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Martie Bester


Two South African films in Combined Top 10 for 25 to 27 April

After two weeks on circuit, Cape Town-based director Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat’s romantic comedy Konfetti is in the sixth position of the Combined Top 10 weekend earners. Released through UIP, with a print run of 40, the film made R408,866 from 25 to 27 April.

Newly released iNumber Number, directed and written by Donovan Marsh, is screening nationwide through Indigenous Film Distribution, and earned R365,419 during its opening weekend with 35 prints, putting it in the number seven spot on the weekend’s Top 10.

Leading the pack is Ster-Kinekor’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro (including 3D) with earnings of R5,8080,444 in its opening weekend as Spidey starts to make his way to the top of box offices globally. With 202 prints nationwide, the superhero’s climb to success is all but guaranteed.

In second spot is the delightful animated feature Rio 2 (including 3D), which took R2,313,141 over the weekend and continues to delight young and old in South Africa with 102 prints nationwide. The movie is distributed by Times Media Films.

Earning R1,668,231 for the weekend and in third spot is Noah (including 3D) with total earnings of R11,476,976. The film is released through UIP and still shows on 75 screens locally.

Figures supplied by SAFACT.

iNumber Number and Miners Shot Down screen at The Bioscope in Johannesburg

Director Donovan Marsh’s newly released gritty action movie iNumber Number has an outdoor screening at The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg on 30 April at 20h00.

Audiences can watch the film on the streets of Maboneng as Kruger Street will be closed off. Tickets are R110 each, including a special Jameson welcome drink and popcorn. The film will screen inside The Bioscope on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 May.

On Thursday 1 May at 19h30, the cinema hosts a special fundraiser screening of director Riaad Desai’s award-winning documentary Miners Shot Down, which details events before and on the day in August 2012 when miners who went on a wildcat strike for better wages were brutally gunned down by police.

With tickets available at R70 each, proceeds of the screening will go towards The Marikana Support Campaign.

On Sunday 4 May Classic Movie Sundays presents The Sound of Music with tickets priced at R20 per person.

On Friday 9 May at 19h30 African Metropolis, a compilation of six short fiction films set in Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, starts showing. The movies tell urban tales about life in these metropolises as the shift in African cinema is now towards urban stories with less focus on the rural and traditional parts of the land.

Made possible by The Eco Film Festival and exclusive to The Bioscope, Blackfish screens on Sunday 16 May at 19h30. The film tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while he was in captivity.

Featuring shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the animal’s astonishing nature, the cruel treatment of the species in captivity and the lives of the trainers, director/producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite presents bold insights about the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.

Visit www.thebioscope.co.za for more information or call 011 039 7306.

Of Good Report only South African feature to screen at New York African Film Festival

Eleven features, including South African movie Of Good Report, and eight short films from various African nations and the Diaspora will show at the 21st New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), which runs from 7 to 13 May.

The event is organised by the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and the African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) under the theme “Revolution and Liberation in the Digital Age’.

In recognition of Nollywood, the world’s second largest film industry, the festival will open with Kenneth Gyang’s dark comedy, Confusion Na Wa, which won Best Picture at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards.

Critically acclaimed Nigerian film Half of a Yellow Sun, which releases on 16 May in the US, will have its New York premiere on 9 May at NYAFF. Directed by Biyi Bandele, the film stars Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor.

In the documentary Mugabe: Villain or Hero?, directed by Roy Agyemang, the filmmaker portrays the director’s unprecedented access to the Zimbabwean leader, and his entourage, and examines the battle for minerals and land fought between African leaders and the West.

Narrative feature Winter of Discontent by Ibrahim El Batout explores the Tahrir Square protests central to the Arab Spring while, with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexual Act making headlines, American-Ugandan Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine’s experimental short Kuhani features a conflicted priest.

In Bastards, director Deborah Perkin documents a single mother who is beaten and raped at 14 and discarded and her subsequent fight in a Moroccan court to legalise her fake marriage to ensure a future for the daughter born out of this horrific situation.

In Ninah’s Dowry, directed by Victor Viyouh from Cameroon, the main character escapes from an abusive marriage only to be chased by her husband to recover her (his property) or the dowry he paid for her.

Gender roles are reversed in the short Beleh, directed by Eka Christa Assam from Cameroon.

Also screening are South Africa’s Of Good Report by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, who is originally from Chad, both films that are symbolical of the legacy of post-independent Africa and the resulting social shifts.

Kenyan comedies It’s Us (Ni Si Si) and the US premiere of the short Soko Sonko (The Market King) screen; while Wooden Hands, a short from Tunisia, has its US premiere. Directed by writer Marguerite Abouet and illustrator Clement Oubrerie from the Ivory Coast, animated feature Aya of Yop City also shows at the festival.

