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Kevin Kriedemann

Kevin Kriedemann
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Kevin consults on PR and marketing for Africa’s film industry. Current clients include Showmax, Triggerfish and Tulips and Chimneys; previous clients include Al Jazeera, Egg, Encounters, Film Afrika, and the Oscar-nominated short films Asad and Revolting Rhymes. Before changing sides, Kevin edited The Callsheet and The Filmmakers Guide To South Africa and freelanced for the likes of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter as a journalist. He’s also co-founder of Africa.film, a site where you can watch Africa's best videos, as chosen by the continent's best filmmakers and the world's top film festivals and websites.

Triggerfish’s latest animation to premiere in Cape after five-star reviews in UK

Proudly presented by Animation SA, The Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) kicks off this Friday, 8 March 2019, with the African premiere of Zog, Triggerfish’s latest BBC Christmas special with Magic Light Pictures.

Here are eight reasons to book your tickets while you can:

#1. Zog is based on the Julia Donaldson bestseller

Zog is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much loved 2010 picture book, which won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award and has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Zog tells the tale of a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets himself into mischief while learning how to fly, roar and breathe fire in his first three years at Dragon School. Each year he meets a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest challenge yet: it’s Year Four, and he has to capture a princess!

#2. It stars Kit Harington as Sir Gadabout

Hugh Skinner (Harlots) plays the title role; Patsy Ferran (Jamestown) is the princess with medical ambitions; Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) is the narrator; Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) is the bumbling knight Sir Gadabout; Tracey Ullman is Madame Dragon; and Rob Brydon is many characters, as usual for a Magic Light special.

#3. It’s from the team behind the Oscar-nominated ‘Revolting Rhymes’

Zog is the latest BBC Christmas special to be produced by Magic Light Pictures and animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish, following on from their multi-award-winning adaptations of Donaldson and Scheffler’s Stick Man (2015) and The Highway Rat (2017), and Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (2016), which was nominated for an Oscar last year.

#4. It was nearly as popular as the Queen at Christmas in the UK

Zog placed fifth on the UK’s viewing chart this Christmas, with only 200 000 less viewers than the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. The Telegraph gave the “hypnotising, inspiring tale for all the family” five stars; Den of Geek called it “a thing of perfectly spherical loveliness; it is lovely from every conceivable angle”; The Guardian warned parents “once this has been added to iPlayer you may never be allowed to watch anything else again on your TV – ever!”; and Donaldson told The Herald that Zog was her favourite BBC adaptation to date.

#5. It’s directed by South African Daniel Snaddon, who co-founded CTIAF

Zog is directed by two-time Oscar-nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom) and South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man). Friday’s screening is particularly special for Snaddon as he was the founding director of Kunjanimation, which grew into CTIAF. “When we started the festival in 2011, it was one day of workshops at Wits and two nights of screenings at Alliance Francaise. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and be accepted by the international community. This year, they have Peter Ramsey, director of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – just after he won the Oscar! And Aron Warner, who produced Shrek and The Book Of Life… I’m proud of the small role I played, but festival director Dianne Makings really deserves all the credit – what she’s done with the festival is remarkable.”

#6. You’ll relate to the clumsy dragon who just wants a gold star

Snaddon’s looking forward to Cape Town audiences falling in love with Zog, the keenest but clumsiest pupil in the class, who longs to win a gold star at Dragon School. “He’s super enthusiastic and he loves what he’s doing; he’s just not very good at it,” says Snaddon. “I think a lot of us feel like that. Hopefully not all the time but certainly there are times  when you know you’re falling short of your aspirations.”

#7. It’ll make your daughter want to be a doctor, not a princess

Snaddon describes Zog as “this great playing-against-type, progressive story about two people who are told by society that this is the way you do things and say, ’No, we’re going to make up our own minds.’”

But he says he’s found it funny that Zog has been hailed as a feminist story. “I’m delighted, but I do think it’s an awfully low bar if all we’re advocating is that women can be doctors,” he says. “Maybe it’s because we’re saying that being a doctor is more aspirational than being a princess. That’s cool. My father-in-law is a doctor and my sister-in-law is studying to be a doctor – it’s a very worthwhile, noble pursuit.”

He recommends Cape Tonians go watch Zog, “because it’s funny, sweet, short and sharp, and it has really good values, especially if you have kids and don’t want them to be slaves to other people’s opinions.”

