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Cape Flats Neo-Noir Series Skemerdans Slated for 2021 Premiere

The Showmax Original Skemerdans is currently in production in Cape Town.

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The Showmax Original Skemerdans is currently in production in Cape Town. The Cape Flats neo-noir is expected to launch on Showmax in 2021. After the murder of owner Glenn Fortune, The Oasis jazz club becomes the centre of a power struggle between two brothers, a scorned widow and an organised crime syndicate.

SAFTA winners Kevin Smith (IsidingoArendsvlei), Ilse Klink (StroomopIsidingo) and Brendon Daniels (Four CornersSara se GeheimArendsvlei) lead the all-star cast as Glenn, his wife Shireen and his brother Trevor respectively.

 Ceagan Arendse (Suidooster, Arendsvlei) is the black sheep of the family, Warren; Trudy van Rooy (Die BylSara Se Geheim) is Glenn’s prodigal daughter, Jessie; and SAFTA nominee Vinette Ebrahim (7de Laan, Binnelanders) is the formidable Fortune family matriarch.

2019 Comics Choice nominee – and Good Hope FM Happy Hour host – Carl Weber also stars as one of the Adams brothers, mob bosses who are busy buying up the strip around The Oasis. Bongo Mbutuma (Die SpreeusErfsondes) plays his partner in crime and brother from another mother.

The murder mystery’s ensemble cast also includes Fleur du Cap winner Mbulelo Grootboom (Sara Se Geheim, Projek Dina), Fleur du Cap nominee Ann Juries (Arendsvlei, Ander Mens), Danny Ross (Nommer 37ArendsvleiSuidooster), Kim Syster (BinnelandersSuidooster), Carmen Maarman (ArendsvleiLui Maar Op, Belinda), Sanda Shandu (The Kissing Booth 1 and 2) and legendary Cape Town muso Alistair Izobell.

2019 Standard Bank Young Artist Amy Jephta (writer: TrackersDie Ellen Pakkies Storie, and director of the upcoming feature Barakat) is executive producer and showrunner on this new 13-part series, co-directing alongside Ephraim Gordon (Sara Se GeheimSuidooster). Nagvlug Films (Rage) is producing.

Filming is taking place along Voortrekker Road and at Club Galaxy in Rylands, arguably Cape Town’s most famous club ever since it opened in 1978, which is doubling as both The Oasis and the Adams brothers’ strip club The Velvet Room. SAFTA-winning DOP Chris Lotz (JanThe Endless RiverRageShoreline) is shooting mostly between dusk and dawn, leaning into the shadows, silhouettes and neon lighting that make the locations so perfect for a noir series.

“We wrote the story with Galaxy and Voortrekker Road in mind,” says Amy. “We wanted to take these completely local settings and give them the same treatment we associate with LA noir, to make them feel as cinematic and iconic.”

An organic, hyper-local mix of both Afrikaans and English, the 13-part half-hour series will launch on Showmax in 2021, with a nostalgic Cape jazz soundtrack guaranteed to take you back to your own time on the Galaxy dancefloor as you try figure out who killed Glenn Fortune, and why.

Other upcoming Showmax Originals include the reality series Lebo M: Coming Home, due 2 December 2020, and the Megan Fox action movie Rogue, due 3 December 2020, as well as Jahmil XT Qubeka’s ancient Africa series Blood Psalms, a co-production with Canal+ International; the long-awaited second season of the South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA)-winning comedy, Tali’s Wedding Diary; and the small town horror Dam, all expected in early 2021.

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Drama Series

First Look at New Showmax Thriller with Pallance Dladla & Lea Vivier

It’s the story of a family – and a town – with dark secrets

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There’s already a couple of original South African series lined-up to premiere on Showmax in 2021. And the filming of ‘Dam’, a small-town psychological thriller shot in the Eastern Cape, has just wrapped.

Lea Vivier stars in ‘Dam’, set to premiere on Showmax in 2021.

THE PLOT 

‘Silwerskerm’ Best Actress winner Lea Vivier (WonderlusFynskrif) stars as Yola Fischer, who returns from Chile to the Eastern Cape to bury her father, only to be tormented by spirits in the farmhouse she has inherited. But with her mother institutionalised, and her own meds running out, Yola has to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head?

