicago’ for the Sugar-daddy Theatre Company.

Newly established in 2010, Sugar-daddy is a boutique theatre company based in Cape Town, which seeks to make independent theatre possible by way of sponsorship and profit-share.

Sugar-daddy was awarded the ‘People’s Choice’ Fleur Du Cap earlier this year for their 2012 production ‘I am Hamlet’.

Venue:  Intimate Theatre, 37 Orange Street, Cape Town
Dates: 21st September – 5th October 2013, 8pm (excluding Sundays, Mondays, and Public holidays)
Price: R80 (Students/Pensioners/SAGA Members R70)
Strictly no under 18s
Tickets available through Computicket
Stand-by tickets available at the door on the night (full price only)
Special Offers: ‘Early Bird’ tickets, R50, available through Computicket
‘Half Price Tuesday’, R40, on Tuesday, 1st October.

Melissa Haiden, Alistair Moulton Black, Pierre Malherbe, Marlisa Doubell

Chris Weare

Khumba To Compete With World’s Best At Toronto International Film Festival Kids Programme

Khumba The Movie

Cape Town-based Triggerfish partners Anthony Silverston and Stuart Forrest will soon be heading to the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where the company’s second animated feature film Khumba will compete with some of the best international children’s films in the TIFF Kids programme.  This will also be the film’s North American premiere following its world premiere in France where Khumba was selected in competition at Annecy and its African launch at 2013 Durban International Film Festival last month.

Khumba follows the adventures of a young zebra born with only half his stripes. When his superstitious herd blame him for the sudden drought affecting the land, Khumba teams up with a sassy wildebeest and a flamboyant ostrich to find the legendary waterhole where the first zebras got their stripes. On his daring quest across the Great Karoo desert, Khumba meets a host of quirky characters and comes face-to-face with a tyrannical leopard in an epic battle to earn his stripes.

The 38th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5 to 15, 2013 and continues to shine a spotlight on international children’s films.  The festival line-up consists of five family-friendly titles from around the world representing a diverse range of cultural perspectives.  The themes explored include courage, camaraderie, love and acceptance and are aimed at both young and young at heart festival goers.

The 5 films selected for TIFF Kids are: Amazonia (Thierry Ragobert, France/Brazil, North American Premiere), Antboy (Ask Hasselbalch, Denmark, World Premiere), Khumba (Anthony Silverston, South Africa, North American Premiere), The World of Goopi and Bagha(Shilpa Ranade, India, World Premiere), Zip and Zap and The Marble GangI (Oskar Santos, Spain, World Premiere).

Khumba has already been sold to over 40 territories by LA-based sales agent Cinema Management Group with a few deals on major territories yet to be finalised at Toronto. The film releases in South Africa in both English and Afrikaans on October 25th and will then roll out through the rest of the world.

Triggerfish’s first animated film “Adventures in Zambezia” has released successfully across the world and opened widely in France this week as “Droles d’Oseaux”. Last week “Adventures in Zambezia” won the Best Children’s Feature at Anima Mundi in Rio, Brazil.

Khumba will be released in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.

Official Site:

The Heat: Review

The first female buddy cop movie since Feds, The Heat takes you on a ride, with a double feature of action and friendship. There are some of the tried and tested plot out-comes, but there are a few twists to keep you guessing.

Sandra Bullock brings a dose of her lovable, girl-next-door personality to the role as FBI agent Ashburn, while Melissa McCarthy brings a bit of rawness to her character in the foul-mouthed, brash detective Mullins. There is tangible chemistry on-screen between the two stars, and it’s this that forgives the naivety of Ashburn, or the crass of Mullins.

The Heat has it share of action, and a huge helping of laughs. Thankfully these are not silly, slapstick, but the film brings an intelligent story to the viewer.

The Heat, a fun afternoon when you’re looking for a laugh, and a good story.

Celebrity Acting Coach Michelle Danner Will Teach Golden Box In Cape Town

Celebrity Acting Coach to the Stars Michelle Danner is Traveling to South Africa to Teach! She will be holding 2 Master Acting Intensives Golden Box and the Junior Workshop at The Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town on September 20 – 22. Aspiring local actors can sign up for the class at or contact The Waterfront Theatre.

Students will learn:
How an actor can increase their booking ratio by taking the Golden Box intensive. Michelle Danner’s technique encompasses the following: Meisner, Strasberg, Adler, Hagen, Chekhov & the Stanislavsky Technique.
“Learn how to create vivid, fleshed out, and interesting characters through an intense and emotional workshop with lectures and technique exercises.”