#8. It’ll make you feel patriotic

Zog really is the product of some of South Africa’s finest digital artists,” says Snaddon. “We can get behind the Springboks or the Proteas or Ryk Neethling or any of our athletes because they are exceptional people on top of their game, doing amazing things on a world stage. You should go see Zog for that same reason; it’ll make you feel proudly South African!”

Zog will have its African premiere at 8pm this Friday, 8 March 2019, at The River Club in Observatory, Cape Town. The screening will be followed by Studio Ponoc’s animation anthology Modest Heroes.

 

Triggerfish sponsors three more bursaries to The Animation School

Sibusiso Ngubelanga, 26, first applied to study at The Animation School in 2014 but couldn’t afford the tuition. The Khayelitsha resident attended every open day for the five years since then, to the point that some of The Animation School staff assumed he was a student there.

This month, thanks to a bursary from Triggerfish, Africa’s leading animation company, that dream finally became a reality: Sibusiso is now enrolled at the Cape Town campus of The Animation School, named one of the world’s top 100 animation schools by Animation Career Review for 2018.

Triggerfish is sponsoring Sibusiso and fellow first year student Zaid Neethling (19, from Strandfontein), as well as second-year student Dawood Salie (19, from Mitchell’s Plain), who also received a bursary in 2018. The bursaries cover the full tuition fees for the year, thanks to funding from Triggerfish and Animate Africa, a US-based non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting Africa’s youth through animation skills development and training.

The Animation School principal Nuno Martins says these bursaries are important because of the shortage of funding opportunities for students at private animation schools. This year, he estimates there were over 50 students who applied but were unable to secure the necessary funding.

“Talent is universal; opportunity is not,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “We want to start changing that, because we need diverse teams to do justice to our continent’s diverse stories.”

Forrest pointed out that all three recipients are examples of how it takes a village to create an animator.

Salie is an alumnus of Draw for Life, an initiative offered by Sparks Flew Development Studio and PASCAP Trust and supported by Animation SA, The Animation School, and Triggerfish. Draw for Life introduces talented learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to South Africa’s booming animation industry and mentors them through a three-month series of classes covering the foundations of drawing for animation. Salie went on to complete a short course at Digital Canvas Academy, offered pro bono to Draw for Life alumni. From there, Salie was invited to take part in Triggerfish’s hot desk programme, where he experienced first-hand what goes into creating the BBC Christmas specials that Triggerfish animates in collaboration with Magic Light Pictures, like the Oscar-nominated Revolting Rhymes.

Ngubelanga and Neethling are both graduates of False Bay College’s 2D animation course, funded by MICT Seta and lectured by Cate Wood Hunter and Riaan Theron. The False Bay College course provides an ideal bridging course for learners who were not able to study art formally at school. This allows learners to build their drawing as well as digital skills and put together a competitive portfolio for application to attend the likes of The Animation School.

Ngubelanga and Neethling also both interned on Jabu’s Jungle, a ground-breaking children’s animation produced by Pixcomm, first in Masiphumelele township and now in Muizenberg, which provides training and internships for young animators from the community, and has been sold to India. China and America, among other territories. Ngubelanga and Neethling also interned on Yolanda Keabetswe Mogatusi’s  Rapulani and Rapunzel.

“It’s great to see the way the industry is coming together to create opportunities and mentor new talent,” says Forrest.

While many parents are sceptical about ‘iPopeye’ as a career, animation is currently a scarce skill – not just in South Africa but globally. “Finding animators who are ready for our scale of projects is a real challenge,” says Forrest. “If we had more animators, we could take on a lot more work.”

Martins agrees, adding that 85% of graduates from the last two years at The Animation School found work.

For example, Sinenhlanhla Sanelisiwe Shozi received a third-year bursary to The Animation School in 2018 and was immediately snapped up afterwards by Triggerfish, where she’s now part of the layout department on their third feature film, Seal Team – their follow up to two of the top five highest-grossing South African films of all time, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba.

These bursaries are just one of a number of recent Triggerfish initiatives aimed at growing and diversifying the animation industry in Africa, from the pan-African Story Lab, which was supported by The Walt Disney Company and The Department of Trade and Industry, to Triggerfish Academy, an online introduction to animation in partnership with The Goethe-Institut and The German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation.

Filming wraps on Showmax’s first original drama

The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019.

“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”

At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.