The NYAFF closes on 13 May with Sarraounia by director Med Hondo from Burkina Faso, based on the historical accounts of Queen Sarraounia who fearlessly led the Azans of Niger into battle against the French colonialists. In 1987, the film won first prize at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO).

“There are long and proud cinematic traditions in countries all over the African continent, and at the same time there are new voices and new means of expression,’ says FSLC Associate Director of Programming Marian Masone. “We are happy that the festival this year will be able to share the work of these artists, who are exploring both myth and modernity.’

Comments AFF Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti. “Today, the golden era of technology not only allows the African public to see films made about their own realities but also exhorts each generation of filmmakers to raise the bar with the stories they tell about the continent and its diaspora, resulting in a veritable digital revolution.’

Visit FilmLinc.com for more information, and to buy tickets.

New South African rom com Konfetti wins international awards

Independent film Konfetti, directed by Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat and produced by Light and Dark Films, has won two awards at international film festivals over the weekend.

Casey B. Dolan won Best Actress at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, while Konfetti also took Best Editing at the Beverly Hills International Film Festival.

Peter Dignan, Managing Director of United International Pictures (South Africa), Konfetti’s distributor, expressed his delight at South African talent being recognised.

He said: “International festivals are the best way to showcase our industry and Zaheer has done a wonderful job in bringing together a very talented cast and crew to deliver this wonderful entertaining film which has captured the hearts of movie-goers here and has now been embraced at these international festivals!’

Currently screening nationwide in South Africa, Konfetti also stars Nico Panagio, Louw Venter, Kim Engelbrecht, Casper de Vries, Christel van den Bergh, Terence Bridgett and Jana Strydom.

Spotlight on shorts from aspiring filmmakers at Dubai International Film Fest’s Film Night

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and the Maraya Art Centre are offering audiences an exclusive opportunity to experience the work of up-and-coming student filmmakers on Saturday 3 May at 18h30.

Free to the public, the short films will show at Al Qasba in Sharjah, allowing audiences the chance to watch debut work from some of the region’s most interesting novice artists.

Produced by promising and exceptional student talents from different parts of the region, such as the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the eight short films are:

Impurity: Directed by Kuwaiti filmmaker Ahmed Al Terkait, a young girl searches for her lost sister in a world of despair and hatred.

Just a Picture: Directed by Nawaf Alhoshan from Saudi Arabia, three men go to the desert to take a picture but the photographer abandons two of them in the scorching no-man’s land in this short that won the Special Jury Prize at the Gulf Film Festival in 2013 and also screened at the Dubai International Film Festival.

Eastern Winds: By filmmakers Timo Von Gunten and Jawaher Al Sudairy, comes a picture of political and social struggles as youthful protestors called for government reform, economic opportunity and political freedom known as the Arab Awakening.

A Promise: The parts of our life that remain in our memory and other parts that keep us in the memory of others are explored by Saudi Arabian writer and director Abdulrahman Jerash.

The Signature: Emirati media student Eman Al Barakani presents a tale about creative student Sara who stays late at college to work on her project when strange things start happening…

Moments: From award-winning Ebrahim Al Rasbi from the UAE, the movie took Best Film and Best Student Director at the 2013 Gulf Film Festival and focuses on two people talking about and remembering their deceased friend.

Balloons: Khaled Al Bayati, an Iraqi filmmaker, gives a glimpse into the world of a balloon seller in a movie that won the award for Best Emerging Talent at the Gulf Film Festival in 2013.

Slow Death: Hussein al-Maliki from Iraq shows how television brings about the loss of identity in its viewers.

Dubai International Film Festival Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “The “Dubai International Film Festival’s Film Nights’ is a great opportunity for audiences to experience the far horizon of Gulf film; new artists, experimental techniques, and fresh attitudes toward Gulf society and culture. The subject matter of the films is incredibly diverse, showing the range of interests and concerns of the young generation living in the Gulf, as well as their hopes and aspirations.’

The event starts at 18h30 at the Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, Sharjah and the evening is open to adults older than 18 years.

Spellbinding Island of Lemurs: Madagascar shot on impressive IMAX D3D

The Warner Bros. / IMAX Entertainment co-production Island of Lemurs: Madagascar has arrived at an important time for the animals, whose long-term survival is being threatened on several fronts.

The film reunites narrator Morgan Freeman with Drew Fellman, writer and producer of the 2011 IMAX 3D documentary Born to be Wild and director David Douglas (who worked as the DOP on Born to be Wild).

