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|News and Highlights - 2013|
Sail Ahoy!Season 2 of Black Sails has just started shooting again at the Cape Town Film Studios, so we've been kept busy finding some new villains and heroes to join the sweaty band of sailors who survived last season.
We had no time to gather barnacles while the Black Sails galleons were tucked up in their fynbos harbour next to the N2 motorway though. SAF3 required a constant stream of drowned, burned and otherwise battered victims – preferably good-looking ones. This series completes shooting soon, but there is already talk of a second season...
Casting Solo Flight, the feature documentary/drama about German aviatrix Elly Beinhorn, had a particular resonance for Christa. Somewhere in our still-boxed possessions she has a photograph of her late mother with Elly, taken when the famous woman pilot touched down in Namibia on one of her many journeys.
Shooting has commenced on Lady Grey, a French feature set in KwaZulu Natal. The film takes a contemplative look at how people living around a Catholic Mission Hospital get on with their lives in the New South Africa while dealing pragmatically with their part on both sides of “The Struggle”.
Bluestone 42 is the call-sign of a fictitious British Army Bomb Disposal Unit stationed in Afghanistan – and it is also a hilarious comedy mini-series! It proved so popular in the UK that the foul-mouthed, bantering mob is back again to shoot another season, defusing a few IEDs while sending each other up to relieve the tension.
The internet, social media obsession and the occult collide in UnFriend, a dark horror film from Germany. We're particularly pleased that local actress Liesl Ahlers impressed the Producers and both Directors so much that they immediately stopped looking abroad to cast the role of Marina Nedifar, the very troubled central character.
Cape Town Audition WorkshopsSince establishing a base in Cape Town we have formed a good working relationship with the ACT Cape Town Film Acting Academy. We fully support their ethos of using working professional actors who also have a talent and passion for teaching to conduct their classes. Director Candice Poole is as passionate about actors continuing to grow throughout their careers as we are. She is equally determined to encourage that ethos and to facilitate a means for working professional actors to keep "acting fit".
Of course, to be a professional actor you need to get past The Audition! While we enjoy giving our Professional Audition Workshop, arranging the sessions requires time and administration which we seldom have while working on several projects in various stages of production. Luckily, Paula Harker, the bubbly and super-efficient Administrator at ACT Cape Town, has taken that chore off our hands. Paula has successfully dodged the gaps in Christa's Johannesburg / Cape Town flight schedule to arrange a series of full day Saturday workshops. Demand is very high, which is extremely encouraging, since it suggests that Cape Town actors are realising that their competition is truly global.
Our workshops will resume early in November, but in the mean time...
Cape Town American Accent Workshops... ACT Cape Town has arranged American Accent Workshops with friend and colleague Judy Phillips. Judy is a former actress and teacher who has been training actors in American accents for the past 10 years. As an American herself, she is aware of the subtleties of various Accents throughout America, and as a teacher is able to communicate that knowledge to her students.
For more information about either of these workshops, please contact ACT directly:
Telephone: (021) 419-7007
Email: Paula Harker<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Web Site: www.actcapetown.co.za
"The Price of Sugar" to open Netherlands Film Festival
One of the reasons we like working with Dutch film maker Jean van de Velde is the gentlemanly way he treats everybody on the film from pre-prod to premiere. He may have to bury himself in post-production for several months, but we all wait in anticipation for the letter he sends to at least all of the HODs in his production address book.
I'm back in Cape Town to do the finishing touches on our movie The Price Of Sugar. Just two weeks to supervise the final mix and the grading. Flying back to Cape Town brings me back to a lot of good memories!!!
I'm very happy with the movie. And luckily, I'm not the only one…
The movie has been chosen to open this years edition of the annual Dutch Film Festival. The premiere will be on the 25th of September. The official release will be on the next day on approximately 80 screens throughout the Netherlands.
The editing went very well: we had a lot of material!… And really wonderful actors!
