Johannesburg South Africa: 01 November 2016 – It is with a heavy heart that the Independent Producers Organisation announces the passing of its Executive Member, Award-winning Producer/Director Junaid Ahmed, age 57.
Junaid Ahmed worked his way up the ranks, he was a man who passionately loved the South African film industry. He hailed from Durban, South Africa and became an international award-winning director and producer. His work includes productions for South African broadcasters, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Ahmed’s accolades include Best Sports Documentary at the Milan FICTS Festival for “Iqakamba – Hard Ball” and “Lucky” – BAFTA nominated for Best Short Film and winner of Best Short Film at over 40 International Film Festivals including Oscar eligible festivals of Clermont Ferrand, Cinequest San Jose and Aspen Shortsfest.
Junaid Ahmed’s feature films include directing “More Than Just A Game” which was acquired by Sony Pictures International (SPI) for international distribution. Together with Helena Spring, Junaid worked on a slate of films supported by the National Film and Video Foundation, and produced the 1st of the films, Hard to Get which was released in cinemas in August 2014, and went on to win multiple awards at various major international film awards. Known by many for his hard work, creativity and an innovative mind, Junaid’s last work released at the cinemas was Happiness is a Four Letter Word, where he worked with a brilliant team that comprised, producing partners Bongiwe Selane and Helena Spring, director Thabang Moleya. Happiness is a Four Letter Word surpassed expectations and became the first film by a team of black producers and director to make history, surging pass R12m at the South African Box Office in just over 30 days.
In one of the online posts published in 2010, fellow Executive Member at IPO, Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat had this to say about Junaid – “Junaid is a true gentleman and a fantastic director. Honest, hardworking, professional and very, very funny. He is one of the most creative and inventive people I have ever met”.
IPO Chairperson and Colleague Akin Omotoso said – “Junaid indeed epitomised excellence! His work, professionalism and commitment to his craft positively impacted the lives of many people, not only in South Africa, but also around the world. May his soul rest in peace,”
Click herefor info on the Independent Producers Organisation
Stick Man was produced by the UK based Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and International Emmy-winning production company, Magic Light Pictures – and if you haven’t already guessed it, animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish. The 26-minute short film was directed by London-based Jeroen Jaspaert and co-directed by South African Daniel Snaddon and was screened to nearly 10m people on BBC1 on Christmas day 2015. Voice cast include the likes of Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous),
Triggerfish seems to be doing something right, as this is one of many fantastic projects to come out of the Cape Town based animation studio. The team will also be working on another adaptation for BBC’s Christmas special, the ultimately popular Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.
“I’m so proud of the team who went beyond the call of duty to bring Stick Man to life,” says Snaddon. “Thank you to Michael Rose and Martin Pope of Magic Light, and the partners at Triggerfish, for this opportunity, and to Jeroen for bringing out the best in us.”
“This was Africa’s strongest showing at Annecy yet,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “In addition to Stick Man winning the TV category, our collaborator Clea Mallinson won the Animation du Monde pitching forum for her short Fairy Wheels; South African Naomi van Niekerk’s powder animation, ‘n Gewone Blou Maandagoggend, won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film in the short film category; and Adama, a film set in West Africa, won the André-Martin Award for a French feature film. We also had a great response to the four TV series we’re developing from last year’s pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, so it’s exciting times for African animation.”
Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s minister of Arts and Culture, congratulated Triggerfish on Twitter. “This is an achievement we can all be proud of as South Africans, because Annecy’s Cristal Awards are considered the Oscars of animation.”
Howard James Fyvie is impressively passionate about making movies. This comes across in the very descript and insightful response to our questions. Fyvie and filmmaking partner Greg Kriek on Last One’s Out, made the feature film with a measly budget of 50 000 ZAR.
Last One’s Out was invited in 2015 to be part of South Africa’s official delegation at Cannes film festival market. Producer/director Fyvie does not disclose in the interview exactly how they managed to get their pale bums into an airplane and across the ocean but he was quite descript about the overall experience.
One can only assume, when you are passionate enough you will make it happen, like our South African Mzungus have. Enjoy the Q&A!
[TN]As a writer and/or producer what is the most treacherous part of making a movie?