But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.

The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…

Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.

Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District 9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (Isidingo), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.

The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.

Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.

“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”

Binge all eight episodes first and only on Showmax from 31 January 2019.

 

The Last Post stars on filming Yemen in South Africa

Shot in South Africa with Film Afrika, The Last Post is a six-part BBC One series set against the backdrop of the creation of an independent Yemen: a close-up view of army life set in the heat, glamour and extreme danger of Aden in the swinging sixties.

As The New York Times wrote, “The fall of the British Empire and the rise of Arab nationalism have rarely looked as ravishing as they do in The Last Post, a highly scenic evocation of the days of gin and tonics at the club and discreet bed-hopping in the officers’ quarters.”

Written by BAFTA winner Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice and its US remake, The Night Of), The Last Post is based on his childhood memories of his father’s career as an officer in the Royal Military Police and his mother’s struggle between being what the army required her to be and what she felt like being. “This was my parents’ world and one I have wanted to write about all my career,” says Peter.

As The Los Angeles Times wrote, The Last Post stars “a who’s who cast culled from top-tier British television shows,” including Jessie Buckley (Taboo, War & Peace), Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife, Patrick Melrose), Amanda Drew (Broadchurch), Ben Miles (The Crown), Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk), Jeremy Neumark Jones (One Of Us), Stephen Campbell Moore (The Bank Job) and Chris Reilly (Call The Midwife), who was nominated as Best Actor at BAFTA Scotland this year for his role as Sergeant Alex Baxter.

If you don’t know much about the history of Aden, neither did many of the cast. As Amanda said on set, “I had heard of Aden but was ashamed by how little I knew, although slightly comforted when a lot of other people said the same thing. I’ve been doing a lot of fascinating reading, one book in particular by Jonathan Walker, called Aden Insurgency. Not only does the situation seem strangely remote, but it also seems like, ‘Oh dear, this is a situation that we keep finding ourselves in’ because, you know, we still feel this need to go in to other countries and sort things out for them. While that on the surface might seem like a laudable endeavour, it often causes a lot more problems.”

“During my research I stumbled upon an internet forum for people who were children in Aden in the sixties,” says Jessica. “Their words and images offered a snapshot of families living an idyllic life, occasionally shattered by the odd grenade being lobbed over the wall, deliberately targeting children and families. It was hard to get my head around living in that situation. There is something funny and disturbing about trying to maintain British values under those conditions, whilst blithely unaware that they’re not welcomed there.”

South African audiences will get additional pleasure from trying to match the Middle East settings to their Cape Town locations.

The cast raved about their experience of shooting in South Africa, repeatedly calling it “a treat.”

“It’s a real treat to be filming in such a naturally beautiful landscape,” said Amanda on set. “The climate is extraordinary and the quality of light is like crystal, so bright and invigorating. And from the documentary footage I’ve seen it mirrors incredibly the environment of Aden. The windy but very hot landscape is stunning but also remote, somewhat unforgiving, and dangerous. It feeds in very naturally to the acting.”

“Filming in Cape Town while it’s winter in England has been a real treat,” echoed Jessica. “The heat, especially in the desert, was a challenge. But the payoff is that landscape is phenomenal.”

Jessica wasn’t the only British cast member to struggle with the heat. “There was one day when it was 45 degrees and it is astonishingly hard to deal with,” says Jeremy. “As soon as you drank, the water would just evaporate back out because it was so dry and so hot. My hair is still a couple of shades lighter due to sun bleaching.”

Similarly Chris says, that while the heat helped maintain the illusion they were in Aden, “If I’d had my way we would have stayed in the barracks set!”

But Stephen credits shooting in South Africa with helping to create the camaraderie on set. “We got to share a lot of experiences that bound us together,” he says. “On our days off, we hung out and hiked Table Mountain or went to the beach. It was a lovely job and full of fun.”

Being a British military show though, even the fraternising was structured, especially during the week-long boot camp in South Africa for the male cast to prepare. “They segregated our accommodation so the actors playing officers were in one place and the actors playing grunts in the other,” says Chris. “So as much as we’re bonded, we’re bonded in the proper way. I think that was by design so we know where the boundaries are.”

The Last Post has a 95% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Hollywood Reporter called it, “Taut, brisk, moving and gorgeous;” Indiewire hailed it as “a feast for the eyes… both patient and powerful;” and The Daily Dot called it “an intriguing exploration of history that teaches lessons we still haven’t learned… a little bit Mad Men… a little bit Army Wives…  most definitely unique.”

