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V&A Waterfront TV series heading for Showmax

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Showmax and kykNET have released the first trailer for Waterfront, a star-studded family noir set in the dark underbelly of one of South Africa’s most popular tourist attractions.

Boat-building patriarch Ben Myburgh (SAFTA nominee Dawid Minnaar) is dead. This brings his three daughters – Julia (Die Byl’s Milan Murray), Anna (Silwerskerm and Fleur du Cap nominee Rolanda Marais) and Kate (Die Boekklub’s Trix Vivier) – back to the family business at the Cape Town harbour. But only one of them will inherit – and not what she expected – in this dark story of secrets, sibling rivalry and gentrification.

Silwerkskerm winners Albert Pretorius and Erica Wessels; Fleur du Cap winners Charlton Lee George, Paul du Toit and Stian Bam; and 2017 SAFTA nominee Neels van Jaarsveld co-star alongside familiar faces like Edwin van der Walt (Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling), Hannes van Wyk (Kwela, Egoli, danZ!), Joanie Combrink and Marvin Lee Beukes (Die Byl)  and Tarryn Wyngaard (Noem My Skollie).

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But the real star of the show is the V&A Waterfront. “It’s such a wonderful place and has never been used in a drama series like this,” says producer Herman Binge from Lion’s Head Productions. He admits that having an all-access pass to shoot anywhere owned by the Waterfront came with a downside though: “There’s no way to know which way to look at the shot because you can film anything here and it’s beautiful.”

The series is a reminder that this beauty came at a price: the gentrification that followed the development of the shopping centre in the 80s meant that not all of the Waterfront’s neighbours could afford to stay on what had become prime property. Even the likes of the Myburghs were put under immense pressure to move.

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“When I was a child, the Waterfront was a kind of a ship dock,” remembers cast member Euodia Samson (Die Byl). “It was a fantastic world because there were people and fishermen everywhere. Nowadays, it’s so prim and proper you have to wear heels when you come here.”

Charlton Lee George (Die Boland Moorde) agrees. “It’s changed a lot since the eighties. This used to be a dangerous place, so it’s been very interesting to see it become a tourist mecca.”

Waterfront was originally envisaged as a soap opera – it was shortlisted with The Wild when M-Net was looking for a soap, and again with Suidooster when kykNET wanted one.

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But when Fleur du Cap and KKNK-winning director Jaco Bouwer (Rooiland, Samsa-Masjien) got involved, his references were rather family dramas like Bloodline and Nordic noir like The Killing.

Together with screenwriter Leon Kruger, Bouwer rebooted the show to focus on the complicated human relationships at the heart of the story, shifting the primary locations from the brightly lit shopping mall to the shadowy nooks and crannies of the harbour. “I didn’t want to write a goodie and a baddie,” says Kruger, who as an actor had worked with Bouwer on the popular kykNET crime series DIe Boland Moorde. “I just wanted to write something grey.”

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Bouwer believes the show is a new direction for South African television, as complex structurally as it is morally, with up to five storylines running at a time, single scenes split across 13 episodes, and both flashbacks and flashforwards. “I hope and I trust that the local audience is ready for this,” says Bouwer. “I don’t think we’ve seen something like Waterfront on local TV.”

Waterfront replaces Die Boekklub on kykNET (DStv Channel 144) on 10 October 2017 at 20:00 SAST, coming to Showmax express the next day. New episodes will screen weekly.

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The VPN path to Netflix

In January 2016, Netflix announced that they were expanding their global offerings. In one day, the company simultaneously launched in 130 new countries, bringing the total number of countries with access to the streaming service to 190.

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It was an announcement that was met with excitement; it meant that hundreds of countries that weren’t previously able to access any content from the streaming site would now have access. But it came with a catch: due to agreements with content owners, who license titles by region, not all Netflix libraries would be the same. So, while a multitude of countries now had access to the streaming service, content libraries could be extremely limited. For example, when Netflix launched in South Africa in 2016, users in the country only had access to 678 titles — a strong contrast to the then-U.S. library, which had over 5,600.

To get around limited content libraries, users took to using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which enable users to change their IP address to a different location, effectively tricking the streaming service into thinking they’re in a country with more titles. Shortly after the launch date, however, Netflix began clamping down on VPNs, implementing a VPN ban meant to stop users from circumventing the geo-blocks.

Today, two years after Netflix’s global expansion, users are still facing limited content libraries. According to Finder, in June of 2017 — more than a year after Netflix launched in South Africa — the country still didn’t have access to 93 percent of the titles in the United States. To access them, they now also have to get around the Netflix VPN ban, a tricky process that involves figuring out which VPN providers can still get access to the streaming site.

To help simplify the process, TheBestVPN tested 67 VPN providers to see which ones could still access Netflix, two years into the ban. View their findings, as well as an overview of the Netflix VPN ban and the best VPNs for accessing Netflix in 2018, in the full infographic below.

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Incredible animation landmark

The Walt Disney Company Africa is pleased to share that, in its sixth week of release, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 has become the biggest animated film of all time at the South African Box Office, with over R47.4 million and 676k attendances.

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Disney releases now account for 4 of the top 10 films of all time at the local Box Office, with 3 coming from 2018 alone, including Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War in number 1 and 2 positions respectively and Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2filling the 8th position. The 2015 release of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently sits in the 7th position.

Now in cinemas, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 sees Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) being called upon to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible. Incredibles 2 is written and directed by Brad Bird (“Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”) and produced by John Walker (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and Nicole Grindle (“Sanjay’s Super Team” short, “Toy Story 3” associate producer).

Also in cinemas is Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp, a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past. Ant-Man and The Wasp is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas. Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard are producing, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd & Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari wrote the screenplay.

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