[HF] Everything… making movies is one massive challenge. The difficulties are manifest and they get into every single facet: from your own motivation and self worth right down to trying to learn a new software program in a few hours to make a deadline. It’s all in there. It’s one massive challenge, and unless you’re driven by a passion and vision bigger than the difficulty, that challenge will consume you and paralyse you. I could chat about this for hours…
[TN]What is you goal when making a film, is it to deliver the entertainment factor or deliver a strong message?
[HF] It’s about being moved emotionally: either laughter, joy, fear, thrill. We strive to make entertainment that connects with audiences on an emotional level, and hopefully – influences them in a positive life-changing way.
[TN]How did you guys initially react to all the rejection of your first script and how many attempts did it take before your realised that it’s time to move on?
[HF] Initially, you kind of just don’t believe that people aren’t as interested in your script as you are. After about 6 or 7 formal pitches, we realised we were running out of time. That’s when we had to have a hard chat and scrap the first idea.
[TN]Please explain your process of writing a script aligned to a limited budget – surely there are other production facets in mind that would leave you doubting your story while writing?
[HF] Writing a script on a zero-budget is no different to writing a script on a massive budget: at the end of the day the fundamentals to a good story remain the same: they’re all about flawed characters trying to solve problems in their worlds. The budget stuff is just the cosmetics.
Start out by saying, “I have to write something that will excite me, move me and make me passionate to see this film.”
Then, work on your plot / characters / emotional core.
After that, ask yourself – Okay, now, how can I actually pull this off with no money at all. Literally, zero.
Then, take the surgeons knife and trim your initial concept down to the core level. You’ll often find that the IDEA is the same, but the execution of that idea can be done two ways: one, on a MASSIVE budget level, and 2 – on no budget. At the end of the day, the idea and the emotional core – will remain largely unchanged. Understanding this is crucial in making anything. MONEY WILL NOT MAKE IT BETTER.You and your team, make it better.
[TN]How long and what was your process of gaining trust within the South African indie filmmaking community?
[HF] Traditionally – gaining trust takes years, and it takes great work and great people skills. I mean, we’ve been working with people for about 10 or so years since I moved to Cape Town. However, you don’t need to wait around in order to start making things. Rope in strangers, rope in new comers – they can judge your character and your work straight away once they meet you.
[TN]Why did you choose film to express yourself?
[HF]Film is the greatest combination of all the art forms. I love the visual arts: photography, in particular, and yet I love the sonic side of things too, being a musician and a singer. Adding to this the fact that film allows you to IMAGINE and DREAM – and then see these things become a reality… that is unparalleled.
[TN] Besides the ridiculous budget, what makes Last Ones Out different to every other Zombie movie?
[HF] To be honest, LOO isn’t a zombie movie. It’s a road movie/ drama about broken characters trying to understand each other. The zombies are very far and few between – and don’t feature much at all. What features – what is unique – is the characters, the setting (African locale) and the ending. It just happens to have zombies. 🙂
[TN]How did you keep your cast and crew motivated?
[HF] Faith. You have to believe in the project yourself, and then communicate that to them on set all the time. You have to be exceptionally aware of their needs, and constantly give little speeches, show them footage that looks good, make sure there is food on set (even when there wasn’t food, which was often), and in general – you have to, at all times, maintain a positive, can-do attitude. They need to trust you 100%, trust that “These guys know what they’re doing, and everything is going according to plan”.
Thankfully – Greg Kriek and myself were 100% a team, always backing each other, always there for each other. That guy is a soldier. And only afterwards, once we got back to my place where I was editing, would we open up about how tough the day was.
Sometimes, we would just sit in silence for a while; there wasn’t anything to say. It was that bad. I mean, at one stage, our DOP was running during a take, in the dark, down a corridor, filming zombies chasing a flare… He fell headlong onto the floor, smashed his hand, the lens and entire camera system nearly trashed… he went to the hospital the next day and I carried on shooting that scene that night… That was just one day… We had stuff breaking in the middle of a take, we had our follow focus antenna get lost in a giant field of grass (that we were already shooting in illegally), we had the sun setting before we were anywhere near finished, we had actors just not pitching, we had crew members attempting to smoke weed during filming, we had times when we filmed with completely broken cameras… I mean, it’s a challenge. And the whole way through – you can’t let that show. Not ONE moment. You have to be above all of that – and keep moving. It’s about vision. Luckily, God was involved in our film and the miracle of pulling this whole thing off cannot be understated.
