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Movie of the Week

Nosipho Dumisa to direct Blood & Water: A South African Netflix Original

Netflix, the world’s leading internet streaming video service, has announced Blood & Water as its second original series from South Africa.

Click through to read more about the upcoming teen drama.

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Blood & Water will be a teen-led drama, which follows a local teen uncovering her family’s secret past and navigating the complicated world of a South African high school. The series will feature an up-and-coming talented South African cast, and will be filmed later this year.

The series will be directed by the award winning South African female director, Nosipho Dumisa. Dumisa has already made her mark globally, with Nommer 37, which earned her the Cheval Noir jury prize for Best Director at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, Quebec. She has also been nominated for best picture, among other, in this year’s  SAFTA awards. The Nommer 37 production team will also be onboard, with Daryne Joshua and Travis Taute writing and co-directing with Nosipho, Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer as producers and Simon Beesley as lead editor.

Nosipho said: “Gambit Films and I are so excited to be working with Netflix on this explosive young adult drama, with not only a cool look at strong female leads but also a powerful mystery at its core. As a director who loves genre, this series combines the best of so many and isn’t shy to delve into the real issues of youth culture, whilst jam-packing it with twists that will keep viewers guessing.”

Kelly Luegenbiehl, VP of International Originals – Europe, Turkey and Africa, at Netflix, said: “We are delighted to be investing further in African content and to partner with Nosipho and the team at Gambit Films to bring our second original series from South Africa to Netflix.  Great stories are universal, so we expect this gripping teen drama, with its view on contemporary high school life, to appeal to young adults from South Africa, as well as the rest of the world. Following on the heels of Queen SonoBlood & Water is the next step in our further investment in original African content and we’re excited to explore more projects across the region.”

The series is due to start production in 2019 and is expected to launch globally in 190 countries in 2020. 

Movie of the Week

Dolemite Is My Name – A Netflix Original

Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany that turns him into a word-of-mouth sensation: step onstage as someone else.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read more about the movie.

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Borrowing from the street mythology of 1970s Los Angeles, Moore assumes the persona of Dolemite, a pimp with a cane and an arsenal of obscene fables. However, his ambitions exceed selling bootleg records deemed too racy for mainstream radio stations to play. Moore convinces a social justice-minded dramatist (Keegan-Michael Key) to write his alter ego a film, incorporating kung fu, car chases, and Lady Reed (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an ex-backup singer who becomes his unexpected comedic foil. Despite clashing with his pretentious director, D’Urville Martin (Wesley Snipes), and countless production hurdles at their studio in the dilapidated Dunbar Hotel, Moore’s Dolemite becomes a runaway box office smash and a defining movie of the Blaxploitation era.

Comics and rappers have praised Moore as a pioneering influence over the past few decades, and Dolemite Is My Name is a celebration of a singular talent who made his own legend. From director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Empire); Emmy and Golden Globe-winning writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, The People vs. O.J. Simpson); and the producing team of Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Davis (Ferdinand, Joy), Golden Globe nominee John Fox (Joy) and Eddie Murphy. 
The film features an all-star supporting cast — including Mike Epps, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Snoop Dogg, Ron Cephas Jones, Barry Shabaka Henley, Tip ‘TI’ Harris, Luenell, Tasha Smith — plus costumes designed by Academy Award winner Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther). 

The film is available to stream now on Netflix.

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Movie of the Week

Kanarie – Now streaming on Showmax

Schalk Bezuidenhout’s breakout movie, Kanarie, is now streaming first on Showmax in South Africa.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read more about the film.

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Schalk Bezuidenhout stars as Johan Niemand, a fashion-loving gay teen in small-town South Africa in 1985, a time of apartheid, religious conservatism and war, an era when not even his idol Boy George had dared to come out publicly as gay yet. 

When Johan is called up to serve his compulsory two-year military training, he escapes the border war by joining The South African Defence Force Church Choir and Concert Group, known as Die Kanaries (The Canaries), where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love and the liberating freedom of music. 

The film was the 10th most popular South African movie at the box office last year.

Bezuidenhout is one of South Africa’s top comedians: the winner of two Comics’ Choice Awards, described by Skhumba recently as “the one white comedian loved by black people.” 

On the basis of his performance in Kanarie, acting might still be his true calling, as much as we hope we still get to laugh with him often on stage. The Los Angeles Times compared him to the legendary Buster Keaton while praising his “clear talent for drama” and the way he “superbly juggles Johan’s many moods and modes,” while FilmThreat raved about his “confident, raw performance.” 

It has a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes; a 7.9 rating on IMDB; and has won 15 awards around the world. As The Los Angeles Times put it, “Kanarie ably hits the high notes… rich, poignant and finely observed…”. Similarly, Indiewire picked it as one of seven films to watch at Outfest, North America’s premier LGBTI festival, calling it a “surprisingly fun” musical about “the effects of nationalism on a tender soul, and the bond of brotherhood among misfits.” 

So whether or not you’re gay, or Afrikaans, or want to support proudly South African products, Kanarie is the film for you, next time you’re in the mood for an uplifting musical love story about finding individuality in a world of oppression and uniformity. Watch it first on Showmax here.

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