Two-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Pallance Dladla (ShadowIsibaya) co-stars as Themba, her love interest, a biker on the run.

Natasha Loring (who’s voiced game characters in both the Star Wars and Game of Thrones franchises, and starred in international series like Beaver Falls) plays Yola’s sister, Sienna; SAFTA winner Antoinette Louw (An Act of DefianceDie Laaste Tango) plays her aunt Dora; and Fleur du Cap winner Faniswa Yisa (Blood Psalms, Knuckle City and Skin) is Lindiwe; with aKing frontman Laudo Liebenberg (Black SailsDie Byl) and Gerald Steyn (Meisies Wat Fluit, Fiela Se Kind) as brothers Rudy and Max Reese.

“It’s the story of a family – and a town – with dark secrets, and about how what you push down will eventually rise up,” says Alex Yazbek (The WildUnmarried, Isibaya), a four-time SAFTA winner who is writing and directing the eight-part series.

Neil Sandilands returned from Hollywood for the series – his first South African role since 2013’s Die Ballade Van Robbie De Wee. Since then, Sandilands has appeared in hit shows like The FlashThe 100The Americans and Hap and Leonard, as well as films like Paul Greengrass’s News of the World, opposite Tom Hanks.

Dam’s all-star cast also includes Jennifer Steyn (Goodbye BafanaAbo Mzala, Master Harold and the Boys) as Yola’s mother, Yvette, and theatre legend Andrew Buckland (Catching Feelings) as her father, Jacob.

Siv Ngesi (Blood PsalmsStill Breathing, Knuckle City), Thembisa Mdoda-Nxumalo (Baby MamasUnmarriedOur Perfect Wedding), Tarryn Wyngaard (Noem My SkollieRaised by WolvesDwaalster) and Andre Odendaal (SwartwaterDwaalster). There’s also Marvin Lee Beukes (Die Byl), David James (District 9, Isidingo), and Francis Chouler, who is making his local TV series debut after more than 20 international roles in the likes of Eye in the Sky and Prisoner 760.

Picture Tree (Vehicle 19) are producing the series with Tom Marais (Hunter Killer, iNumber Number) as DOP; Sue Steele (MaterialVehicle 19) as production designer, creating things like frog-covered floors; award-winning model maker Roger Titley creating barbel fish-headed monsters; and SAFTA winner Smartie Olifant (IntersexionsThe Wound) overseeing makeup, including a trypophobia-inducing skin disorder.

“It’s safe to say you’ve never seen anything like Dam on South African TV,” says Candice Fanguiero, Showmax’s head of content.

Dam premieres on Showmax in February 2021.

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Showmax

11 African Highlights to Stream on Showmax Right Now

From ‘Chasing The Sun’ to ‘Legacy’

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Gomora Recap September 2020

Chasing the Sun. Die Verhaal Van Racheltjie de Beer. Unmarried. Legacy. A New Country. Famalam. Enslaved.

CHASING THE SUN | Docuseries

Two years before captain Siya Kolisi raised the Webb Ellis Cup at the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Tokyo, South Africa lost 57-0 to New Zealand – the heaviest defeat in their history.

Chasing the Sun is the five-part docu-series of how Kolisi, coach Rassie Erasmus, and the rest of the Bokke recovered from that humiliation, transforming a team and inspiring a nation as they pulled off one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.

SuperSport was granted unprecedented access to the Springboks both in the build-up to and during the tournament, which helped produce incredible behind-the-scenes footage that goes to the heart of what it took to defy the odds and reclaim World Cup glory.

DIE VERHAAL VAN RACHETLJIE DE BEER | Movie

South Africa’s wilderness in the 1800s: Five years after their mother died, Racheltjie and five-year-old Jamie find themselves on their way to the gold fields with their father, Herman, to start a new life. But winter is closing in fast, and when Jamie goes missing in a freak snowstorm, Rachel must brave the deadly cold to search for her little brother…

The beloved heroine of this Afrikaans folktale is brought to life by Zonika de Vries (Dis Koue Kos, Skat), who won the Young Actress award for the role at the 2019 Silwerskerm Festival. The film also took Best Actor (Stian Bam from Modder en Bloed), Production Design and Visual Effects at Silwerskermfees, the Kidseye award at this year’s Rhode Island Film Festival, and three Golden Horns – for Cinematography, Sound Design, and Original Score – at the 2020 SAFTAs.