[TN] Now that you’ve been invited to Cannes with Last Ones Out, what is your next move?
[HF] Last Ones Out was invited in 2015 to be part of South Africa’s official delegation to the Cannes Film Festival’s market, the Marche Du Film. Myself and Producer/Lead Actor Greg Kriek had no cash to go, but somehow managed to be there – we paid for ourselves, stayed in a the cheapest accommodation we could find – cramped 1 bedroom flat 1 hour outside of town, stayed with a Welshman (Greg slept on the floor between the cupboard and the bed, I slept on the bed next to the Welshman. We used the toilet as the cupboard. It was nuts). That time was special. We got to meet people in Cannes and understand the business side of things.
Back in SA, we’ve had a few people making us deals to try sell Last Ones Out – at this stage, we haven’t chosen anyone yet because the film is only now being released and we want it to grow in profile before we hand it off to others, who will not be as passionate about driving it as us at this stage.
However, whilst Last Ones Out is being released independently throughout festivals, Greg and myself are actively working on acquiring budget for our next film. I’ve written an action comedy, along the lines of Tropic Thunder, and we’re currently trying to get that thing going. We’ve applied to the KZN Film Commission and will be meeting with them whilst at the DIFF.
Multi-award winning local filmmaker Sallas de Jager’s period drama feature film Free Statehas continued its winning streak by taking the honours for Best Cinematography at the Garden State Film Festival in New York. The film recently scooped Best Director at the Luxor African Film Festival.
“This is an amazing accolade and we are really thrilled that our Director of Photography Tom Marais has been singled out for his amazing work on this film” says de Jager. “It is further testimony to Tom’s dedication and passion for the medium of film. He has done us proud. This win is further proof that the complexities of our history resonate far beyond our borders and that our stories are universal”.
Written and directed by de Jager, the film is set in the Free State province during the 70s and examines the devastating consequences of an interracial relationship between an Afrikaans girl (Former supermodel Nicola Breytenbach) and a handsome Indian man (ex-Mr South Africa Andrew Govender), and their respective families.
Free State is a collaboration between de Jager’s Bosbok Ses Films and Utkarsh Entertainment in association with Indian production company, Parnam Entertainment.
Nicola Breytenbach and Andrew Govender head up a cast which includes some of the country’s most celebrated and well-loved actors including Leleti Khumalo (Sarafina, Yesterday), Deon Lotz (Modder & Bloed, Skoonheid) and Rolanda Marais (Wolwedans in die Skemer, Ballade vir ’n Enkeling). This film marks the first international appearance for Marathi and Bollywood star, Mangesh Desai.
Free State is distributed by Times Media Films and will be released nationally on 27 April 2016.
Discovered by Lily Allen and signed to her record label “In The Name Of” (an imprint of Columbia records), Tom Odell mentions in an interview with the Daily Mail “By chance a friend of Lily Allen came to one of his first London gigs in December 2011. Allen came to the next and started telling people his voice was ‘fragile yet powerful’, that he was totally gorgeous and reminded her of David Bowie. She invited him for a beer and by the following month he was signed to her label…”
Still from Wrong Crowd music video
Thomas Peter Odell better known as Tom Odell, the musician born in Chichester, West Sussex, was signed after only four gigs. Tom went onto win the prestigious “Songwriter of the Year”, Ivor Novello Award (2014) and has drawn comparisons to acclaimed musicians like Cold Play, Leonard Cohen and the late Jeff Buckley. Tom is an English singer/songwriter internationally renowned for winning the Brits Critics Choice Award (2013), accompanied by the successful debut of his UK chart topping album, “Long Way Down” in 2013.
Recently Odell shot his music video in Cape Town, South Africa. This is where I had the privilege of meeting this humble and grounded artist and also had the opportunity of speaking to the production team Somesuch from London, England.
I asked ‘Wrong Crowd’ Music Director George Belfield (GB) and Producer Tom Birmingham (TB) from UK production company Somesuch a few questions, here is what they had to say:
Q. What were your thoughts on working with South African crew?
GB: “It was my second time working in South Africa, and I had a great experience. I can’t wait to come back to be honest.”