We did do some revoicing and dubbing, especially for the Sranan-spoken scenes. The selected Surinamese who have seen the movie are very, very touched by it and pleased with it. Nobody complained that the movie looked as if it wasn't shot in Suriname...
I just want you all to know that apart from having a great time, I really am proud on all the good work that has been done by all of you on this movie. It looks great both on art-direction and on cinematography, we had wonderful extras, we shot all the things we wanted to shoot: what more can a director wish for?…
Just that a lot of people want to see this movie, and will see it"
We certainly wish Jean and his Producers the very best for Hoe Duur Was de Suiker. Jean's previous movie, Wit Licht [Silent Army], also shot mostly in South Africa, achieved Gouwden Film status for spectacular performance at the Dutch Box Office.
We look forward to the Crew & Cast screening in Cape Town later this year...
|July / August 2013
Malibu comes to Camps BayProducer and Co-creator Gregory J. Bonann (Baywatch, She Spies, Thunder in Paradise) has brought his new series SAF3 (pronounced "safe") to South Africa. Starring Dolph Lundgren, the series centers around an elite unit of the Malibu Fire Department which includes specialists in sea, air, and fire rescue operations. The series will be shot in various locations around Cape Town.
Dolph Lundgren and South African actors Karl Thanning and Patrick Lyster listen intently to Greg Bonann's introduction to the table read.
The Winter Off-Season is well & truly over...Conventional wisdom has it that the Cape film industry virtually shuts down for our allegedly miserable and rather European winter weather. That has not been completely true for some years. Winter has been mild (or late?) and several productions have continued to shoot. Although our audition studios were "dark" for a week or two, Christa was already very busy dealing with enquiries for the Spring season and setting up projects already in the pipeline.
The Web is rife with rumours about Neill Blomkamp's next movie Chappie. So far, the only consistent guess is that it is called Chappie and that it is a Sci-Fi comedy in an unusual setting. Other than saying that the major cast is in place, leaving Christa only a few very specific cameo character roles to fill, we're not saying anything! (We'd be forced to cut your tongue out if we let slip!)
Lady Grey is a French co-production, directed by Alain Choquart (Safe Conduct, The Undeclared War, Fresh Bait, It All Starts Today). The strongly character-driven film explores how various people living around a Catholic Mission station deal with their past in the old South Africa in order to survive in the New South Africa. The mission is set near the town of Lady Grey in rural Kwa Zulu Natal.
From the South Seas to the North Seas...
While the Black Sails galleons sit silent and deserted at anchor in the fynbos around the Cape Town Film Studios, another ship sails rumbustuously into our schedule, rowed desperately through a North Atlantic storm by a ragamuffin band of Vikings. Writer/Director Claudio Faeh (Sniper: Reloaded, Hollow Man 2, Coronado) returns to direct the cast of Northmen: A Viking Saga through a classic adventure in the inhospitable Highlands of Medieval Scotland.
Jyoti Mistry, supported by husband and Producer Florian Schattauer is about to start shooting her psychological thriller Echo Beach, based in Johannesburg.
We have another VIP (Very Important Project) in the pipeline, but that is so wrapped up in NDAs that we barely discuss it among ourselves!
International Emmy JudgingBetween supplyimg a variety of "Character" actors to cope with last-minute inspirations for Blended, the new Adam Sandler film shooting at Sun City near Johannesburg, Christa also found time to serve on the board of Jurors for the semi-final round of the 41st International Emmy Awards.
The judging panel included experienced producers Zaheer Goodman-Bhyat (LNDF) and Sallas de Jager (Bosbokses Films), highly acclaimed actors Gys de Villiers, Anel Alexander and Kim Engelbrecht, award-winning television director, Amanda Lane, casting directors Christa Schamberger and Bonnie Lee Bouman and local television channel executives, Evert van der Veer (channel head at Comedy Central), Tim Horwood (channel director at Viacom International Africa) and Henriėtta Gryffenberg (content executive and supervising producer at kykNET)
The "winter break" ended up being so short that Digby's trip to Johannesburg became a very full programme of long-overdue renovations at the Johannesburg Studio. Some time ago, a combination of Highveld summer heat, rising electricity prices and good sense prompted a change to cooler, more efficient flourescent lighting, but a busy schedule meant that the job was only partially completed. The break allowed the lighting units to be completed and painted, a new Video Capture console to be built, and Edit to be moved to a portable console in the studio, amongst many other small repairs and improvements.