Michelle Danner works with many A-List actors privately and on set including Chris Rock, Gerard Butler, Seth MacFarlane, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Salma Hayek, Brian McKnight, James Franco, Christian Slater, Zooey Deschanel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Henry Cavill and among many others.

In addition to coaching actors, Michelle has directed and acted in over 30 plays and musicals in Los Angeles and New York, and she has directed two films. Hello Herman, starring Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), opened on June 7, 2013 in nationwide with simultaneous availability on VOD in 100 million homes.


If any participants would like to study in Los Angeles, The Michelle Danner Acting Studio at Edgemar Center for the Arts offers sponsorship to international students who aspire to begin, improve, or polish their acting skills set, and expand their acting resumes. Through the M1 Visa Program International, actors are able to study & work in beautiful Santa Monica CA and take individual acting classes and a 6- or 12-month well-rounded actor training.

Michelle Danner Cape Town

For additional information about Michelle or Edgemar Center for the Arts, visit and

Universal Pictures International Breaks Record For Biggest Year Ever At International Box Office

Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced that with yesterday’s film grosses, the studio has earned more than $1.8 billion at the international box office making it UPI’s biggest year in history.  UPI’s success has been propelled by hits such as Les Misérables, ($293 million) Fast & Furious 6($544.4 million) and Despicable Me 2 ($410 million) and also by the solid performance of films like Mama ($75.9 million) and Oblivion ($197.1 million).  Currently, UPI has the second and third highest grossing films both internationally and worldwide with Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2.  UPI’s previous record was set in 2012 when the studio grossed $1.794 billion for the year. The studio has 14 films yet to be released by UPI in 2013 including three wide releases and 11 others in select territories.

2013 international highlights include:

  • Universal Pictures films dominated the worldwide box office on six weekends in 2013 including Oblivion’s No. 1 opening, Fast 6 which was No. 1 twice and Despicable Me 2 which was No. 1 worldwide for three weeks.
  • Fast & Furious 6 opened No. 1 in 65 territories and was Universal’s biggest opening of all-time in 41 of those markets.  The film also provided the studio with its highest opening weekend ever at the international box office. Fast 6 is the second highest-grossing film of 2013 and Universal’s second highest-grossing film of all-time behindJurassic Park.
  • Despicable Me 2 is the highest-grossing animated film of the year. It opened No. 1 in 41 territories and is Universal’s highest grossing film of all time in 15 of those territories.
  • Les Misérables is the second highest-grossing musical overseas and worldwide behind Universal’s Mamma Mia!  
  • Oblivion opened in the No. 1 spot in 49 territories and was Tom Cruise’s biggest opening of all-time in Russia and Indonesia.
  • Mama, a film driven by Universal Pictures International Production group (UPIP) had tremendous success in Latin territories including holding the No. 1 spot in Spain for an impressive three-week period.
  • UPI has also had success with its locally-produced productions, including Argentina’s Foosball which has grossed $11.2 million and held the No. 1 position for three weeks in that territory.

Read more about Universal Studios.

Vehicle 19: Q&A With Gys De Villiers

With the release of Vehicle 19 on 9 August 2013, SAMDB had the opportunity to speak to cast member, and ‘bad guy’ Gys De Villiers, who plays Detective Smith.

Gys, you’ve been a prescence on our screens for a while now, from South African classics like Boetie Gaan Border Toe, to the recent Jimmy In Pienk. Many of your roles take on a position of authority; someone in the military, the police, or a doctor. Where does your heart lie? In comedy or drama? Or does each genre have its merits?

My heart lies in Drama more, also because those are the parts that have come my way more. Comedy is a very difficult genre and I do not think us South Africans have cracked it in film or TV. On stage we get it right. I would still have to learn a lot before I can think to be a comic.

You’ve had the opportunity to observe how South African television and cinema have changed over the years. Where do you see it going in the future?

I would hope that the budgets can get bigger so as to allow us more creative time on the floor. It is usually such a rush just to get it in the can, because the producers also want to make their profit, that there is very little time to explore. I would also like mentorship to play a bigger role. Now with new technology any youngster can pick up a camera and have a go at it, but I would love it if they ask older more established people to show them the way.

Detective Smith and Buks / Frederique will both be on our screens shortly, and yet seem like total opposites. What process do you go through before a role? How do you prepare for a role such as the corrupt Detective Smith? Tell us a bit about Detective Smith.