Madagascar is situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa and the film took four months to complete out of cyclone season, which would have made travel to the island virtually impossible. “Nevertheless, we had a lot of tough conditions,’ says Fellman.

“We spent a lot of time standing around in the rain waiting for the sun to peek out. Fortunately, the lemurs like the sunshine as much as we do and they’d often greet the sun with outstretched arms like they were sunbathing.’

The world’s more than 90 species of lemur all live on Madagascar and most are endangered, primaily as a result of deforestation. The filmmakers’ goal was to showcase the variety among the species and had to carry their specialised IMAX 3D production gear to remote locations over difficult terrain.

The IMAX D3D camera, used to shoot the movie is smaller, quieter and less intrusive than the camara used previously, which weighed almost 136kg and held only three minutes of 65mm film. In contrast, the D3D stereo remote-sensor camera weighs about 23kg only and offers real mobility, crucial to a shoot of this nature.

A pontoon on the open ocean, a motorised hot air balloon (called a Cinebulle) that enabled the first-ever aerial shots in IMAX 3D and a hydraulic mast (the MAT-TOWERCAM XL) which can lift the camera 12m into the forest company served as shooting platforms.

Fellman says while filming Island of Lemurs, the D3D had not been field-tested and was the only one in existence. “Its sensor technology is based on the (Vision Research) Phantom 65 because it’s the largest high-speed sensor out there and the closest match to the IMAX format.

He adds: “The IMAX digital camera system takes a unique approach to 3D that avoids using a cumbersome beam-splitter rig. It uses a stereo lens system, and the lenses can shift laterally, which makes for easy convergence setting and lets us keep our crew size down. It also greatly reduces the setup time needed between shots.’

According to director and cinematographer Douglas, the production represents the state of the art in large-format photography in various ways. He comments, “Diverse and subtle advantages made possible by the new digital camera made the difference between success and failure on this challenging production, (which was) shot on a remote island without any infrastructure or a functional government.’

IMAX 3D has been designed to project a deep viewing area beyond the screen plane and Douglas and Fellman are excited about the immersive quality of the technology.

“The RAM buffer records continuously in loops up to 90 seconds long. This single fact changes everything for the wildlife filmmaker,’ says Douglas. “Only desired moments are kept because we’re keeping action that we’ve already seen, rather than guessing what will be and betting film stock it will happen before we run out.’

“Couple this with high speed, a small form factor, and the performance of new IMAX remote-sensor 3D technology, and we have a whole new game in wildlife image capture for the giant screen,’ he continues. “Lens changes now happen in the same amount of time as 2D. And alignment and convergence are real-time adjustments, rather than a separate milestone in the setup.’

Douglas elaborates: “Employing the same core team as the Born to be Wild production was crucial to stepping forward with a camera technique that yields results through a different approach than other IMAX documentaries.

“Drew and I were determined to capture a content-driven movie experience by spotlighting real-life characters – both human and animal – with a spontaneous candour that’s new to the giant screen.’

The documentary pays tribute to the extensive research undertaken by Dr Patricia C. Wright, an American primatologist, anthropologist and conservationist considered one of the world’s foremost lemur experts.

Fellman says that lemurs arrived in Madagascar about 60 million years ago and for most of that time had no predators or competition of any kind. “But since humans arrived about 2,000 years ago, more than 90 percent of Madagascar’s forests have been destroyed – mainly by a culture of slash-and-burn agriculture.

Continues Fellman: “Even though Madagascar is famous for its lemurs, they tend to be few and far between, living mostly in remote places. For us, that meant spending a year of prep to find groups of lemurs that had been habituated enough by researchers and scientists that we could approach them with a large crew.’

Determined to find humour and joy in the images of the animals, in addition to the practical science and survival issues, Douglas says in press notes: “Connecting to everything that is positive about lemurs, and there’s a lot, lets people take on the larger threatening and potentially tragic picture far more readily.’

A scene in which sifakas – large, slender lemurs that mostly live in trees – are shown dancing is particulary enthralling, as the mammals are not built for walking but rather jumping. And when they travel on the ground, they “skip and dance from side to side’.

With a new Madagascar government elected since the film was shot, Fellman and Douglas hope the ongoing and unsustainable practice of burning and logging, which threatens the lemurs’ existence, will be seriously addressed.

View the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP0i3clBFHE&feature=kp.

Creating rainbows to celebrate 20 years of South Africa’s #RainbowNation

In celebration of April 2014, “Freedom Month’, Coca-Cola literally created rainbows to mark the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy and the birth of the “Rainbow Nation’, a phrase coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the country’s first democratic election in April 1994.

