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Urban Brew Studios Press
Urban Brew Studios offers television production, outside broadcasting, content generation, branded content, channel management, graphics and more.

Urban Brew Studios to produce local Disney show

Urban Brew Studios has been commissioned to produce Disney Channel’s (Dstv
channel 303) first ever South African TV production, I ♥ Violetta. The
weekly companion series for the third season of Disney Channel’s top-rated hit
telenovela Violetta will air this September and see three local
presenters talking about a wide range of topics, related to the show.

“For a South African production company to be awarded international work is a
great achievement in itself, but for that work to come from undoubtedly the biggest
family brand in the world, that is an incredible milestone,’ said Urban Brew’s
Freddy Louw, executive producer on I ♥ Violetta.

He has added that it’s a dream come true for many on the team, “This is a career
highlight for many of us. We’re so very proud that the production house’s journey of
25 years in television production has finally put us on the road with Disney.’

Head of marketing for Walt Disney Company Africa, Deirdre King said they
partnered with Urban Brew Studios because of their experience and reputation in
the industry, “Urban Brew Studios have experience working with broadcasters and
producing a vast range of programming in different formats. They bring all that
local production knowledge, creative and technical expertise and a positive energy
to their productions.’

Violetta is a true fan favourite on Disney Channel. Upon seeing a
similar execution of I ♥ Violetta being produced in Europe, we were
excited at the idea of creating a South African version,’ continues King. “The show
is a great example of the many local activities The Walt Disney Company Africa is
bringing to South African audiences. ”

Aside from producing the show, Urban Brew Studios has in recent months also been
helping Disney stage a talent search for the three I ♥ Violetta
presenters. Hundreds of boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 18 years
auditioned in front of a casting panel in the country’s major cities before the final
presenters were selected.

Catch a special preview episode of I ♥ Violetta on 11 September at
17h00, only on Disney Channel. The third season of Violetta airs
weekdays from 21 September and then I ♥ Violetta will kick off every
Friday from 25 September.

Local doccie on SABC3

Four-part local documentary series Cold Sweat will air on SABC3 on Sundays at 6pm, starting on 8 July. The series, by Johannesburg-based Urban Brew Studios, covers one of the toughest endurance races on the planet – the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole.

The South African documentary team filmed this gruelling race between sixteen competitors from six nations during the Antarctic summer in December 2011 and January 2012.

One hundred years ago, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beat fellow explorer Robert Falcon Scott in a race to be the first man to reach the South Pole. Arriving 35 days after Amundsen, Scott and his team perished on their way back, while Amundsen returned to his native Norway a hero.

During the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole competitors relive this epic duel. Representing South Africa was Braam Malherbe from Cape Town and Peter van Kets form East London. Both these extreme adventurers are no strangers to extreme firsts. In 2006, adventurer, conservationist and 50/50 presenter, Braam Malherbe and running partner, David Grier, achieved a world first by running the entire length of the Great Wall of China, a distance of 4,218km, at a pace of a marathon a day for 98 days. Again in 2008 the duo completed another world first by running the entire coastline from Namibia to Mozambique, a distance of 3,278km. Not to be outdone, in 2010, East London-based extreme adventurer, Peter van Kets, became the first African to complete an unsupported row across the Atlantic ocean when he spend 76 days alone in a seven meter boat, rowing more than 4,500km. Both these men’s achievements speak of courage, passion, tenacity and the will to win, the very characteristics needed to succeed when they tackled their most recent extreme adventure in the toughest environment known to man: Antarctica.

The competitors left Cape Town on 19 December on a flight to Novo, a Russian research station on the east coast of the Antarctic continent, and, after an initial training leg, the race started 10 days later. Covering a distance of 800km to be the first to the South Pole, competitors raced unsupported, on foot and with cross country skis, hauling gear and provisions on what Van Kets describes as a “tupperware canoe’, otherwise known as a pulk which, when fully laden, weighs around 140kg. At the start the actual race was expected to take around 25 days to complete. Competitors negotiated crevasse fields, blistering blizzards, lung conditions at 3000 meters above sea level on the high plateau on the way. Add to that a sun that never sets, temperatures as low as -45 degrees, emotional challenge and isolation, and you have an event that is undoubtedly the ultimate extreme endurance challenge set in the coldest, driest, and highest desert on the planet.