I try to read up about subjects and of course now the script inside out. But as an actor I deal in emotions and that is what the audience sees. So with the script, my director and fellow actors, I try to be true in every moment and build the story moment by moment. Detective Smith is a small part, but he represents quite a large group of people. He is a scared individual, he is scared of losing his position, his right to exist, and he is scared of change. He is corrupt and vicious. He is desperate. He is an arsehole.

What of yourself do you bring to your roles? And what is your dream role?

I bring my own wealth of life experience. I bring my honesty, my passion and my commitment.

South African film is constantly improving as we see more local productions reaching the international market. Are we on the right track to continue this great trend?

Yes we are on the right track, what I find most heart-warming is that we are making different genre movie. Be it Wovedance, Ferraaiers, Blits patrollie, Material or Sleepers Wake. All very different and all good enough for the international market.

We’ll be seeing you later this year in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and on TV in the mini-series Dinkerland. What’s next for you?

Yes in Long Walk I played former president FW DE Klerk, this was a wonderful experience. Idris did a sterling job of portraying Mandela and this made us all rise to the occasion. In Donkerland I play a patriarch of a clan, this too was a wonderful experience, being part of a historical Drama, was right up my street. Right now I am shooting on a new series for SABC called Geraamtes in die kas, this is like In therapy and deals with psychologists and their patience. I am also touring a one man show called Wit Manne Se Wapens. This is a translation of White Men with Weapons written by Greig Coetzee. We are going to festivals, this piece is helping people to heal their wound on the old army days.

Any advice for those entering the industry?

Learn to make your own work. Be courage’s and bold. Work hard, stay humble and be kind to crew.

Read the SAMDB Vehicle 19 and Jimmy In Pienk reviews here.

Elnora En Nirvana

From writer, designer, director, performer: Nieke Lombard with Chanmari Erasmus

Elnora‘Elnora en Nirvana’ is a three time award winning production that tells the story of an old woman, Elnora whom is a sponge and material puppet. Elnora reminisces every day about her past and life together with her spirit, Nirvana. Her inner child makes an appearance in her reminiscence, as the clock keeps on ticking…

Van Rensburg Pathologist Prize for Best Free State Production 2012 Vryfees

Nominated for Best Debut Production Vryfees 2012 together with ‘Oskar en die Pienk Tannie’ solo piece with Sandra Prinsloo

Winner of the Herrie-kanna for Ground Breaking work 2013 KKNK, nominated with Nicola Hanekom ‘Trippie’, Jaco Bouwer ‘Balbesit’

Winner of Slurpie-kanna for Best Upcoming Artist (‘Elnora & Nirvana’, ‘Pruttel’) 2013 KKNK

“A journey of life that encompasses unusual elements, that in a short time unfolds stirringly in front of you. Lombard must not just be complimented for her manipulation of puppets (excellently supported by Chanmari Erasmus) but definitely also for an excellent debut text”. Volksblad 2012


“Nieke Lombard controls her movements, her voice and her puppets with sensitivity and care as she leads us through a simple yet emotive journey. It is the way that she handles the puppets and particularly the way that she relates to Elnora that we are quickly drawn in to the memories that she creates. With a background of carefully selected mood music, we rapidly feel for the aging Elnora as she approaches the end of her life in a dignified way”.  Dawn Haynes Musho 2013

“Moving, meaningful and eminently watchable, Elnora and Nirvana was a highlight of Musho! 2013”.Gisele Turner – Going Places Musho 2013

Afrikaans text
Adult Puppetry
Rosebank Theatre
16 Alma Road, Rosebank
14 – 16 August 2013
Bookings at

Vehicle 19: Review

Car guy Paul Walker returns in this South African thriller about a guy, Michael Woods, who is mistakenly given the wrong rental car, meant for an assassin.

This drags Michael into a world of corruption, crime and double crossing, when he finds Rachel (Naima McLean). Rachel is set to testify against a group of corrupt cops, and those cops are intent on stopping her, and now Michael. Enter Detective Smith, played by Guys de Villiers as the despicable protagonist.

Vehicle 19 is a high speed car chase through the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, giving the viewer a glimpse of life in that city, and a hint at the varying cultures and personalities you’d encounter.

The driving is great, and the stunts don’t disappoint, especially when you know they are performed by Walker himself.

Vehicle 19 is a great chance to give your mind a break from daily life, and catch an adrenaline rush!! It opens 8 August 2013 in cinemas.

Watch for the cast Q&A soon!!

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