The stellar cast includes SAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Marius Weyers, Naledi Lifetime Achievement Award winner Sandra Prinsloo, and SAFTA winners Antoinette Louw (An Act of DefianceGoodbye Bafana) and Seputla Sebogodi (GenerationsThe Republic), with newcomer Johannes Jordaan as Jamie.

 The movie is directed by Matthys Boshoff (Vlees van My Vlees, Huggies’ award-winning Baby Marathon campaign), who co-wrote the script with Brett Michael Innes (Fiela se Kind, Sink).

Die Verhaal van Racheltjie de Beer was the ninth biggest local movie at the SA box office last year. As Channel24’s Leandra Engelbracht says, “The Story of Racheltjie De Beer breathes life into the fabled tale; it is a definite must-watch. Be sure to take some tissues with you.”

UNMARRIED| Drama series

Following the success of its first season and last year’s subsequent spinoff in Nigeria, this hugely popular drama series is back with a brand-new 16-episode season. Unmarried follows the lives of three young female friends living in Jozi, as they deal with the pressures of juggling marriage, motherhood, relationships, and their careers from the township to the suburbs, to the high-end apartment lifestyle of the “super blessed”.

The series stars SAFTA winner Renate Stuurman (The RiverHappiness Is a Four-Letter Word) as corporate high-flyer, Brenda; Lunathi Mampofu (The Queen, The River) as newcomer Claudia; and SAFTA and DSTV Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Award winner Thembisa Mdoda-Nxumalo (Baby MamasOur Perfect Wedding) as the shining star of the trio, Thembi.

New episodes land on Showmax every Monday at 8pm, at the same time as the Mzansi Magic broadcast.

LEGACY | Telenovela

Set in the cut-throat world of investment billionaires, Legacy follows Sebastian Price, the patriarch of a super-wealthy family, who’s fast approaching retirement… leaving the keys to the kingdom up for grabs.

The M-Net telenovela boasts a formidable cast including SAFTA winners Kgomotso Christopher (IsidingoScandal), Deon Lotz (SkoonheidMandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Siyabonga Thwala (IsibayaThe Republic), Mary-anne Barlow (The River), and Leeanda Reddy (Isidingo), as well as the iconic Michelle Botes (IsidingoBinnelanders), SAFTA nominees Don Mlangeni Nawa (Isidingo) and Dawid Minnaar (Poppie NongenaDie Wonderwerker), and rising stars Reandi Grey (7de Laan), Jay Anstey (Isidingo), Trix Vivier (Trackers), Anton David Jeftha (Strike BackHomelandSuidooster), and Sean-Marco Vorster (Alles Malan).

Legacy is the brainchild of SAFTA winners Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, who created the International Emmy-nominated telenovela The RiverThe Republic, named Best Drama at the 2020 SAFTAs; and Gomora, recently named Most Popular Soapie at the 2020 Royalty Soapie Awards.

SAFTA winners Johnny Barbuzano (The River, The Republic, Still Breathing), Catharine Cooke (The River, The Girl from St. Agnes) and Krijay Govender (The WildGa Re Dumele) are directing.

A NEW COUNTRY | Documentary

How did we get from the euphoria of 1994 to the fractured South Africa of today?

Through forthright interviews with informal workers, politicians, academics, and artists, director Sifiso Khanyile (Uprize) traces our journey as a country over the past three decades, and looks at the state of the Rainbow Nation today.

A New Country earned a Special Mention at this year’s Jozi Film Festival, where Khanyile won Best Director.

Encounters called the documentary “heartbreakingly insightful,” adding that it shows “a contemporary society that is increasingly fractured and in which the culture of resistance and protest is as strong and vital as it was during the height of legislated apartheid.”

GOMORA | Telenovela

 Gomora recently won the public vote as Most Popular Soapie of the Year at the 2020 Royalty Soapie Awards, also taking home jury prizes for Outstanding Directing Team, Supporting Actress (Sannah Mchunu as Zodwa) and Newcomer (Sicelo Buthelezi as Teddy).

