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Julian CleophasMarch 14, 20167min60

African film, Happiness is a four letter word, Thabang Moleya, Renate Stuurman, Khanyi Mbau, Mmbatho Montsho , Africa's 1st film blog, Zoom-in, African film, SA film

South African feature film “Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word” directed by Thabang Moleya, had been well received among film enthusiasts, silencing critics and grossing R2 371 782 in box office receipts opening weekend. Based on the award winning novel by Cynthia Jele, the cast includes Khanyi Mbau, Renate Stuurman and Mmbatho Montsho as lead actress, exploring the story of three career women in search of true love in the “city of gold”, Johannesburg. The romantic drama by Moleya went on to be the best performing new release of the weekend, attracting 45 000 people and  outshining international releases like, ”50 Shades of Black”, “13 Hours” and “Hail, Ceasar”, to name a few. “Happiness Is A Four- Letter Word” is still currently screening at South African cinemas nationwide, so don’t hesitate or you might be too late!  Check out the official trailer  below…


What if three best friends who think they are happy have their perfectly constructed lives burst, when one of their ex-fiance reappears, another’s extra marital affair threatens to be exposed and the third’s perfect boyfriend is revealed to be living a double life?

African film, Happiness is a four letter word, Thabang Moleya, Renate Stuurman, Khanyi Mbau, Mmbatho Montsho , Africa's 1st film blog, Zoom-in, African film, SA film

“Happiness is a Four Letter Word” is a heart-warming romantic drama exploring the lives of three best friends, Nandi, Zaza and Princess, living the good life in fast paced Johannesburg. Nandi is on the fast track to being made partner at her law firm and is engaged to emerging entrepreneur, Thomas. Zaza is a trophy wife to the wealthy and successful property developer Bheki. And Princess is the celebrated owner of one of the trendiest art gallery in town, and is living with her sexy and talented boyfriend, Leo. But things aren’t what they seem…

Based on the novel, Happiness is a Four-Letter word, by Cynthia Jele, these strong, empowered, and highly individual women find themselves having to negotiate new norms of being upwardly mobile black women in a rapidly changing South Africa. In a time when wealth and positions seems to be more important than traditional values, each woman will find out that happiness is not found in a one-side-fits-all box. Only through trial and sacrifice will each friend discover what it is that truly makes them happy.

Country: South Africa
Directed by: Thabang Moleya
Written by: Based on the novel by Cynthia Nozizwe Jele
Screenplay: Busisiwe Ntilintili
Produced by: Junaid Ahmed, Bongiwe Selane, Helena Spring
Website: Facebook & Twitter
The movie is being produced with part funding from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and forms part of the Junaid Ahmed Productions slate of films which aims to develop key areas of black talent in the film industry.
Images courtesy of EWN and "Happiness Is A Four Letter Word" Facebook 


Thiru NFebruary 18, 20163min40

MZANSI WOMEN FILM FESTIVAL has opened its call for film submissions of its 3rd edition, closing date 31 May 2016. Festival will be hosted in Johannesburg in August as part of Women’s Month celebration. Festival’s focus is to screen films by and about Women.

Submit your: Features, Short Films, Documentaries, and Animations to

Mzansi Women Film Festival

In partnership with…







Thiru NOctober 1, 20153min20

This just in… Huffington Post recently called Faith47, whose work often has a very spiritual and supernal feel, “better than Banksy”. No offence to the journos at Huffington Post or Faith47 but I don’t think they understand art – Banksy is Banksy there’ll be no other Banksy he’s a pioneer like no other, non the less this bold statement may help attract even more attention to her upcoming solo show in New York in November at Jonathan Levine.

Now back to film… South African artist Faith47 and director Dane Dodds have released Landfill Meditation, a collaborative video inspired by Faiths street paste series of broken down cars.

Landfill Meditation doesn’t chronicle the creation of the murals but rather contextualises them, linking Faith47’s abandoned cars to other objects and spaces once loved and desired, then later discarded.

“This project is reflecting on the notion of progress and the waste that it leaves behind,” says Faith47. “This is about integrating the worst parts of ourselves and acknowledging the damage we do to the planet as a whole.”

Landfill Meditation makes for uncomfortable viewing: rather than the usual postcard view of Cape Town or Johannesburg, Dane’s camera lingers on unsettling imagery of rats and rubbish, decomposing birds and derelict, hijacked buildings.

“We cannot separate ourselves clean and perfect from the trash we dump out back,” says the video’s voiceover, adapted from Native American author Gerald Vizenor’s short story collection, Landfill Meditation. “Being clean is a delusion.”


