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IMAX comes to Joburg

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The ultra-big screen experience arrived in Johannesburg this week with the opening of the city’s first IMAX theatre, courtesy of the new Terminator movie

The IMAX experience came to Johannesburg this week, as Ster-Kinekor officially opened the doors of its fifth IMAX theatre in South Africa, and the first for the Johannesburg area, at its cinema complex at Cradlestone Mall, west of the city.

The venue opened for the premiere of the much-anticipated Terminator: Genisys in IMAX 3D.

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The opening of this IMAX theatre follows the success of The IMAX Experience at four other Ster-Kinekor sites that have opened during the past year and a half. These include Gateway in Durban, The Grove Mall in Pretoria, Cape Gate in Cape Town, and Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth that opened in mid-June.

One of the cinemas at Cradlestone Mall has been transformed to accommodate the impressive floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall IMAX screen and superior acoustical treatment. The design of the auditorium and the seating layout ensures a thrilling IMAX experience at every screening, while the cutting-edge, dual-projection system delivers crystal-clear images. Coupled with its customised theatre design and powerful digital sound system, IMAX creates a unique cinema environment that makes audiences feel as if they are in the film.

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Ster-Kinekor and IMAX have confirmed that the sixth theatre will be installed at the completely revamped Ster-Kinekor site at Eastgate shopping mall, which is scheduled to open towards the end of October this year. This latest deal brings Ster-Kinekor’s IMAX commitment to six theatres in under two years.

Says John Sikiotis, Managing Executive of Ster-Kinekor Theatres: “We believe this new cinema will prove as popular with local cinema audiences as our other four IMAX theatres have been. We have no doubt that when our new Eastgate cinema complex opens later this year, movie lovers will also flock in their droves to the IMAX theatre there.”

Representing IMAX at the Cradlestone Mall opening was Giovanni Dolci, VP Theatre Development: EMEA at IMAX Corporation, who said:  “It is wonderful to be back in South Africa again, and so soon after the successful launches of the other four IMAX theatres. We are impressed with the success of these sites since they started trading, and look forward to this new theatre achieving equally positive results.

“We entered into the initial partnership with Ster-Kinekor at the end of 2013, in the belief that it would not only raise our visibility in South Africa, but also set the stage for mutual growth opportunities in the region. It is encouraging to see that this is bearing fruit, with this theatre here at Cradlestone opening just a few weeks after Baywest, and a few months after Cape Gate.

“It is clear there is a growing appetite for films in the immersive IMAX format here in South Africa, and we look forward to working together with Ster-Kinekor to further entrench the IMAX brand in the local market,” commented Dolci.

Sikiotis added: “The IMAX Experience takes viewing a film to the next level. With blockbuster titles such as Marvel’s Ant-Man (31 July), Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (07 August) and Everest (18 September) scheduled for IMAX release in the next few months, we are looking forward to giving our audiences even ‘greater moments’ on the big IMAX screen.”

Arts and Entertainment

SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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