The twisty Mzansi Magic telenovela stars SAFTA winner Katlego Danke (Isidingo, Generations) as Thathi, a spoiled trophy wife whose posh Sandton life is stripped away in an instant. With no money and no job, Thathi is forced to pull her teenage kids out of their private schools and enrol them in a public school in Alexandra.

They also have to move back in with her mother, Mam’Sonto (SAFTA winner Connie Chiume from Black Panther), a woman whose strict standards and grandmotherly care for her family mask her true nature as the queen of crime in Alexandra.

The all-star cast also includes SAFTA winners Themba Ndaba (The QueenHopeville) and Zolisa Xaluva (Blood PsalmsSew The Winter To My Skin), as well as Blood & Water star Ama Qamata and Thembi Seete of Boom Shaka and Zone 14 fame, alongside fresh faces like Buthelezi, Ntobeko Sishi and Siphesihle Ndaba.

Gomora was created by executive producer Kutlwano Ditsele (The Herd) with Gwydion Beynon and Phathutshedzo Makwarela of Tshedza Pictures, who brought us the two most-awarded shows at the 2020 SAFTAs: Best Drama winner The Republic and Best Telenovela winner The River, which was also up for an International Emmy last year. Amanda Lane (Is’thunzi) is co-creator.

BACK OF THE MOON | Movie

Back of the Moon recently won Best International Narrative Feature at the Montreal International Black Film Festival, after being named Best South African Feature Film at Durban International Film Festival and Best Costume Design at the 2020 South African Film and Television Award (SAFTAs).

Sophiatown 1958: On the eve of the forced removals, gang leader Badman (SAFTA nominee Richard Lukunku from Happiness Is a Four-Letter Word) meets the gorgeous Eve Msomi (Moneoa Moshesh from Rhythm City), a torch-singer on the brink of an international career, and finds that fighting to the death becomes a whole lot harder when you have something to live for.

Back of the Moon is directed and co-written by Oscar nominee Angus Gibson (Mandela28UP South Africa), who also recently took home a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Royalty Soapie Awards. The film is produced by The Bomb Shelter (Yizo Yizo), and exec produced by William Kentridge and Anant Singh.

“I am really happy that this subtitled film about an obscure moment in South African history found a responsive audience on this North American platform,” says Angus.

SAFTA winners S’dumo Mtshali (Is’thunziIsiBayaiNumber Number), Thomas Gumede (Single GuysBay of Plenty), and Siyabonga Thwala (LegacyThe Republic) co-star.

PARABLE  | Movie

 Parable recently won Best Film at NOLA Horror Film Festival in New Orleans, named one of the world’s top 50 genre film festivals by MovieMaker Magazine.

Showmax favourite Jane De Wet (The Girl From St AgnesRage) plays Esther, a teenage girl forced into gay conversion therapy. When a famous lay preacher, Reverend Randal Day, accidentally conjures a demonic spirit while trying to ‘cure’ her, he tries to hide his mistake in a church house deep within a security complex.

The gated community is home to Kasper, a slacker with a recently tarnished reputation, who starts getting dream visits from the missing girl in the news – and she wants his help to escape…

Fleur du Cap winner Michael Richard (Still Breathing, Disgrace) was nominated as Best Actor at NOLA as Reverend Day, with SAFTA nominee Beer Adriaanse (Ekstra MediumBuurtwag) competing for Best Director.

“We shot this baby in 12 days, with a limited budget and stuck it all together with 22 litres of blood and about five tons of love and respect for the craft,” says Beer. “Dik trots.”

VULA VALA | Drama series

From multi-SAFTA winners Black Brain Pictures (Lockdown), Vula Vala is Mzansi Magic’s hit new Sunday night drama, which follows Mzi (Khanyisani Kheswa), an aspiring soccer player, who leaves Ladysmith to go work for his uncle and find a better life in Johannesburg. He finds himself playing for The Scorpions, a team owned by retired soccer star Bra Rex (Sello Maake Ka-Ncube from The RiverThe Herd, and Blood & Water), a ruthless businessman whose past life is about to catch up with him.

SAFTA winner Tina Jaxa (Gold DiggersWhile You Weren’t Looking) co-stars as Bra Rex’s wife, while Darlington Michaels (Papa G in Isidingo) plays Gab, a small-time hustler who is the first to recognise Mzi’s talent.

New episodes come to Showmax on Sunday nights after Vula Vala airs on Mzansi Magic.