Cold Sweat portrays the very personal journeys of these men and women, braving the unknown, tempting fate, and making history at the end of the world. As they follow in the footsteps of previous Antarctic explorers, they will reflect on those who made it out alive, and contemplate the stories of heroism of those who didn’t. This was undoubtedly an exercise in extreme endurance; only for the serious explorer that craves the call of the wild; who was willing to put life and limb at nature’s mercy in a quest to be the bravest and the best.

Danie Ferreira, executive producer at Urban Brew Studios, says Antarctica is the most beautiful and alluring mistress, and with your first encounter, there is no doubt that it will be love at first sight. But be aware, with no provocation whatsoever, she will change and she will break your heart. Cold Sweat will give viewers the precious opportunity to experience the extraordinary achievements of extraordinary people; to partake in both the pain and the glory; to feel the pride and the joy; and to marvel at the momentous.

The series comprises four 48-minute episodes.

Three Talk on ‘vibrant, sexy’ new set

Three Talk unveiled a new set at Urban Brew Studios in Randburg on Monday 4 July during an episode that looked back at the highlights and hairstyles of the SABC3 talk show’s eight year run.

The new set features a white stage and background with an oxblood-red couch, although the multi-purpose area can be adapted for different types of shows. Presenter Noeleen Maholwana-Sangqu said that, after a year of plotting and planning, the new studio is sexy, fresh and vibrant.

Guests for the episode included Three Talk regulars such as medical expert Dr Harry Seftel, author and motivational speaker Justin Cohen, psychologist Phyllis Ndlovu and radio presenter Ndumiso Ngcobo. They joined Maholwana-Sangqu on set to talk about the show’s “new look and feel’, and highlight the fact that some things will remain the same, including the interaction with members of the audience.

“Technology has enabled the nation to come together on this show,’ said Cohen.

Maholwana-Sangqu talked about some of her favourite moments on the show, and five big screens showed clips of past episodes featuring her changing hairstyles, embarrassing moments and famous interviewees such as Lionel Ritchie, Kelly Rowland, Richard Branson and Lance Armstrong. However, ordinary people sharing their stories had also left an impression: “Each and every guest that comes in, I can identify with,’ said Maholwana-Sangqu.

Three Talk is on SABC3 weekdays at 15:30.

A shield for active men

To promote its sponsorship of the combined soccer television show and competition known as the Golden Goal managed by Urban Events, Shield briefed Urban Brew to create a commercial that would create excitement around the event. Furthermore Shield had to be positioned  as the only men’s hygiene product that would be able to shield against germs and odours regardless of how active men were.

Says Freddy Louw, Urban Brew Executive Producer and Creative Director, “The roof top soccer shows are very exciting and are, without a doubt, very active because of the speed and force at which the game is played. The goal was to keep to the integrity of the creative look that had already been created with the print and poster campaign.

“We thought that turning the two players who are spearheading the promotion Tiko Modise and Siphiwe Tshabalala into robotic figures dueling for supremacy within the ‘dome’ which is an intimidating steel encased arena. The challenge was to show the complicated mechanics of the game while still keeping the explanation sequences exciting and attention grabbing. Our look was just an expansion on the gritty Mad Max style that we had been supplied with, our aim was to bring that to life through motion and animation, while still pointing focus back to the Shield brand.”

Urban Brew then briefed production studio Masters & Savant Worldwide JHB to create the sponsorship commercial.

Says Masters & Savant Worldwide JHB MD Roger Smythe, “The emphasis was on scale and action, and the robot concept brought home the idea of Titans. We decided to take a more graphical treatment but also keep in mind the existing artwork and the client’s references.”