Thiru NOctober 1, 20154min30

Why are we doing an article about a UK Jazz band? Well, the award winning UK Jazz Band Sons of Kemet had decided to work with South African born Mandarin speaking, Director, Lebogang Rasethabawho found his African roots in china and who was also responsible for direction of Spoek Mathmbo’s  “Future Sound of Mzansi”

This music video “In the Castle of My Skin” was shot in Tembisa Johannesburg and features the Indigenous Dance Academy’s pantsula dancers as a black-tie orchestra, conducted by choreographer Jarrel Mathebula. It’s a study in contrasts: a convergence of the chaotic energy of pantsula with the controlled sophistication of an orchestra.

 “Pantsula and jazz aren’t things that people were ever meant to see together; they both have rich histories with very different cultural and aesthetic values,” says Lebo. “But framing ideas within a different context can give them new life.”

The timing of this edit was on point except the editor used cutaways of the same dance sequence, shot in the same location but from different times of the day. It would have been beautiful to see a natural progression of the day throughout the exceptional choreography and performance.

It’s fantastic to see the music come alive, through Pantsula dancers echoing a jazz ochestrae. huge shoutout to our local South African dancers and choreographer!

The music video was shot by cinematographer Motheo Moeng and edited by Xolelwa ‘Ollie’ Nhlabatsi.


Thiru NNovember 21, 20144min140

Sony’s latest offerings the Sony F65 , F55 and F5 camera systems are doing well in the film and broadcast industry, along with the success of the preferred camera technology at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, while broadcasting all 64 games around the world in 4K! God bless you Sony! May you continue to grow leaps and bounds.

The Giganotosaurus  of AV technology is coming alive, to give you a close up on all their latest creative and innovative tools Sony has on Offer.

Catch the workshop in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. Find the details listed below:

Sony Workshop Cape Town  

Date: 27 November 2014

Session Times: 10am to 1pm

                            2pm to 5pm

Venue: Waterfront Film Studios, 1 Port Road

               V & A Waterfront, 8002

              Cape Town

Sony Workshop Johannesburg

Date: Choose from any session on November 24th or 25th,2014.

Session Times: 10am to 1pm

                            2pm to 5pm

Venue:  Blanford Manor, 106 Hyperion Drive

               North Riding, Randpark Ridge 2156



Thiru NMay 28, 20145min70

From flawless performances to mesmerizing and beautiful landscapes – “The forgotten Kingdom” is a well-executed film of an excellent stature.

It’s no surprise! The independent feature film snatched three at The African Movie Academy Awards!

Congratulations to:

  • Carlos Carvalho for Best Cinematography;
  • Michael Botha and Charlotte Buys for Best Sound Design; and
  • Lebohang Ntsane for Best Child Actor.

Ntsane’s acceptance speech was the highlight of AMAA 2014. At the microphone in front of 3,000 people, he held up his trophy and belted out, “This is for Lesotho!”

This 98-minute film is no blockbuster moneymaking cash cow… Andrew Mudge realized from conception, at the beginning of his 9-year journey but pursued it anyway. The only sensible conclusion one can come to – he did it for the love of film, to be drawn into the life of a character so much so, that you are encapsulated by scenery and character.

While Mudge has no kids of his own, he believes, “Making a feature film is akin to having a kid”. He goes onto to say “we only have a certain number of heart beats, why waste time…”

Here’s an interview with Andrew Mudge the writer, director, and part producer of The Forgotten Kingdom

What is your moral premise and you overarching goal within this 98minute film?

It’s interesting that within the film the antagonist is more than a character it seems to belong to the greater plot…please elaborate.

How did you select your cast? What was it like working with amateur and professional actors while working from a foreign language script?

Why did you choose to set this film in Lesotho and Johannesburg?

This is your first feature film… what was that journey like?

Thank you Andrew Mudge for being part of Africa’s 1st Film Blog

Review | Trailer 


Other awards:

  • Cape Town – Carlos Carvalho wins Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography at the 14th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Gala held in New York.
  • Audience Choice Best Narrative at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2014
Many thanks to Casting Director Bonnie Lee Bouman for allowing us to use her casting studio for this interview.


Thiru NApril 29, 20143min70

On its opening weekend, the South African thriller ‘iNumber Number’ at #7 on the industry’s top ten, along with blockbusters like ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, ‘3 Days to Kill’, and ‘The Colony’.

The film has earned 19% more than the popular 2008 gangster movie ‘Jerusalema’, and has this far earned 4% more than the 2011 heist movie ‘How to Steal 2 Million’. It has also earned 81% of the box office takings raked in by Oscar winner ‘Tsotsi’ on its opening weekend in 2005.

“We are all excited to see that local audiences are embracing the film,” says director Donovan Marsh.

“This is an excellent achievement for a film on its opening weekend,” adds Helen Kuun, CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the film in South Africa. “It’s an indication of the quality of the film and the outstanding performances of the actors. ‘iNumber Number’ is a high-energy crowd pleaser, and audiences are loving it.”