FAMALAM S3 | Sketch comedy

Nigerian Gbemisola Ikumelo picked up a 2020 BAFTA nomination for her performance in Famalam, which has also earned writer-producer Akemnji Ndifornyen a BAFTA TV Craft Award and Samson Kayo nominations for Best Comedy Performance at both the BAFTAs and the Royal Television Society Awards.

Now the BBC’s hilarious sketch comedy is back for its third season. Learn how to make White People Chicken, see our favourite aunties handle their nephew coming out, and discover Nollywood’s ‘finest’. We’ll also get to check out Idris Elba’s skill set (Idris Elba can do anything!), and watch the rudest Midsomer Murders ever.

The Independent (UK) calls it “a sublime achievement of satire,” saying, “Like all the best sketch shows, Famalam is a mix of comforting recurring characters and scenes, but tweaked with a delightful and clever wit on every outing.”

ENSLAVED | Documentary series

Enslaved is a six-episode docuseries that explores 400 years of human trafficking from Africa to the New World by following the efforts of Diving with a Purpose, as they search for and locate six slave ships that went down with their human cargo.

Executive produced and featuring Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp FictionAvengers), Enslaved tracks the efforts of divers as they utilise new methods of underwater archaeology to identify and locate these sunken slave ships for the first time in history.

These modern-day adventures serve as a springboard to tell the stories of the ideology, economics and politics of slavery, while also celebrating stories of resistance, the cultures left behind and the culture that we live in.

The series also traces Jackson’s DNA back to Gabon, where he visits in the first episode to locate his own ancestors in the Benga tribe.

New episodes of Enslaved come to Showmax every Wednesday, same day as M-Net. You can binge from 25 November.

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Documentaries

First Look at Showmax Original Lebo M – Coming Home

Watch the trailer of the reality show!

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Get set for a festive season like no other with Showmax South Africa. The first trailer for Lebo M – Coming Home  just dropped, and it will be available on the streaming service from 2 December 2020.

The trailer starts, like The Lion King, with Lebo M’s distinctive voice singing, “Nants’ Ingonyama,” from The Circle Of Life, off Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-winning soundtrack to the animated classic.

“I’ve worked with some of the biggest and greatest, most talented people in the world,” says Lebo M, who’s won a Grammy, been nominated for a Tony for his work on the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time, executive produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, had his songs streamed over 250 million times on Spotify alone, and won the 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewer’s Choice 1Life Legend Award.

But now, Lebo M says, “I’m re-entering a phase in my life as a family man… Family has always been the basis under which I function better.”

In the trailer, we see him throw a housewarming at his equestrian estate in Blair Athol, which he calls “our final home.” He shares the mansion with his 90-something mother; four of his children; and Angela Ngani-Casara, his third wife, who talks in the trailer of “a new era, a new dawn.”

But Lebo M also admits “the dysfunctionality of my family history,” which has seen him married three times, helping to raise nine children along the way, one of whom tragically passed away.

Lebo M Documentary

The tension with Tshepiso, his only surviving son, is particularly evident in the trailer. Tshepiso lives in Midrand and has just become a father himself, but Lebo admits in the trailer, “I’m in the worst relationship with my son that I’ve ever been, since he was born.”

But, as Lebo M says at the end of the trailer, “I’m ready to face the music.”

Lebo M – Coming Home is the debut reality series from Dopezuluboi Productions, founded by Teddy Geldart, who directed two seasons of Being Bonang and was executive producer of the SAFTA-winning Living The Dream With Somizi S4 and this year’s other hit reality show, Kwa Mam’Mkhize.

Lebo M – Coming Home is the third Original reality series this year from Showmax, after Somizi & Mohale: The Union broke the overall first-day viewing record on Showmax and Life With Kelly Khumalo became the fastest Showmax Original to top one million views.

Other upcoming Showmax Originals include Babes Wodumo and Mampintha’s reality series, Uthando Lodumo; the long-awaited second season of the SAFTA-winning comedy,Tali’s Wedding Diary; the nightclub-set murder mystery Skemerdans; and the small town psychological thriller Dam, all expected in early 2021.

The Showmax Original Lebo M – Coming Home is launching first on Showmax on 2 December 2020. Nants’ Ingonyama. Here comes a lion.

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