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SA ahead of USA with Rogue One in IMAX

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The pre-release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – in December last year set new records for pre-bookings in Ster-Kinekor’s IMAX theatres across the country.

Now, exactly a year later, the excitement is already building for the exclusive IMAX pre-release event of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, two days before the film’s US release. The special event screening takes place for one show only, at 20:00, on Wednesday 14 December in IMAX 3D, the most immersive cinema experience. Ster-Kinekor opened bookings on Monday, 28 November and, in just four days, more than half the tickets for the IMAX pre-screening on 14 December have already been sold.

“The fan base for the Star Wars franchise across South Africa is huge, and our audiences have been eagerly awaiting the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in IMAX 3D. They appreciate that a movie of this magnitude requires the maximum cinema experience – and that is watching it in one of our seven IMAX theatres,” says Motheo Matsau, Chief of Marketing and Sales at Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a prequel to the original Star Wars, and is the first in a series of planned stand-alone films from Lucasfilm and Disney, now that the iconic franchise has been revived on the big screen. It stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Ben Mendlesohn, and is directed by Gareth Edwards.

Set shortly before the events of ‘A New Hope’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ reveals how the Rebellion got their hands on the designs for the Death Star. The Galactic Empire is at the height of its power, and their ultimate weapon is nearly complete. Along with a team of rebel soldiers, former criminal Jyn Erso sets out on a desperate mission to steal the plans so they can figure out how to destroy it.

The ‘Galaxy Far Far Away’ gets even bigger with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, shining a light on a part of this universe that we’ve never seen before. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things and, in so doing, become part of something greater than themselves.

Enjoy the exclusive Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the IMAX 3D Experience at all seven of Ster-Kinekor’s IMAX theatres, which are situated at Eastgate in Johannesburg, Cradlestone Mall in Krugersdorp, Mall of Africa in Midrand, The Grove Mall in Pretoria, Gateway in Durban, Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth and CapeGate in Cape Town.

Bookings are now open for the pre-screening in IMAX at 20:00 on 14 December. Members of the various Ster-Kinekor loyalty programmes will enjoy all the benefits and discounts offered by the different programmes from SK Club, Discovery Vitality and Edgars Club, when booking tickets for this film.

The IMAX release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of An IMAX 3D Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX’s customised theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are a part of the movie.

View the trailer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story here:  https://movies.sterkinekor.co.za/Browsing/Movies/Details/h-HO00000202

The film releases at all Ster-Kinekor sites countrywide on Thursday, 15 December, in time for the long weekend. In addition to the IMAX cinemas, it can also be enjoyed in the luxury of Ster-Kinekor’s Cine Prestige 3D cinemas at select sites, and in 3D and 2D at all Ster-Kinekor sites nationally. The film’s classification is still to be confirmed, and the running time is 135mins.

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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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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