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Arts and Entertainment

Amazon Prime Video hits SA

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Amazon today announced that Amazon Prime Video is now available to customers in more than 200 countries including South Africa.

Customers around the world can now enjoy popular new original series like The Grand Tour from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May (currently the top-rated TV show on IMDb with an overall rating of 9.4 and over 20,000 votes) and award-winning Amazon Original Series like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Tumble Leaf and more. Customers can sign up for a Prime Video membership at PrimeVideo.com and watch on Android and iOS phones and tablets, Fire Tablets and popular LG and Samsung smart TVs. Amazon Prime members in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy and Spain can start watching today at no additional cost to their Prime membership. Customers in the other new Prime Video territories can sign up at an introductory price of $2.99 (or €2.99) per month for the first six months, starting with a free 7-day trial at PrimeVideo.com.

“We are excited to announce that starting today, fans around the world have access to Prime Video,” said Tim Leslie, Vice President, International, Prime Video. “The Grand Tour and other critically acclaimed Amazon Original Series like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle, along with hundreds of popular Hollywood movies and TV shows, are now available at the introductory price of only 2.99 a month. And what’s really exciting is that we are just getting started.”

What to Watch
Amazon Prime Video members around the world can now enjoy The Grand Tour, the biggest show premiere ever on Prime Video, multi Golden Globe, Emmy, and BAFTA Award-winning Transparent, the multi Golden Globe Award-winning series Mozart in the Jungle and one of the most-streamed Amazon Original Series ever by Amazon Prime members globally, The Man in the High Castle. Most Amazon Original Kids Series are also available, including the animated art-adventure Creative Galaxy, the live-action coming-of-age tale of friendship, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and the multi Emmy Award-winning animated series, Tumble Leaf and moreAdditional Amazon Original Series like Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes, David E. Kelley’s Goliath featuring Billy Bob Thornton, the docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, as well as Sneaky Pete produced by Bryan Cranston and Graham Yost, and starring Giovanni Ribisi, will be added to the service next year. Prime Video members can also watch hundreds of popular movies and TV shows from top networks and Hollywood studios.

How to Watch

Members can watch Amazon Prime Video in English, with French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish subtitled and dubbed versions also available for many titles. Members can watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Prime Video app on Android and iOS phones and tablets, Fire Tablets, popular LG and Samsung Smart TVs or online at PrimeVideo.com. Members can also download all movies and TV shows for offline viewing—that means watching on a plane, train, anywhere at no additional cost.

Prime Video members can also control how much data they use when streaming and downloading video by choosing between Good, Better and Best visual quality settings, all of which utilize Amazon Prime Video’s state of the art video compression technology to use less data without reducing visual quality. Amazon Prime Video’s automated and machine learning systems will also select the best streaming configurations for a given customer based on their device, location and Internet Service Provider, providing better visual quality and fewer interruptions even when internet connection speeds are slow or highly variable.

Price
Amazon Prime Video is now available at no additional cost to Amazon Prime in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy and Spain and to customers in new Prime Video territories for $2.99 USD (or €2.99) per month for the first six months—a 50 percent discount off the full price of $5.99 (or €5.99) per month. Visit PrimeVideo.com to start a free 7-day trial.

Amazon Prime Video is now available in the following countries and territories. For more information visit PrimeVideo.com.