We've added more curtains to the acting area for sound-suppression and the Directors' interview area at the back of the studio now has a lighter, airier feel.
Christa enjoys a cup of tea with Ben in the interview area.
Winter ApproachesJust as they all started more or less together, several of our projects are nearing the end of principal photography and Cape Town is slowing down slightly for the winter "off-season". Hoe Duur Was de Suiker has wrapped, The Road To Freedom is due to wrap around mid-May, and Season One of Black Sails will drop-anchor towards the end of May.
Although the Cape endures a mild form of "European Winter", with shorter days, frequent rain and bracing storms, the film industry no longer hibernates in winter. We know of at least three other projects which will shoot during winter, possibly in more temperate locations just a little further from the coastal areas.
Foreign companies seem to be re-discovering that Johannesburg is the place to be for winter filming though. Although the days are slightly shorter, the sun is lower in the sky and the light less harsh. Cloudless blue skies and the almost guaranteed absence of rain eliminates weather issues. If you require "Real Africa", Johannesburg is within easy reach of a number of Game farms offering a variety of landscapes populated with at least the more harmless varieties of wild-life!
Period is In..."The Price of Sugar" is a Dutch language TV Movie from Jean van de Velde whom we first worked with on Wit Licht (aka The Silent Army) in 2007 / 2008. Jean's easy-going, pragmatic approach makes him perhaps our favourite Director to work with.
It seems that Producers world wide have become bored with waiting for the economists to get their act together. Although financing has been difficult and budgets generally have become tighter, several projects have gone ahead more or less at once, resulting in a busy time for us. The huge Starz Entertainment (Spartacus) period mini-series Black Sails lumbered into life at the world class Cape Town Film Studios while we also honoured commitments to two smaller productions.
"Smaller" is a relative term though - both Hoe Duur Was de Suiker and The Road To Freedom are period pieces, which always imposes additional stress on a budget.
The SalvationDanish Director / Writer Kristian Levring directs this classic Western from a script he co-wrote with fellowi Dane, Anders Thomas Jensen. Their taut script follows a recent Danish immigrant on the classic against-all-odds quest for revenge, yet carries a sting in the tail that resonates today.
Casting The Salvation was unique in that it was done entirely from face-to-face meetings after the Director had conducted months of research into South African actors with international Film & Television credits.
The film will be shot on location at Nash's Farm, a private conservancy adjoining The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Area in the Magaliesberg mountains North-west of Johannesburg.
Hoe Duur Was de Suiker
On the surface Hoe Duur Was de Suiker is an entertaining "bodice ripper", but it also provides an insight into the decadent, priveleged life in the Dutch colony of Surinam during the middle of the Eighteenth Century.
The Road To Freedom
The Road To Freedom is a German language TV Movie from Rainer Matsutaniwhich tells the epic story of a large group of oppressed Prussian artisans and their families who cross the Atlantic enticed by the promise of owning land in Texas. They do not realise that the small group of accompanying aristocracy and military intend to establish a similar aristocratic and oppressive system in America. The Artisans' journey across the plains of America is also a journey out of bondage and provides a fictionalised background to the only unbroken peace treaty between First Nations People and Settlers.
Casting American First Nations People in South Africa was a huge challenge. While we have sufficient acting talent amongst our own Coloured or mixed race people, it was obviously also important to respect the ethnic look of First Nations People. Local Co-Producer Giselher Venzke stepped in to supply a Hair & Makeup artist for the audition sessions.
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