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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.

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Interview

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.

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Theatre

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

Elnora3

“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
20:00
R100
Bookings at webtickets.co.za

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Film Review

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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Festival

Award-winners Announced At 34th Durban International Film Festival

The 34th edition of the Durban International Film Festival, with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund,  this evening (Saturday, July 27) announced its award-winners, prior to the screening of the closing film Free Angela – And All Political Prisoners at the Suncoast CineCentre Cinema. Presenting the award for Best Feature Film to the film The Land of Hope, the International Jury commended Sion Sono for a film that “masterfully and humbly draws together an array of cinematic means of expression to engage us in a story”. The Best Feature Film award carries with it a cash prize of R50 000.

The international Jury, which comprised of Egyptian curator and festival programmer Sherif Awad, renowned festival programmer Paolo Bertolin, South African filmmaker Sarah Blecher, film curator June Givanni and South African actress Hlubi Mboya, also awarded Best South African Feature Film to South African filmmaker Andrew Worsdale for his film Durban Poison. The Best South African Feature Film award carries with it a cash prize of R30 000.

International Jury member, June Givanni on behalf of the International Jury also gave reason as to why the film directed by Jahmil XT Qubeka could not be considered for competition by saying “As a jury, we were privileged to be taken on a global journey through cinema, and we would like to thank Peter Machen and the Film Festival programmers for this great hounor. However, we have to express our regret that this journey could not include the South African competition entry OF GOOD REPORT, which the Film and Publication Board did not license for public screening in time for us to take it into consideration. The jury is saddened and concerned about the limitations to freedom of expression that are still in force on the continent and beyond, but we are glad that on this occasion the decision has been over-turned.

Festival accolades for Of Good Report

Following the refusal to classify the Opening Night Film Of Good Report, the Film and Publications Board reversed their decision and gave the film an R-Rating of 16 this afternoon (Saturday, July 27). The film was not screened in any of its allocated slots as a result of the refusal for classification and so could not be in competition. The Durban International Film Festival acknowledged the film’s achievements in stimulating worldwide debate and highlighting important issues in South African society. Festival manager Peter Machen therefore announced a new annual award for Artistic Bravery, the first of which was given to Of Good Report director, Jahmil XT Qubeka. Of Good Report will now be screened a preview on the last day of the festival (Sunday, July 28) at 12h00 at Suncoast CineCentre.

Professor Cheryl Potgieter also gave special mention and a prize to Festival Manager Peter Machen for his outstanding work during the festival and acknowledging his contribution to the festival as a whole. The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities also touched on the currently vacant post of the Centre for Creative Arts Directorship stating that the position is currently being advertised and that an appointment would be happening soon.

The full list of awards is:

  • Best Short Film – Mercy (dir. Eliza Subotowicz)
  • Best South African Short Film – The Brave Unseen (dir. Duan Myburgh)
  • Best Documentary Film – Far out isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (dir. Brad Bernstein)
  • Special Mention: Best Documentary Film – I Am Breathing (dir. Emma Davie and Morag McKinonn)
  • Best South African Documentary Film – Angel’s In Exile (dir. Billy Raftery)
  • Special Mention: Best South African Documentary Film – Orania (dir. Tobias Lindner)
  • Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin)
  • Audience Choice Best Film – Felix (dir. Roberta Durrant)
  • Audience Choice Best Documentary – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin)
  • Audience Choice Best Wavescapes Film – Stand (dir. Anthony Bonello and Nicolas Teichrob)
  • Audience Choice Best WildTalk Film – 2 Wings Many Prayers (dir. Lloyd Ross)
  • Best Feature Film – The Land of Hope (dir. Sion Sono)
  • Best First Feature Film – Wadjda (dir. Al-Mansour Haifaa)
  • Best South African Feature Film – Durban Poison (dir. Andrew Worsdale)
  • Best Direction – Xavier Dolan for Laurence Anyways
  • Best Cinematography – MatÍas Penachino for Halley
  • Best Screenplay – Asghar Fahradi for The Past
  • Best Actor – David and Eitan Cunio for Youth
  • Best Actress – Paulina Garcia for Gloria and Suzanne Clément for Laurence Anyways

Durban International Film Festival Award for Artistic Bravery – Jahmil XT Qubeka

Sunday is the last day of screenings with film screenings at Suncoast Cinema, Ster Kinekor Musgrave, Cinema Nouveau Gateway, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre (Kwa-Mashu), and the Blue Waters Hotel.

The 34th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre For Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, HIVOS, City of Durban, German Embassy in South Africa, Goethe Institut of South Africa, French Season in South Africa, and a range of other valued partners.

For more information about the Durban International Film Festival you can log onto the website www.durbanfilmfest.co.za.

 

Categories
Film Review

Pacific Rim (3D): Review

Pacific Rim, a tour-de-force of non-stop action and special effects as the war between mankind and strange invaders intensifies.

