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‘Just Mercy’ Delivers a Moving Account of Justice

Currently showing in South African cinemas, the film is based on a true story.

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Just Mercy
Micheal B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx share the screen in the film. Photo: Warner Bros

Jamie Foxx and Micheal B. Jordan sharing a screen doesn’t need to be excessively overhyped — their magic is quite established. So when the promo for Just Mercy first surfaced, we knew we had a whole lot to look forward to.

Jordan has been showcasing his chops and big screen power on a slew of blockbuster successes, such as Black Panther and the Creed franchise. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx almost needs no introduction, having outdone himself multiple times in such classics as Ray, Django Unchained and Baby Driver.

The American legal drama also stars Brie Larson of Captain Marvel and Room fame.

WHAT JUST MERCY IS ABOUT 

Based on an award-winning nonfiction memoir by Bryan Stevenson, the movie centres on a powerful true story. It chronicles the story of a young lawyer, Stevenson (Jordan), and his historic battle for justice.

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan might have had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson).

One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie.

In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political manoeuvrings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.

MOVIE INFO

DIRECTORS: 

Destin Cretton

WRITERS: 

Destin Cretton

Andrew Lanham

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

Bryan Stevenson

Mike Drake

Niija Kuykendall

Gabriel Hammond

Daniel Hammond

Scott Budnick

Jeff Skoll

Charles King

CAST 

Michael Jordan – Bryan Stevenson

Jamie Foxx – Walter McMillian

Brie Larson – Eva Ansley

Rob Morgan – Herbert Richardson

Tim Nelson – Ralph Myers

Rafe Spall – Tommy Chapman

O’Shea Jackson – Anthony Ray Hinton

Karan Kendrick – Minnie McMillian

RATING: PG-13

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Festivals

Call for Submissions for the Jozi Film Festival

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2019_filmmakers at The Bioscope_DamonBerry_Sisanda Henna_ThabisoChristopher

Joburg’s longest running multi-genre film festival has opened its call for 2020 submissions.

Filmmakers are being invited to submit their works for the year’s upcoming prestigious shindig, which is aimed at showcasing exceptional works produced by African filmmakers.

Now in its ninth year, the festival is slated to take place over 4 days from 17 – 20 September 2020 at various venues across the city (Covid-19 willing!), showcasing local and international feature films, short fiction and documentaries.

Submissions are open until 15 May, with a late deadline of 5 June All entries must be submitted via FilmFreeway

The prestigious show is 100% independent.

The fact that they do not curate the festival, but rather rely on submissions to authentically reflect the creative landscape of the South African film industry, is part of the reason why the festival matters so much for elevating the space.

Therein lies the magic. An emerging filmmaker can easily have their work screened alongside distinguished industry incumbents like Akin Omotoso. Or Oliver Schmitz.

“We feel it is important to support both upcoming talent and established filmmakers, and to afford all entrants an equal chance of being screened”, the festival explains.

The Jozi Film Festival is held at various locations around Johannesburg annually in late September/early October, over a four day period. Over the last eight years, their cornerstone has been Bioscope Independent Cinema in Maboneng.

Each year kicks of with a premiere night, and then the festival culminates in an awards night where the best films in each

category are recognised. The categories are; Best Feature Film, Best Feature Length Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Short Fiction, Best Student Film, Best Director and Best Young Director. Awards are given out to both local and international films in most of these categories.

Through their partnership with Discovery Networks, the Jozi Film Festival continue affording African filmmakers the opportunity for exposure through the ‘Don’t Stop Wondering’ Award.

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Film

Jumanji: The Next Level — Movie Spotlight

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Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart star in Jumanji: The Next Level

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart’s magic continues as their latest blockbuster offering, Jumanji: The Next Level, has broken a few records since opening in North America.

Now screening at theatres in South Africa at Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro cinemas, the 2019 fantasy adventure comedy is set three years years after Welcome to the Jungle roared into the box office in 2017, where it grossed over $962 million worldwide, and became the fifth highest grossing film during that year.

Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson star in JUMNAJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

Jumanji Welcome to The Jungle was a third instalment of the Jumanji movie franchise. It comes after 1995’s Zathura: A Space Adventure, which came out in 2005.  The movie’s plot centres on a group of teenagers who come across Jumanji, now transformed into a video game, 21 years after the initial events of 1995.

RELATED: QUEEN & SLIM OPENS IN SOUTH AFRICA

In an interesting twist of events, the group of teenagers find themselves in the game as a set of avatars. Inside the game, they must a complete a quest alongside another player who has been trapped since 1996.

Jumanji The Next Level takes places two years later. Now leading different lives, Spencer Gilpin, Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, Martha Kaply, and Bethany Walker plan a reunion get-together. In an unexpected twist of events, they find themselves back inside the game as avatars who must complete epic quests to be able to escape back into the real world.

MOVIE INFO

DIRECTORS:

Jake Kasdan

WRITERS:

Jake Kasdan

Jeff Pinkner

Scott Rosenberg

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

David Householter

Melvin Mar

Scott Rosenberg

Jeff Pinkner

William Teitler

Ted Field

Mike Weber

CAST

Dwayne Johnson

Jack Black

Kevin Hart

Karen Gillan

Nick Jonas

Awkwafina

Alex Wolff

Morgan Turner

Ser’Darius Blain

Madison Iseman

with Danny Glover

and Danny DeVito

RATING: PG-13

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Film

Queen & Slim Packs a Punch – MOVIE SPOTLIGHT

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David Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith deliver awe inspiring performances in their portrayal of lovers on the run in highly anticipated romantic crime drama Queen & Slim. The Melina Matsoukas directed feature has premiered at Nu-Metro cinemas.


At a recent screening of the highly anticipated movie, Matsoukas and Kaluuya touched on the project of using the art of filmmaking to complicate the narrative about black folk as a means to depart from outdated, problematic presentations.

David Kaluuya (left) talking to Scoop Makhathini (right) about his role on Queen & Slim at a private screening in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

David Kaluuya (left) talking to Scoop Makhathini (right) about his role on Queen & Slim at a private screening in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The director, who worked on the visuals for Beyoncé’s culturally applauded ‘Formation‘ , said she grew up studying the works of black filmmakers who pushed the envelope.

And with the way paved by bold black writers like Lena Waithe, who co-penned the film, she’s delighted to finally present a film that says something.

Kaluuya, who first shot to fame as Bing on Netflix’s Black Mirror, said he also insists on grounding his work in the creation of layered productions that enrich how black bodies are imagined.

ABOUT ‘QUEEN & SLIM’

Starring Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Queen & Slim is a powerful, consciousness-raising love story that confronts the staggering human toll of racism and the life-shattering price of violence.

The film, from Grammy award winning director Melina Matsoukas and Emmy award winning writer Lena Waithe, premiered in South Africa on February 14th.

Waithe wrote the screenplay for Queen & Slim from a story by herself and bestselling author James Frey (A Million Little Pieces, Katerina).

While on an unforgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defence.

ALSO READ: WILL SMITH AND MARTIN LAWRENCE’S FINAL RIDE ON ‘BAD BOYS FOR LIFE’!

Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defence lawyer, are forced to go on the run.

But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.

As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives.

MOVIE INFO

RATING: This film is rated 16 D L N P S V.
GENRE: Romantic Crime Drama
DIRECTORS: Melina Matsoukas
WRITERS: James Frey and Lena Waithe
PREMIERE: 14 February 2020

MAIN CAST

David Kaluuya as ‘Slim

Jodie Turner-Smith as ‘Queen’

Bokeem Woodbine as ‘Uncle Earl’

Chloë Sevigny as ‘Mrs. Shepherd’

Flea as ‘Mr. Shepherd’

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