 

Seven South African classics to stream on Showmax this September

This September, Showmax is bringing you an award-winning line-up of local favourites, from a hit horror film that’s up for eight Africa Movie Academy Awards next month, to a multi-award-winning short film that’s in the running for the Oscars next year, to two of South Africa’s favourite soap operas and telenovelas express from Mzansi Magic. Here are seven highlights to add to your Watchlist straight away…

Siembamba (The Lullaby)

Premise: Chloe thought her depression was caused by her child’s birth. Then she starts to suspect that an evil entity is haunting them, but nobody believes her…

Why you should watch: Postpartum depression is terrifying already, even before you add in evil spirits. The horror movie was released in over 150 cinemas in the USA – rare for an SA film – and has an 88 per cent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Accolades: Siembamba is nominated for eight Africa Movie Academy Awards in October, including Best Film, Best Director (Darrell Roodt) and Best Actress (Reine Swart). It was also nominated for two SAFTAs.

The Hangman

Premise: Khetha (Thato DH Dhladla) is a black prison warder guarding black inmates in Pretoria Central Prison’s gallows near the end of Apartheid. His job is further complicated when his estranged father (Khulu Skenjana) is transferred to Death Row.

Why you should watch:

1. It’s in the running for the Oscars in 2019, having won Best Foreign Film at the Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts.

2. Director Zwelethu Radebe is a talent to watch and a Mail & Guardian 200 Young South African selection for 2018.

Accolades: The Hangman’s awards tally is already in double digits, and includes Best South African Short Film at the Durban, Jozi and Shnit film festivals, and Best African Short Film at Zanzibar International Film Festival, among other accolades.

Shepherds and Butchers

Premise: Oscar-nominee Steve Coogan (Philomena) plays a lawyer trying to prevent a prison hangman from being hanged himself.

Why you should watch:

1. It will give you lots to say the next time the death penalty comes up as a solution to South Africa’s challenges.

2. Oliver Schmitz is one of South Africa’s top directors, responsible for classics like Mapantsula and the Oscar-shortlisted Life, Above All.

Accolades: Oliver Schmitz won Best Director at the SAFTAs last year.

The Queen S3, express

Premise: Connie Ferguson is back for a third season in her career-defining role as trophy-wife-turned-matriarch-and-drug-lord Harriet Khoza, one of South Africa’s most loved villains.

Why you should watch: Connie and Shona Ferguson, Rami Chuene, Themba Ndaba, Sello Maake Ka-Ncube and Thembsie Matu. Just don’t get too attached; you can never be sure who the show will kill off next…

Accolades: Thembsie Matu and Rami Chuene are competing against each other to be named South Africa’s favourite actress at this year’s DStv Viewers Choice Awards. The Queen was also nominated for three 2018 SAFTAs.

Isithembiso S2, express

Premise: After matric, Simi and Zamani leave their families behind to pursue a better life in Johannesburg, where a heist is about to go badly wrong…

Why you should watch:

It’s made by Bomb, the production company behind Yizo Yizo, Isibaya and many more of your favourite TV shows.

Accolades: Hamilton Dlamini won Best Actor – TV Soap / Telenovela for his role as Banzi ‘The Wolf of Braamfontein’ Kunene at this year’s SAFTAs, where the series was up for four awards, including Best Telenovela. Londeka Mchunu won Best Newcomer Actress at the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Awards.

Hotel S2

Premise: An Afrikaans mockumentary about a middle-aged hotel manager, Ferdie Kruger (James Borthwick), struggling to keep the doors of his Mpumalanga hotel open.

Why you should watch: Schalk Bezuidenhout is hilarious. As always.

Accolades: Schalk Bezuidenhout won the 2018 SAFTA for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Season one won Best Comedy Script at the 2017 SAFTAs.

Die Boekklub S2 – due 17 September 2018

Premise: In season one, Cape Town hipster Tom (Armand Aucamp) inherited a guest house in the Karoo – and a book club. Season two finds him now running the guesthouse alongside Sofia (June van Merch) – and yes, they’re still fighting every day…

Why you should watch: Die Boekklub is a quirky gem and one of the most acclaimed Afrikaans dramedies of recent years.