Monstrous creatures, dubbed the Kaiju, start rising from the sea, devastating cities, and killing the populations. Mankinds last hope is in the Jaegers, massive robots piloted by teams, sent forth to protect and patrol.

There is not a moment to catch your breath in this action packed sci-fi. From beginning to end there are spectacular sights, and intricate sequances.

One cannot help but think of the much weaker Battleship, mixed in with some Godzilla, and a dash of Alien. That being said, Idris Elba and Ron Perlman are both veterans from the Alien franchise. Idris was also in South African recently shooting the historical drama Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

Although Pacific Rim won’t stretch your IQ very far, your adrenal gland will get a workout. If it lives up to the huge online hype remains for the viewer to decide, but for a romp with some robots, it will certainly satisfy.

Pacific Rim opens 2 August 2013 on South African screens.

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Jimmy In Pienk: Review And Info

Jimmy In Pienk

About

For the first time in his life Jimmy gathers the courage to leave his home and travel to Cape Town to seek help from his uncle in mastering the art of hairdressing and becoming a metro-sexual man.

.For the first time in his life Jimmy gathers the courage to leave his home and travel to Cape Town to seek help from his uncle in mastering the art of hairdressing and becoming a metro-sexual man.

For the first time in his life Jimmy gathers the courage to leave his home and travel to Cape Town to seek help from his uncle in mastering the art of hairdressing and becoming a metro-sexual man.

He convinces Jimmy to enter his reality TV show, “SA’s Next Super Stylist”. If Jimmy wins the competition, he can take home the prize money and save his family. With no experience in hairdressing, Jimmy knows that he is likely to fail, but he is willing to risk becoming a laughing stock if it offers him even just the slightest chance at saving his family. Under the fabulous tutelage of Bunny, his gay hair guru, Jimmy sets out to master the art of hairdressing and becoming a metro-sexual man.

With the final of the competition around the corner and the loan sharks’ deadline looming, can an honest country boy like Jimmy keep up an elaborate lie, or will the urge to be himself sabotage his chances at winning the contest and saving his beloved farm?

With the final of the competition around the corner and the loan sharks’ deadline looming, can an honest country boy like Jimmy keep up an elaborate lie, or will the urge to be himself sabotage his chances at winning the contest and saving his beloved farm?

Review

Jimmy In Pienk is a heart warming look into the polarised lives and cultures of the Western Cape, with the winelands on one side, and the quirks and conformity of city life.

Jimmy’s encounter with the gay scene of Cape Town provides many awkward and humorous moments, without being over-the-top, slapstick, or ridiculous. Although a lot of the humour is aimed at South Africans, and those who understand the culture, there are plenty of laughs for every viewer.

Louw Venter delivers a great performance as the lovable Jimmy, allowing us to feel for him, empathise, and in the end, celebrate his awakening as he realises his life-long desire to be creative.

Terence Bridgett is the ever flamboyant Bunny, in the midst of his own crisis in the gay community. We see Bunny change through the film, going from look to look as he is involved with one boyfriend after another, until he eventually learns to love himself.

Veteran actor Gys de Villiers, as Fredrique, is the character you’ll love to hate. Try as you might, you just can’t go so far as to loath him. As with Jimmy and Bunny, Frederique is also fighting demons, being shunned from his family, and decades later having his nephew Jimmy show up begging help.

Tinarie van Wyk-Loots is on a rapid ascent in the film world, and appears here as the adorable Rika, a young actress fighting to survive in Cape Town, one of the worlds busiest film destination.

The film takes us on a tour of life, love, and family, set with backdrop of South Africa’s Mother City.

Jimmy In Pienk will certainly do its part to further the local South African industry, winning hearts, and proving yet again, that “local is lekker” by delivering a world class film.

Jimmy In Pienk is a South African “must see”.

Awards

Hanneke Schutte, the Johannesburg-based writer and director of the quirky new comedy ‘Jimmy in Pienk’ which opens in cinemas on 16 August, has directed a short film starring Willem Dafoe, following her win at this year’s Jameson First Shot, which saw her fight off stiff competition from hundreds of other talented screenwriters and directors.

The competition, now in its second year, aims to discover talented film writers and directors from South Africa, Russia and the United States. It gives winners a ‘first shot’ in the film industry. Winners have their script made into a short film by award-winning production company Trigger Street Productions, and starring two-time Academy Award nominee Dafoe. The team of judges included Kevin Spacey, Dana Brunetti and Dafoe.

“Jameson First Shot has been the most incredible experience,” says Schutte. “Willem Dafoe was wonderful to work with. He was incredibly easy to direct and always open to suggestions when we were on set. It was a life changing experience and a fantastic opportunity. Last year’s films got millions of views on YouTube, and I’m really hoping there’ll be a similar response this time round.”

Schutte’s winning script, ‘Saving Norman’, tells the story of a hypochondriac ex-ping pong player who never got over missing a major tournament final because of a cold.Her submission was chosen for its freshness, originality, good structure, good shots, good sound and above all, great story.