Urban Brew commences training for Southern Sudan broadcasting project

On Monday, 21 January, 20 Sudanese journalists arrived at the television production house, Urban Brew Studios ahead of their training in preparation for the establishment of a national public broadcast station for the semi-independent government of Southern Sudan.

In November last year Urban Brew Studios won a multi-million rand contract to build and assist with the establishment of a public broadcaster for Southern Sudan.

The public broadcasting solution to be provided by Urban Brew Studios includes the development of the existing Southern Sudan Television (SSTV), which is currently received only in Juba, into a national station with a new distribution infra-structure that will include Direct to Home (DTH) technology.

Urban Brew Studios will also develop the existing Radio Southern Sudan into a national station and build 10 other radio stations to cover all of the country’s provinces.

In terms of the agreement, Urban Brew Studios will provide training to radio and television personnel from Southern Sudan. The company will procure, install and commission various types of broadcasting equipment, including studios and transmission equipment.

Urban Brew Studios shareholder, Zwelakhe Sisulu (former CEO of the SABC), spoke about their commitment to developing media in the Sudanese region of the continent. Mr. Sisulu said, “I am extremely excited that this partnership, which was initiated three years ago with the late Southern Sudan President, John Garang, is finally a realisation.’

Danie Ferreira Managing Director of Urban Brew Studios echoed his enthusiasm about the project. “We were tendering against the best of Europe and the East and we’re very proud of the fact that South Africa won the bid. This is another opportunity for Urban Brew to make our mark on the international media landscape.’

The journalists who have arrived are all eager to start their television production training. They will be undergoing theoretical training in writing, editing and producing television programmes in genres such as news, current affairs, documentaries and magazine shows. Following the theoretical training they will undergo practical training in which they will produce programmes that will be broadcast by SSTV (Southern Sudan Television).

The agreement between Urban Brew Studios and the Government of Southern Sudan indicates that Urban Brew will take responsibility for the broadcasting of SSTV from February 15, 2008.

The trainees in Johannesburg will receive their training through mentorship in the packaging and broadcasting of the television channel.

To add to this enthusiasm the Minister of Information and Broadcasting of Southern Sudan Gabriel Chang will be visiting the Urban Brew Studios on Saturday, 26 January.


Urban Brew Wins Multi-Million Rand Contract

Television production house, Urban Brew Studios has won a multi-million rand contract to build a public broadcasting station for the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan.

The agreement was signed in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba on Friday, 17 November 2007.

The public broadcasting solution to be provided by Urban Brew includes the development of the existing Southern Sudan Television (SSTV), which is currently received in Juba only, into a national station with new distribution infra-structure that will include Direct to Home (DTH) technology. The initial phase of the contract culminates at the end of December 2008.

Urban Brew will also develop the existing Radio Southern Sudan into a national station and build 10 other radio stations to cover all of the country’s provinces.

In terms of the agreement, Urban Brew will provide training to radio and television personnel from Southern Sudan. The company will procure, install and commission various types of broadcasting equipment, including studios and transmission equipment.

Zwelakhe Sisulu (former CEO of SABC), who is a shareholder at Urban Brew, said the discussions had begun four years ago when he met Southern Sudan’s late president, John Garang in Kenya. Garang died a year later in a helicopter crush, but the discussions continued with other officials of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) government,said Sisulu.

“This agreement is an indication of how Urban Brew is branching out into the African continent and exporting its talent in the media production industry,’ said Sisulu. He said the winning of the Southern Sudan contract represented a “watershed point in Urban Brew’s efforts to establish an international footprint’.

Urban Brew has also opened an office in Kenya and won production work there. Sisulu added: “We are already in discussions with other governments and public broadcasters on the continent who are keen to work with us on a model similar to the one we will be employing in Southern Sudan.’

Urban Brew has also been involved in the launching of Soweto TV, offering expertise and resources said Sisulu. The company has also launched a Gospel Channel on Dstv, known as One Gospel.

Work in Southern Sudan has already started and teams of experts are being dispatched there, while a group of trainees from that country is expected to arrive in South Africa within the next three weeks,’ Sisulu concluded.

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