The rainbows were “conjured up’ in the Johannesburg CBD by using sunlight, water, some fancy science and a little bit of magic by advertising and marketing communication agency FCB Johannesburg and a technical team led by a “globe-trotting rainbow-maker from the United States’.

Says Sharon Keith of Coca-Cola South Africa, “We are very excited to have discovered a way to create actual rainbows by capturing the sun at specific angles through a mist of recycled water.”

“In the lead up to Freedom Day, we wanted to go further than reminding South Africans of our heritage,’ she continues. “We wanted to create a symbol of our diversity and celebrate the fact that as a nation we have come so far. Coca-Cola aims to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and rainbows can do both.’

On the eve of South Africa’s 20 years of democracy, Coca-Cola created moments of happiness, which were captured on film.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptRLbEbMMSg&feature=youtu.be.

Limited screenings of War Horse stage production at Cinema Nouveau

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: For a limited time, the National Theatre’s original stage production of the multi-award-winning War Horse screens nationwide at Cinema Nouveau digital screens nationwide and at Ster-Kinekor Blue Route in Tokai, Cape Town.

Camera director of the live broadcast of War Horse, Tim van Someren, has decades of experience in directing television for live music events, live coverage from the red carpet at ceremonies such as the Oscars, Baftas and Golden Globes, and has been at the helm of the National Theatre’s Live productions for three years.

Van Someren was in charge of the live broadcast of War Horse from London’s West End to cinemas around the world on 27 February during which South Africa’s “Handspring Puppet Company brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage with their flanks, hides and sinews built of steel, leather and aircraft cables.’

Apart from working on many different projects, some of the shows which Van Someren has directed for the National Theatre Live include Frankenstein, A Comedy of Errors, This House, The Magistrate, Coriolanus and Macbeth, among others.

“I loved being involved with War Horse,’ says Van Someren, who has always directed multi-camera.
“We were presented with three challenges while filming War Horse live, the technical aspect being that the production was shot in 4K, a world first. From a theatrical aspect it was demanding as the play is mostly led by puppets. And it was exhilarating from a commercial aspect because War Horse is such a successful play. There was a sense of occasion to it.’

He adds, “We knew there would be a lot more interest, a bigger audience to watch it, as it is a world-famous production. That meant there was a lot more invested from everybody who had a stake in it, from the original theatrical directors to the design team, the projection team, the movement coaches, the puppet makers, everybody had ownership of the play and wanted it presented in the way they felt best represented it.’

Van Someren says the purest part of his job was choosing what shot the viewer in the cinema would see at any point in the play. For research purposes and in preparation of his live productions, Van Someren goes and sees the play in the theatre, and gets a video recording of the production – which is usually a wide shot – and a copy of the script. “Then I play the video on my computer and decide which cameras to use, on which characters to focus and which shots to utilise.’

“It is quite a personal process,’ he continues. “It is essentially like storyboarding a movie. After the first rehearsal, the script changes as I know what every camera can capture, and what the actors are going to do. Then I have a good quality recording rather than a wide, dark shot. More than half of the original script is thrown out after that step.’

With War Horse, a lot of things changed after the first rehearsal. “I had to decide how to “treat’ the puppeteers and the horses. With live theatre you can choose where you’re going to look, but with the cinema experience we got to the point where we realised that when the audience see the horse, they should be seeing the whole horse, the head and all four legs.’

“The average viewer doesn’t have the complete theatre experience so my argument was that we needed to add something to make for more interesting viewing,’ Van Someren says. “A lot of the action isn’t dialogue-based but is physical movement. Therefore, you have to pick moments to capture that. We only had two rehearsals to choose the best shots and although there was a lot to consider I enjoyed the process.’

Van Someren says the success of War Horse is rooted in its great storyline but largely attributes the production’s appeal to the magic the puppets bring to the show. “War Horse is a universal, emotional and original story, but the puppets give it the X factor – that must-see factor that made the show really take off, resulting in an incredibly imaginative production on stage.’

The director concludes, “At its core, War Horse has a great story, but does not rely on big-name stars. It’s famous because it is so good.’

War Horse screens on 17, 19, 23 and 24 April at 19h30 and on 20 April at 14h30 at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, and at Ster-Kinekor Blue Route Mall.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyifzFZT7_Q.

Shungu Namutitima (Smoke That Thunders) International Film Festival 2014 call for entries

Vilole Images Productions (VIP) announces that the Shungu Namutitima (Smoke That Thunders) International Film Festival of Zambia (SHUNAFFoZ) invites local and international filmmakers to submit documentaries, short films and full-length feature films to submit entries.