Accolades: Jana Cilliers has won the SAFTA for Best Supporting Actress two years in a row. Louis Pretorius won Best TV Drama Script in 2017.

Other African-linked highlights coming to Showmax in September include:

  • Abraham, the final film of Afrikaans film legend Jans Rautenbach, who Screen Africa hailed as “arguably South Africa’s most celebrated and, at the same time, most controversial filmmaker.“ Jans passed away in 2016 at the age of 80, a year after Abraham opened to rave reviews in South Africa.
  • Phil 101, a 2018 SAFTA-nominated sitcom set in a philosophy department, starring Bennie Fourie, Philippus Boshoff, and Frank Opperman.
  • Afrikaans surf film Die Pro, starring Edwin van der Walt, based on Leon de Villiers’ multi-award-winning novel.
  • The People Vs. Patriarchy, Lebogang Rasethaba’s much-talked-about MTV documentary that followed on from The People Vs The Rainbow Nation, due 17 September 2018.
  • Kokkedoortjie, a SAFTA-nominated cooking show for children between the ages of 9 and 13, due 20 September 2018.
  • Season two of the charming animated series Zafari, about a zoo of unique creatures near Mount Kilimanjaro, due 24 September 2018.

Two Comics Choice winners to appear on Trevor Noah’s new Showmax show

September is turning into a great month for comedians Tsitsi Chiumya and Phil De Lange. Not only did Chiumya win Best Newcomer and De Lange the Next Level prize at this weekend’s Comic Choice Awards, both comedians are featured in Trevor Noah presents NationWild, a 13-part comedy showcase coming to Showmax this Heritage Day, 24 September 2018.

Noah handpicked all 13 comedians featured. Each episode features a short introductory set by Trevor as the host, an interview with the featured comedian about their ladder to success, followed by that comedian’s set. “In each episode, we’re going to meet some of the brightest emerging comedians in Mzansi,” says Noah.

This year’s Comic Choice Awards back up that claim: to win Best Newcomer, Chiumya beat out three other comedians featured on Trevor Noah presents Nationwild: Bongani Dube, Gilli Apter and Lindy Johnson, while one of De Lange’s primary challenges for the Next Level award came from Eric Jansen, who is also featured on the show.

This is the second major award this year for Chiumya: he also won a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) for Scriptwriting – TV Comedy as part of the Puppet Nation team.

The comedian hails from Lebowakgomo, a small township in Limpopo. He only “officially” learned English in 2006 when he came to Johannesburg. “I went to the only English school in Lebowakgomo; we spoke really bad English there,” says Chiumya. “I thought I knew what English was before I came to Johannesburg, which was really embarrassing, because I had so much confidence. I’m a pretty awkward guy so it was really weird for me to start learning English, especially when you come to the big city and you always thought that you would fit in, and then you can’t speak the language that people are using to communicate… From not being able to speak English, to the point that I’m performing with one of the biggest comics in the world, in English, it confirms to me that I’ve conquered this language.”

De Lange was born and bred in Bloemfontein but now lives in Cape Town, where he co-hosts The Smile 90.4FM Comedy Hour between 21h00 and 22h00 on Saturday evenings with Angel Campey. His dry, self-deprecating comedy set blends stand-up and ukulele.

“My first comedy set I ever did was at the Armchair Theatre in Cape Town,” remembers De Lange. “I was the first person I think  in Cape Town to ever perform comedy with a ukulele. People laughed at me, not at my jokes, because my mic kept falling out of the mic stand and I broke my ukulele on stage. I was quite terrible to be honest.”

Getting handpicked by Trevor Noah and winning the Next Level award is proof of how much that’s changed. “I don’t actually like attention at all,” says De Lange, but he may need to get used to it quickly.

Considering that Noah’s already given fellow African comedians like David Kibuuka and Loyiso Madinga regular work on The Daily Show, anything’s possible for De Lange, Chiumya and the other stars of Trevor Noah presents NationWild, who include Gavin Kelly, Keenan Cerff, Kraai Du Toit, Mbu Msongwela, 2017 Best Intermediate Comics Choice Award nominees Noko Moswete and Tshireletso ‘Mo’ Mothebe, and 2016 Comics Choice Breakthrough Comic Award winner Virgil Prins (aka Prins).

Noah is in line for awards himself this month: on 17 September 2018, he could become the first black host to ever win an Emmy for Best Variety Talk Series for The Daily Show.