Q. What was the inspiration for the new music videos?
GB: “Tom came with a few strong ideas that he was really keen on, and we worked together to develop them into a narrative. a lot of inspiration came from 70s films and photography”
Q. Why did you choose Cape Town, South Africa to shoot the video?
TB: “We chose Cape Town as it has great cast, locations and crew and also the exhange rate is very favourable for us at the moment.”
Q. What were your thoughts on working with South African crew?
TB: “The crew were generally very good although as it was such a busy time for filming in Cape Town we didn’t always get our 1st choice so some were not great.”
The much-anticipated hybrid feature documentary, ALISON, comes to the big screen in South Africa on 12 August 2016, for Women’s Month.
In December 1994, two men raped, stabbed and disemboweled Alison Botha after they abducted her from outside her home in Port Elizabeth. Against all odds, Alison defied death – and she also denied her attackers the satisfaction of destroying her life. Her book, I have life, published by Penguin SA in 1998 has remained on the Penguin SA bestsellers list, translated into seven different languages. Alison was the first-ever South African to publicly speak out about being raped, and has become a sought-after motivational speaker, sharing her tale of courage and resilience with audiences around the world.
ALISON is a triumphant, deeply personal film with contemporary, real-life fairytale undertones. This is her tale about being her own hero, on her terms – fairy gardens and all. It’s a story about how trauma is ongoing, forever lurking in the shadows, ready to show itself at any given moment and devour you all over again, and one woman’s fight to keep it at bay. It’s a tale of monsters, miracles and hope and chronicles how Alison’s life has unfolded in the 20 years since the attack. An innovative make-a-difference outreach campaign, The Safe Room, is planned to coincide with the life of the film.
“It’s a big moment when you share something that you really believe in with others – a little nervous at what their reaction will be. And that moment becomes significant and pivotal when they choose to believe in it too,” says Alison Botha.
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?
“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.
“Tip-ex” the gripping drama written, directed and performed by Lauren Hannie will make its official debut at the 6th annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival 11 – 19 March 2016, hosted at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town. The show by Hannie, tells the story about a woman, Katie Williams, who through music and storytelling allows the audience into her life.
Katie Williams grew up in a very typical coloured community on the Cape Flats. She has always been different from a young age and when she realises she has feelings for the same sex, she confesses this to her family. The information is not taken lightly, to such an extent that a male relative trying to “fix Katie”, decides to rape her. Find all the show details below…
Written & Directed by: Lauren Hannie
Music written by: Maxine Ceasar
Performed by Lauren Hannie, Mellisa Johannisen, Maxine Ceasar
South African Menswear Fashion Week is regarded as one of Africa’s most prestigious menswear fashion platforms, with a vision of promoting South African designers locally and internationally. This years fashion showcase took place at the Cape Town Stadium from 3 – 6 February 2016, presenting South Africa’s top menswear designers to local and international fashion enthusiasts. So instead of presenting you with the usual ramp stills of fashion week, we decided to rather give you the backstage pass through the lens of promising photographer Sarah Keogh! So check out our backstage pass at this years SA Menswear Fashion Week below…
For more information on SA Menswear Fashion Week click here
The South African National Film and Video Foundation an agency of The Department of Arts and Culture, have officially announced their internship opportunities for 2016! Individuals interested in building a career in the South African film industry are encouraged to apply for the respective internship opportunities listed below.
Film and TV Producing
Supply Chain Management
Fashion Designing (wardrobe)
Makeup and Beauty
Marketing and Communications
Qualifications and Experience:
South African Citizens with a valid South African ID number
Applicants must have a Matric Qualification and completed a Film & Television or other related Degree / National Diploma / Certificate from a recognized South African Institute Submission of a CV, Matric Certificate, Tertiary transcripts and/or Degree Applicants must not have participated in previous SETA sponsored internship programmes
Applicants must not have previously had permanent employment
Previous work experience including vacation work is an advantage
Applications must be submitted by fax to 0865197585 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Application deadline: 24 February 2016.
Preference will be given to applicants from designated groups. People with disabilities are encouraged to apply