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Showmax debuts own series

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Showmax has kicked off the first in a series of original productions with the filming of Tali’s Wedding Diary, a mockumentary featuring Julia Anastasopoulos, better known as YouTube sensation Suzelle.

Building on the phenomenal success of her SuzelleDIY character, Anastasopoulos stars as Tali, a self-obsessed Sandton princess who’s moved to Cape Town and has hired a documentary crew to film the build-up to her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren.

Since introducing SuzelleDIY to YouTube, more than 70 Suzelle videos have been created, gaining almost 22 million views. One video alone, How To Make A Cinderblock Bench, has clocked up more than 2.5 million views.

Ari Kruger, co-creator and director of Tali’s Wedding Diary, has worked extensively as a director for commercials, music videos and online content. His short films have gained significant attention online and played in film festivals around the world.

In 2014, the creative duo combined their skills and passion for comedy and developed a project outside of their commercial work. The result of this, SuzelleDIY, has now grown into a full-scale brand and business. Julia and Ari have since started a production company called Sketchbook Studios, which produces SuzelleDIY alongside an array of new characters and online content.

Speaking about the decision to work with Showmax, Anastasopoulos said:

“When Ari and I first approached Showmax we knew we had a great concept but weren’t sure if they’d bite – getting backing for a production in South Africa can be tough. To their credit Showmax instantly bought into what we’re trying to do. This is exactly the kind of support the film industry in this country needs. We’ve got world-class acting and production talent so it’s a huge boost to see a local company fund local productions.”

In addition to Tali’s Wedding Diary, work is also underway on iNumber Number, an original co-production with Mzansi Magic. iNumber Number is a crime and corruption drama series based on the award-winning 2013 movie of the same name.

Speaking about plans for original productions, Showmax Africa Head Chris Savides said:

“Supporting African productions is absolutely part of our strategy. There’s incredible talent and expertise on this continent, so why look anywhere else, especially when you’re trying to tell authentic, locally relevant stories?”

Filming for Tali’s Wedding Diary is currently underway in Cape Town. The eight-part series will premiere on Showmax in December. Each episode will be approximately 20 minutes long.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Arts and Entertainment

Avengers’ all-time accolade

This past weekend Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War became the second highest grossing film of all time at the South African Box Office.

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This means that Marvel Studios now holds the number 2 and number 1 film of all time positions at the local Box Office, following Black Panther’s unprecedented record-shattering run since it’s 16 February 2018 release.

In South Africa, audiences continued to assemble in cinemas to witness the cinematic journey ten years in the making, earning Avengers: Infinity War a current total box office tally of just under R73 million with over 874 000 attendances.

Black Panther’s historic box office journey ended in June and now boasts a final box office total just shy of R107.5 million and over 1.43 million attendances, making it the biggest film of all time at the South African box office and the first to cross the R100m mark. This record builds on Black Panther’s list of achievements on the African continent and is the biggest grossing film of all time not only in South Africa, but also East and West Africa. Black Panther is now available to enjoy on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as to digitally rent or buy from retailers and providers across the continent.

Elsewhere in Africa, Avengers: Infinity War has also raked in a total of Kes 66.9m in East Africa, making it the 2nd highest grossing film of all time behind Black Panther. Similarly, in West Africa, the film hit N450m at the box office, making it the 2nd highest grossing international film of all time, also behind Black Panther.

For Marvel Studios fans, the action and adventure continues as the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and The Wasp, hit cinemas this past weekend and created enough buzz to fly into the number one position at the South African Box Office.

“We are thrilled at the response that Marvel Studios’ titles have continued to receive from cinema-goers across the continent,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinemas, and both Captain Marvel and the next Avengers film in 2019, we are eagerly anticipating the continuing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to celebrating with fans.”

On the animated front and with its own super hero theme, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2, continues to entertain families across the country and is already Disney’s second-highest grossing animated film of all time behind Finding Dory, after only 3 weeks in release.

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