“Trevor Noah’s global success proves that  SA’s comics are among the best in the world,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “We’ve worked hard to make Showmax the home of South African comedy, so we’re delighted to add Trevor Noah presents NationWild to our lineup of hilarious shows, which includes The Roast of Somizi and comedy specials with the likes of 2018 Comics Choice Comedy G award winner David Kau and nominees like Marc Lottering and Mpho Popps.”

Binge all 13 episodes of Trevor Noah presents NationWild only on Showmax from Heritage Day, 24 September 2018.

Watch the trailer.

Zandi Tisani directs Rhea Blek music video for Ka Mzolo

Arcade Content’s Zandi Tisani directed Ka Mzolo, the new Ford Figo music video with Rhea Blek.

The music video follows Rhea on an increasingly strange and wonderful journey through the streets and fashion of Diepkloof. “I wanted to make something that was fun and bold and left a sweet taste in the mouth,” says Zandi.

Zandi worked with agency GTB Africa to find and celebrate South African talent who encapsulated what it means to #GoMakeWaves and #GoFurther. “GTB tasked us with finding talent that wasn’t from the same pool of usual suspects and to shoot a music video that would allow everyone from musician to make-up to shine,” she says.

Elle South Africa recently described Zandi as “on the pulse” and the talent she assembled for the music video backs this up: Durban singer Rhea Blek’s been called ‘The Goddess of Finesse’ on Bubblegum Club; furniture designer Siyanda Mbele was a finalist in Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object In South Africa competition this year; fashion designer Jacques Bam was runner up overall and earned a special mention at the LISOF fashion show last year; hair stylist Nikiwe Dlova runs the blog ownURcrown and was part of the recent Black Hair Matters exhibition at Eyethu Art Space; make-up artist Orli Meiri has been featured on Behance; and photographer Obakeng Molepe cracked 10and5’s #Bayeza18 list of 40 creatives under 30 this year after being commissioned by Marvel to respond to Black Panther through photography. Ka Mzolo also stars BMX Maniacs, Bambanani Brass Band and Yo Coco dairy-free ice cream.

As Ford South Africa’s YouTube introduction puts it, “Drive. You either have it or you don’t. And you (yes, you) clearly have it. This music video was made for, and by, some of South Africa’s brightest young talents who know what it takes to push beyond the boundaries. They’re making waves. The new Ford Figo is for those in the hustle and this music video is a celebration of what can be achieved when you decide to go further.”

Adam Bentel from Krewkut shot the music video, which was produced by Julia Schnurr, art directed by Keenan McAdam, and edited by Joe de Ornelas at Left, with a final mix by Audio Militia.

Released initially as a vertical video on Instagram Stories, Ka Mzolo is Zandi’s second music video: Zaki Ibrahim’s Go Widdit, her directorial debut, made OkayAfrica’s list of the top ten African music videos for 2012.

The music video is part of an innovative larger campaign for Ford South Africa by GTB, Egg and Arcade Content, which includes a choose-your-own-ending Twitter series, 360-degree videos for shop floors, a traditional TV commercial, and a series of TV ads that only tell you half the story – enticing you to explore the rest on your second screen.

The campaigns were conceptualised by GTB’s executive creative director Nick Liatos, creative directors Nico Botha and Neil Lindsay, copywriters Sophia Basckin and Leyash Pillay, art directors Candice McLeroth and Martjie Louw, client service Pleasure Tsotetsi, and strategist Priniven Pillay, with Mthuli Bam producing.

 

Zwelethu Radebe directs ‘choose-your-own-ending’ Twitter series for Ford Fiesta

Egg Films’ Zwelethu Radebe directed The Independent State of Nandi, a choose-your-own-ending series of short films brought to Twitter from inside the all-new Ford Fiesta. Released every Monday and Thursday over four weeks across June and July 2018, the eight shorts captured Twitter’s imagination, with the first episode getting over 14 000 votes, 350 retweets, and nearly 2000 Likes, and the finale being watched over 230 000 times, generating nearly 150 comments.

Agency GTB Johannesburg approached Egg with the idea for a series that allowed the audience to drive the story by voting at the end of each episode on which way the characters should go.