“Hanneke’s win bodes well for ‘Jimmy in Pienk’,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the comedy in South Africa. “It’s a prestigious competition and winning it attests to her talent and is a great indication of her flair for comedy.”

It’s not the first time that Schutte has attracted attention in the industry. She started developing ‘Jimmy in Pink’ in 2006 for a pitching competition run by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the UK Film Council. The film was one of four genre-specific loglines picked from the entries to be developed with a UK script editor and a local script editor. The script was written in 2009, after which funding was secured from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

‘Jimmy in Pienk is produced by Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat of film development and financing company Light & Dark Films (LNDF). He has produced four feature films and a host of television shows that have sold in more than 60 territories. LNDF has arranged funding for eight feature films, and produced five feature films and three live-action TV series. The company has won awards on every continent and sold its work to all major territories and a host of small ones.

‘Jimmy in Pienk’ represents a full circle for NFVF-developed talent,” says Bhyat. “The film is the result of the NFVF’s investment in the development of writers, directors and producers. It is a unique voice in the crowded and often underwhelming local film landscape and I believe audiences are going to find it refreshingly charming.”

Jimmy in Pienk Official site: www.jimmyinpienkmovie.com

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Khumba Marks First 3D Animated Feature Film To Be Released In Afrikaans

Khumba The Movie

In an exciting first for South Africa, ‘Khumba’, the South Africa film about a half-striped zebra who is blamed for the drought by his superstitious herd and forced to go in search of a magic waterhole, will be released in Afrikaans in cinemas when it opens on 25 October 2013.

‘Khumba’ is the second animated feature produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios, following the successful global release of ‘Adventures in Zambezia’. It features the voice of Liam Neeson as a malicious leopard, as well as the voices of Jake T Austin, AnnaSophia Robb, Lawrence Fishburn and Steve Buscemi. The film is directed by Anthony Silverston.

‘Khumba’ tells a story which is universal, so we are delighted to be able to release it in both English and Afrikaans as it will appeal to a wider audience,” says director, Anthony Silverstone. “It’s a great family story about the struggle to feel comfortable in your own skin and learning to fit in.”

The film tells the story of Khumba, a zebra who has only half his stripes. When he is blamed for the lack of rain by the rest of his insular, superstitious herd, he embarks on a daring quest. In his search for the legendary waterhole where the first zebras got their stripes, Khumba meets a quirky range of characters and teams up with an unlikely duo: Mama V, an overprotective wildebeest, and Bradley, a self-obsessed, flamboyant ostrich. But before he can reunite with his herd, Khumba has to come face to face with Phango, a sadistic leopard who controls the waterholes and terrorizes all the animals in the Great Karoo. It’s not all black and white in this colorful adventure with a difference.

“It’s a delightful story that is beautifully told,” says Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is releasing the film locally. “To be able to release a 3D animated film of this quality in Afrikaans is a major achievement for the industry and it’s sure to delight audiences.”

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Bush TV Going Online

Bush TV, an experiential eventing and Film and TV production company, whose philosophy is “sparking the imagination of the African child” will be embarking in production in the new-media space; streaming over the internet. We will be starting a daily internet streaming breakfast show over the internet.

As from the 1st of August 2013 Bush TV will be streaming over the internet, initially starting with a 3-hour breakfast show that will stream daily from 6-9 in the morning. The content will focus on selling South Africa internationally as a tourist destination by showing it’s diversity, be a space where youth can find out about empowerment initiatives, a space where artists can reach a wider audience, a partner to creative industries’ events, pioneer in the ICT sphere amongst other things.

The initiative is spear-headed by Khululekile Banzi and Smartie Olifant who both have a history in community TV as well as in Film and TV production. They have put together a team of interested people that range from production, ICT, marketing, legal and administrative team. They are still amassing talent; including sign-language presenters, behind and in front of the screen. They also need to build partnerships, synergies, advertising, sponsorship, and content in the form of events, films, etc.

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Film Review

The Wolverine (3D): Review

Hugh Jackman returns in his sixth outing at Logan, The Wolverine. This incarnation is the first in the series not to carry the X-Men moniker, and this is an aspect that tells in the story. Logan is isolated, having distanced himself from society and the disbanded team after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.

Logan is battling many demons, having to fight both those of the antagonists, and his inner legion. This time Logan is up against Viper, a mutant in the employ of Kenuichio Harada who’s life he saved many years prior.

The Wolverine does not contain the non-stop action the X-Men and previous Origins movies, nor the slew of special effects. There are some stunning fight scenes, and some stunning abilities displayed by Rila Fukushima, as Yukio.

The Wolverine is a darker, more dramatic look at the character of Logan and his alter-ego The Wolverine, his inner battles, and coming to terms with his purpose in this world. Famke Janssen is back as Jean Grey, part of the past with which Logan has not yet come to terms.

In South African cinemas 26 July 2013, this is one for the fans, and for those who want a bit more drama with their action and special effects thrills.