An action-packed movie, ‘iNumber Number’ isabout a pair of cops battling corrupt colleagues as well as a gang of armoured-car thieves. Chili (S’dumo Mtshali, winner of ‘Class Act’ in 2010),and Shoes (Presley Chweneyagae of ‘Tsotsi’ and ‘State of Violence’ fame) have been partners in the police force for eight years. After they make a risky arrest, their corrupt superior refuses to give them the reward they are due.Enraged, Chili realises that honesty does not pay and sets about infiltrating a gang of armoured car thieves. The film boasts an oddball cast that brings comic relief to the ruthless thuggery.

‘iNumber Number’ is South African director Donovan Marsh’s fourth film. An award-winning director, writer and editor,Marsh has worked in the local film industry since 1992. He wrote and directed the feature films ‘Dollars and White Pipes’, ‘Spud’ and ‘Spud 2: The Madness Continues’.

The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival in September 2013. It was produced by Marsh, Quizzical Pictures’ Harriet Gavshon, JP Potgieter and Mariki van der Walt.

Official Trailer | Director’s Interview


Thiru NApril 17, 20143min63

“Share your experience and journey with us on taking iNumber Number from creation to it’s manifestation on screen…”

“From a writer’s perspective who’s not typically associated with ‘gangsters’ and have not experienced that culture first hand, nor are you ‘black’. We know you took inspiration from Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and made it your own in terms of a South African action cultural piece… Where you anxious at all, where you nervous about doing it right?”

“You mentioned Israel Makoe is a real life (ex) gangster; he played a big part in the iNumber Number film – What was it like working with him?”

“There are lots of villains in this film, making iNumber Number pretty enticing. I mean we don’t know whether to like the characters or throw stones at them – this moral dilemma is what makes for a really great film. Having the audience question their own morals and integrity is something many South African’s and people in general, from around the world, encounter, please elaborate…”

Thank you Donovan Marsh for being part of Africa’s 1st Film Blog




Thiru NApril 14, 20144min103

With a touch of magical realism comes a story about a young beer drinking cigarette-smoking rebel, Atang Mokoenya (Zenzo Ngqobe) who is forced into a series of unravelling events leading him on a journey of self-discovery where he is stripped of all his wealth and quickly learns the way of the world.

 If you haven’t yet been to Lesotho, The Forgotten Kingdom will take you there! The D.O.P, Carlos Carvalho, did an amazing job in capturing the epic landscapes of this beautiful country.

The Forgotten Kingdom is an independent film and took 9 years to manifest on screen. It all began with a script, written by Andrew Mudge who also produced, directed, and edited this full-length-feature-film.

The script was written in English by the American Mudge and later translated into Sesotho for the scenes shot in Lesotho, and Tsotsitaal for parts of the story shot in Johannesburg, South Africa. While Mudge recognised his limitations with the Sesotho language, he states ~ “It’s about the honesty of the performance. It’s not about how the words come out. This movie isn’t about reading text. I wanted as little dialogue as possible. I never wanted line upon line of subtitle. The story’s about beauty; show and not tell, which meant finding the perfect cast to convey this.”

My favorite qualities about this feature film are the performances; they gripped the audience and me. Strong and authentic each artist is. Even though The Forgotten Kingdom had no major star cast, casting director Bonnie Lee Bowman did a fantastic job of putting the performers together.

There’s so much more I could add to this film, such as the wonderful music by Robert Miller but films are not meant to be read-about, they’re meant to be watched.

This part American and HUGE part African feature film had also snatched a few international awards:

  • 2013 Sarasota Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Florida Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival – Audience Award Best Narrative Feature
  • 2013 Ashland Independent Film Festival – Finalist Best Cinematography

The Forgotten Kingdom is the first feature film produced in Lesotho. Like all journeys, it was a voyage into the great unknown. ~ Andrew Mudge

You can watch the trailer here


Thiru NApril 14, 20142min112

Tsotsitaal is a word of two languages, tsotsi – a Sesotho slang word which directly translates to “thug” and/or “robber” and taal – an Afrikaans word meaning “language”. Tsotsitaal is made up of a variety of languages spoken in the surrounding townships of Johannesburg City and Soweto, the South Western Township of South Africa.

Here’s a movie about crime, directed by Gavin Hood, starring Presley Chweneyage titled Tsotsi. This movie pretty much sums up a tsotsi and the language. It will also give you a visual indication of a South African Gauteng township thug.

Another South African crime movie, which will help you understand a ‘high income’ Tsotsi is Ralph Ziman’s  2008 Gangsters Paradise: Jeruselema is inspired by a true story, it stars Rapulana Seiphemo and Robert Hobbs among other South Afrcian A-list actors.

Tsotsitaal is an ever-evolving language created by hoodlums of lowerclass South Afrcian society who constructed the language on several Native African languages as to hide meaning from the common man. Tsotsitaal is predominantly spoken in South Africa’s Gauteng province.

Yet another movie to showcase Tsotsitaal is The Forgotten Kingdom.


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