Zwelethu worked with The River screenwriter Nelisa Ngcobo and the agency’s creative team of Nico Botha, Neil Lindsay, Sophia Basckin, and Candice Mcleroth to craft the different storylines around Nandi (Lebo Borole), who is taking her new Fiesta on its first long-distance trip, from Johannesburg to Amanzimtoti for her sister’s wedding. She’s bringing along her Sotho boyfriend Sechaba (Marcus Mabusela) with the hopes of introducing him slowly to her traditional Zulu family.

Zwelethu and DOP Ofentse Mwase shot 14 epilogues for the first seven episodes, to cater for the different voting outcomes. William Kalmer edited all eight shorts at Post Modern.

Twitter gets a bad rap for bringing out people’s worst sides, but Ford Fiesta drivers seem to be a nicer bunch, voting to give Nandi’s sister her say rather than cutting her off; to answer rather than screen calls from her mother; and to help a Gogo who didn’t entirely deserve it.

“This feels like the future of advertising,” says Egg Films’ executive producer Colin Howard. “Where storytelling isn’t limited to 30-second TV commercials and the audience can be involved more than ever before.”

Watch the full short.

Zwelethu Radebe directs Batik Success

Egg Films’ Zwelethu Radebe directed Batik Success, M&C Saatchi Africa’s new ad for Mutzig beer.

The spot tells the story of the rise of a fashion designer, Pascal, from the perspective of his best friend. “I really fell in love with the poetry of having Pascal’s story told through the perspective of his long-time friend,” says Radebe. “There’s an honesty that comes with a witnessed journey, that’s different from a subjective personal experience.”

Radebe used a three-act structure of setup, conflict and resolution, similar to the technique used in his short film, The Hangman, which won 10 international awards last year. “Story is king for me,” says Radebe. “It was the key ingredient in making a compelling and memorable film that evoked an emotional response from the audience.” The ad’s pace comes both from the camera itself and a slow-building track from Simon Ringrose (Sibot).

Currently screening in Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, the DRC and Rwanda, Batik Success was conceptualised by creative director Ashley Bacon and art director Paddy Pearson, with Keren van Staden as client service and Tenille Abrahams producing for M&C Saatchi Africa.

Batik Success describes a Mutzig moment as ‘when the best of the best comes together in life.’ By that definition, Radebe had his own Mutzig moment on set, working with a dream crew in DOP Fabian Vettiger, art director William Boyes, stylist Richard de Jager, and editor Stephen du Plessis.

Tulips and Chimneys brings gin brand’s Victoriana surrealism aesthetic to life

Hendrick’s Gin’s tagline is ‘Undeniably peculiar, utterly delicious” – a phrase that could equally describe Tulips and Chimney’s acclaimed animations.

“We have long been admirers of the Hendrick’s Gin aesthetic,” says director Ree Treweek. “Its Victoriana surrealism is so aligned with our style that you can imagine our delight when we were approached by the creative agency Quaker City Mercantile to create an animated spot for the Scottish brand.”

Escape, the result, is an invitation to ‘escape the conventional and embrace the delectable.’ “No one likes commuting,” says executive producer Nina Pfeiffer. “It is a mundane necessity for so many, and that’s why we love this script so much. Taking something painfully ordinary and giving it that extraordinary Hendrick’s sense of wonder was an absolute joy.”

The heroes’ journeys home to delicious cocktails are truly weird and wonderful, a surreal mix of impossible juxtapositions and hybrid creatures dressed in Victorian fashion: think crowds of narwhals, a dapper gentleman in a tuxedo with the head of a cucumber, a sophisticated lady juggling knives between palm trees, and painted ceramic whales.

Hendrick’s vintage paper cut aesthetic ties together the varied environments. “We loved the idea that the architecture itself reflects the theme of the spot, and is alive and changing,” says Ree. “Our commuters’ office block works like an old-fashioned clock hand, while the homes of our lead characters resemble an alligator and a swordfish. We played with scale within the environments and built on the idea that things are constantly changing, from the lighting to the sky tones.”

For the spot’s distinct look, Tulips and Chimneys created layered illustrated artwork in Photoshop, which was then animated and composited in After Effects. When compositing, they added a subtle grain to the film and made use of vignettes, dust, scratches, film burn, light leaks and other imperfections common in old film stock.

“Atmospherics, lighting and motion blur created ‘real world’ feeling to our shots and helped us to create a seemingly limitless Hendrick’s environment,” says Nina.  “We’ve stayed fairly close to the look of the brand, but added depth, atmospherics and some subtle moments of surprise.”

 

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