Country / Territory Price
Afghanistan $ 2.99
Aland Islands € 2.99
Albania € 2.99
Algeria $ 2.99
American Samoa Included with Prime
Andorra € 2.99
Angola $ 2.99
Anguilla € 2.99
Antarctica $ 2.99
Antigua & Barbuda $ 2.99
Argentina $ 2.99
Armenia € 2.99
Aruba € 2.99
Australia $ 2.99
Austria Included with Prime
Azerbaijan € 2.99
Bahamas $ 2.99
Bahrain $ 2.99
Bangladesh $ 2.99
Barbados $ 2.99
Belarus € 2.99
Belgium Included with Prime
Belize $ 2.99
Benin $ 2.99
Bermuda € 2.99
Bhutan $ 2.99
Bolivia $ 2.99
Bosnia and Herzegovina € 2.99
Botswana $ 2.99
Bouvet Island € 2.99
Brazil $ 2.99
British Indian Ocean Territory € 2.99
British Virgin Islands € 2.99
Brunei Darussalam $ 2.99
Bulgaria € 2.99
Burkina Faso $ 2.99
Burundi $ 2.99
Cambodia $ 2.99
Cameroon $ 2.99
Canada Included with Prime
Cape Verde $ 2.99
Cayman Islands € 2.99
Central African Republic $ 2.99
Chad $ 2.99
Chile $ 2.99
Christmas Island $ 2.99
Cocos (Keeling) Islands $ 2.99
Colombia $ 2.99
Comoros € 2.99
Congo $ 2.99
Congo, Democratic Republic $ 2.99
Cook Islands $ 2.99
Costa Rica $ 2.99
Cote D’Ivoire $ 2.99
Croatia € 2.99
Curacao € 2.99
Cyprus € 2.99
Czech Republic € 2.99
Denmark € 2.99
Djibouti $ 2.99
Dominica $ 2.99
Dominican Republic $ 2.99
Ecuador $ 2.99
Egypt $ 2.99
El Salvador $ 2.99
Equatorial Guinea $ 2.99
Eritrea $ 2.99
Estonia € 2.99
Ethiopia $ 2.99
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) € 2.99
Faroe Islands € 2.99
Fiji $ 2.99
Finland € 2.99
France Included with Prime
French Guiana € 2.99
French Polynesia € 2.99
French Southern Territories € 2.99
French West Indies – Guadeloupe € 2.99
French West Indies – Martinique € 2.99
Gabon $ 2.99
Gambia $ 2.99
Georgia € 2.99
Germany Included with Prime
Ghana $ 2.99
Gibraltar € 2.99
Greece € 2.99
Greenland € 2.99
Grenada $ 2.99
Guam Included with Prime
Guatemala $ 2.99
Guernsey Included with Prime
Guinea $ 2.99
Guinea-Bissau $ 2.99
Guyana $ 2.99
Haiti $ 2.99
Heard Island and McDonald Island $ 2.99
Honduras $ 2.99
Hong Kong $ 2.99
Hungary € 2.99
Iceland € 2.99
India Included with Prime
Indonesia $ 2.99
Iraq $ 2.99
Ireland € 2.99
Isle of Man Included with Prime
Israel $ 2.99
Italy Included with Prime
Jamaica $ 2.99
Japan Included with Prime
Jersey Included with Prime
Jordan $ 2.99
Kazakhstan $ 2.99
Kenya $ 2.99
Kiribati $ 2.99
Kosovo € 2.99
Kuwait $ 2.99
Kyrgyzstan $ 2.99
Lao People’s Democratic Republic $ 2.99
Latvia € 2.99
Lebanon $ 2.99
Lesotho $ 2.99
Liberia $ 2.99
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya $ 2.99
Liechtenstein € 2.99
Lithuania € 2.99
Luxembourg € 2.99
Macao $ 2.99
Macedonia € 2.99
Madagascar $ 2.99
Malawi $ 2.99
Malaysia $ 2.99
Maldives $ 2.99
Mali $ 2.99
Malta € 2.99
Mariana Islands Included with Prime
Marshall Islands $ 2.99
Mauritania $ 2.99
Mauritius $ 2.99
Mayotte € 2.99
Mexico $ 2.99
Micronesia $ 2.99
Moldova € 2.99
Monaco € 2.99
Mongolia $ 2.99
Montenegro € 2.99
Montserrat € 2.99
Morocco $ 2.99
Mozambique $ 2.99
Myanmar $ 2.99
Namibia $ 2.99
Nauru $ 2.99
Nepal $ 2.99
Netherlands € 2.99
New Caledonia € 2.99
New Zealand $ 2.99
Nicaragua $ 2.99
Niger $ 2.99
Nigeria $ 2.99
Niue $ 2.99
Norfolk Island $ 2.99
Norway € 2.99
Oman $ 2.99
Pakistan $ 2.99
Palau $ 2.99
Palestinian Territories $ 2.99
Panama $ 2.99
Papua New Guinea $ 2.99
Paraguay $ 2.99
Peru $ 2.99
Philippines $ 2.99
Pitcairn $ 2.99
Poland € 2.99
Portugal € 2.99
Puerto Rico Included with Prime
Qatar $ 2.99
Reunion € 2.99
Romania € 2.99
Russia € 2.99
Rwanda $ 2.99
Saint Helena $ 2.99
Saint Kitts and Nevis € 2.99
Saint Lucia € 2.99
Saint Pierre and Miquelon € 2.99
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines € 2.99
Samoa $ 2.99
San Marino € 2.99
Sao Tome and Principe $ 2.99
Saudi Arabia $ 2.99
Senegal $ 2.99
Serbia € 2.99
Seychelles $ 2.99
Sierra Leone $ 2.99
Singapore $ 2.99
Slovakia € 2.99
Slovenia € 2.99
Solomon Islands $ 2.99
Somalia $ 2.99
South Africa $ 2.99
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands € 2.99
South Korea $ 2.99
South Sudan $ 2.99
Spain Included with Prime
Sri Lanka $ 2.99
St. Barthelemy € 2.99
St. Martin € 2.99
Suriname $ 2.99
Svalbard and Jan Mayen € 2.99
Swaziland $ 2.99
Sweden € 2.99
Switzerland € 2.99
Taiwan $ 2.99
Tajikistan $ 2.99
Tanzania $ 2.99
Thailand $ 2.99
Timor-Leste $ 2.99
Togo $ 2.99
Tokelau $ 2.99
Tonga $ 2.99
Trinidad & Tobago $ 2.99
Tunisia $ 2.99
Turkey € 2.99
Turkmenistan $ 2.99
Turks & Caicos € 2.99
Tuvalu $ 2.99
Uganda $ 2.99
Ukraine € 2.99
United Arab Emirates $ 2.99
United Kingdom Included with Prime
United States Included with Prime
United States Minor Outlying Islands $ 2.99
Uruguay $ 2.99
US Virgin Islands Included with Prime
Uzbekistan $ 2.99
Vanuatu $ 2.99
Vatican City € 2.99
Venezuela $ 2.99
Vietnam $ 2.99
Wallis and Futuna € 2.99
Western Sahara $ 2.99
Yemen $ 2.99
Zambia $ 2.99
Zimbabwe $ 2.99

Arts and Entertainment

Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Arts and Entertainment

Showmax shoots its first local drama

Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.

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The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.

As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service,  Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.

Showmax is available in 70 countries.

Photographer: Patrick Toselli

“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”

At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.

But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.

The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…

Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.

Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.

The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.

Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.

“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”

All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.

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