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LG airs all-star Superbowl ad

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LG Electronics (LG) recently released its first Super Bowl commercial, featuring actor Liam Neeson and its new LG Signature OLED TV. The commercial is a father-son collaboration between Ridley Scott as executive producer and Jake Scott as director.

The spot focused on how LG brings future-forward home entertainment innovations to consumers today with its OLED TV technology. It is centred on LG’s newest flagship OLED TV, which delivers OLED technology’s superior picture quality with perfect blacks, unparalleled contrast and more colours on an elegant, slim glass panel. The Picture-on-Glass design aesthetic is only possible with OLED technology.

“It’s a dynamic short film,” said renowned director and the commercial’s executive producer, Sir Ridley Scott. “It’s about the race to be on the vanguard of innovation and to be able to create tomorrow’s technology.”

Neeson’s character is “the man from the future” and is tasked with releasing the future of television to the world for the masses to enjoy today, much like LG has continued to do through its pioneering innovation in the OLED TV category.

“My character is an enigmatic man from the future who has travelled back to the present day on a very important mission,” said Neeson. “He represents that inner appeal, that curiosity we have to find out about the future.”

“The objective was to create a world you’ve never seen before or a world that was unique and specific to the OLED,” said Jake Scott, who directed the LG commercial.

LG’s commercial draws upon the expertise and creativity of two Hollywood heavy-hitters, Ridley and Jake Scott, who aren’t just known for their award-winning films but also their acclaimed commercials. Each has already left their mark on the big game with previous successes including Ridley’s iconic 1984 commercial for Macintosh and Jake’s top performing ad, Budweiser’s Lost Dog.

Adding to his ever-growing resume of entertainment gold, this will be Neeson’s second Super Bowl commercial following his famous Clash of Clans spot from last season, which was named the most viewed Super Bowl ad on YouTube. Neeson and Ridley Scott last worked together in the action-packed 2005 film, Kingdom of Heaven, and the latest LG commercial is promising to be just as electric.

“Ridley and Jake are an amazing creative team,” said Neeson. “You know you’re in good hands.”

The award-winning LG SIGNATURE OLED TV, which was recently named Best TV Product by the Official Best of CES 2016 Awards presented by Engadget, is defined not only by its amazing picture quality, but also its aesthetic design. With a sophisticated OLED panel featuring an impossibly thin depth (measuring about one-tenth of an inch) with a translucent glass back and a powerful, forward-facing sound bar speaker system, it is an outstanding feat of modern engineering and design.

“At first I was struck by its form. It’s just beautifully thin, clean and simple and elegant,” said Ridley Scott.

The flagship 77- and 65-inch class LG SIGNATURE OLED TVs feature exceptional contrast and colour as well as 4K Ultra HD resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) capability. Certified as UHD Premium by the UHD Alliance, the series supports the industry-standard HDR formats established by the world’s leading broadcasters, film studios and consumer electronics manufacturers, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision™ technology, making them among the first to be compatible with all formats.

Unlike LCD displays where the LED backlight can only locally dim sections of the screen, each pixel on an OLED panel can switch on and off independently. As a result, OLED TVs render crisp, vibrant colours and rich shadow details, even when bright objects are directly next to deep, dark areas ― unlike LCD TVs which have a halo effect from light bleeding.

Led by the dramatic new LG SIGNATURE models featured in the commercial, LG’s 2016 OLED TV line-up features four series with eight total models, each with LG’s new webOS 3.0 smart TV platform, featuring advanced new features that make finding and switching between LG’s expanded content options ― including broadcast TV, streaming services and external devices – simple and fast.

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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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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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