SHUNAFFoZ runs from 28 July to 2 August in Livingstone in Zambia with various activities including screenings at the theatre and in surrounding partner communities and adjacent villages.

Forums and conferences with themes focusing on women and women with disability rights will feature at the festival and the critique and appraisal of the current and future state of Zambia’s arts and culture sector, marking the country’s 50th Independence Golden Jubilee.

A project of VIP, the theme for SHUNAFFoZ is “Entrenching Women, Girls and Disability Rights – 50 Years Later’. The festival is a platform for networking, mentorship and promotion of the films with themes that inspire and contribute towards positive social change.

The use of art of film is a tool for human rights advocacy through theatrical and community screenings, film skills enhancement, film production, development in trade in film and television products in Africa, exhibiting Zambian artistic / film talent, host film / arts forums, honouring deserving humanitarians, filmmakers and productions that inspire and contribute towards social change and promote Livingstone / Zambia as locations for filming with inclusion of women and persons with disabilities.

Submission of products should be in DVD PAL format only with the requested press package. Uncompleted and late entries will not be accepted. The deadline for entries is 30 June 2014.

• The film(s) should have good production and entertainment quality
• The film(s) may be entered for competition or out of competition
• The film(s) should have been produced with the last five (5) years
• Films submitted into the competition will be adjudicated by a jury / juries selected by the festival and the competition decision(s) by the jury shall be final
• The audience will also have the privilege to award a feature film of their choice, and movies from all over the world are legible to enter for the competition

Mark your package “NVC – No Commercial Value-Film Festival Entry’ so duties and packages are not incurred when the package is brought to Zambia.

Contact the Festival Director / Coordinator for additional information:

The Festival Coordinator
Shungu Namutitima International
Film Festival of Zambia (SHUNAFFoZ)
PO Box 60080

Email info@viloleimages.com, festdirect@viloleimages.com or e.d@viloleimages.com or visit www.viloleimages.com.

First Colombian Film Showcase takes place at The Bioscope in Johannesburg

In an attempt to create an audience for Colombian cinema in Africa, the First Colombian Film Showcase in South Africa will take place at The Bioscope during the last week of April.

The festival aims to create a conducive environment for potential markets and to generate dialogue between filmmakers from both countries.

Some of the highlights of the festival, an initiative of SUR, an independent association promoting Colombian arts and culture in South Africa, include:

La Playa DC screens on the opening night on 24 April at 19h00. Directed by Juan Andres Arango in 2012, this 90-minute film is about an Afro-Colombian teenager named Tomas who faces the difficulties of growing up in a city of exclusion and racism after fleeing the country’s Pacific coast. In search of his younger brother and closest friend Jairo, Tomas has to face the past and find his own identity.

On 25 April at 18h00 Agarrando Pueblo (Vampires of Poverty), directed by Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo in 1978, screens. The 28-minute mockumentary features two independent Colombian filmmakers masquerading as a German TV channel making a film about poverty in Cali and Bogota, challenging the demeaning element often found in socio-political documentaries.

La Gente de la Universal (The People of the Universal) shows on 25 April at 20h00 and is a black comedy about three people running a detective agency, namely Diogenes, a former cop; his attractive wife Fabiola; and his nephew Clemente. Directed by Felipe Aljure in 1993 with a running time of 110 minutes, this is a tale of sexual and financial intrigue, gangsters and Margarita, a popular porn star.

In Apatia (Apathy) on 26 April at 16h00, director Arturo Ortegon’s road movie, filmed in 2012 and 93 minutes long, two friends meet and part to follow their own paths. On Palm Sunday the one is looking for a girl who left him after aborting their baby and the other is searching for a way out of his desperate existence.

Perro come Perro (Dog Eat Dog) shows on 26 April at 20h00 and is directed by Carlos Moreno. In this 106-minute film, El Orejon is a violent crime boss who suffers from agoraphobia. Surrounded by telescopes in his luxury apartment in the centre of Cali in Colombia, he asks a voodoo priestess to avenge the murder of his godson by casting a spell on the shooter, Eusebio. Victor, hired by El Orejon to collect money from a pair of twins, meets Eusobio in a downtown hotel room where they wait for instructions, not knowing what to expect.

A selection of short films screens on 27 April at 14h00, including En Agosto / In August by Andres Barrientos and Carlos Andres Reyes; Sin Decir Nada / Don’t say a Word directed by Diana Montenegro; the documentary Jende Ri Palenge o Gente de Palenque / People of Palenque by Santiago Posada; and Simon Mejia; and Magnolia, also directed by Montenegro.

For more information on other screenings during the festival visit www.thebioscope.co.za.

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