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The Joburg Film Festival Adapts to the New Norm

Inside the 2020 edition.

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The creative industry was just as struck down by the pandemic as other industries, so the absence of major festivals, award shows and other music events left us with a gap year.

Having to adapt to the new norm, however, organisers of the annual Joburg Festival, in association with their partners NFVF and GFC have announced that the 2020 edition of the festival will be staged as a two-day event later in November.

The Joburg Film Festival, which is typically held in the last week of November as a six-day festival, will now take place on 28 and 29 November with a limited film selection with a huge focus on development workshops.

Joburg Film Festival 2019

Kay Sibiya and Judie Sbahle Kama at the Joburg Film Festival launch at the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.

The festival is anchored by three main pillars which drive and direct all activities and engagements related to the delivery of the festival. These three pillars are the Film Programme, the Industry Programme and the Youth & Audience Development Programme.

Limited Film Programme

This year three specially curated films will be featured and celebrated at a local cinema over the two days of the 2020 installment, with an opportunity for the general public to attend the screenings of these films.

The focus of the 2020 targeted films places the spotlight on “displacement”, an apt theme during the global pandemic.

With the huge impact of COVID19 globally, the pandemic has amplified bullying, harassment and murder across the African continent. Whilst the films may not address these issues directly, they do explore the lives of people who are marginalized, some by choice and others by circumstances they find themselves in, which motivates their decision to find a new place to call home.

The Joburg Film Fest opening film ‘This is Not A Burial It’s a Resurrection’ features the late legendary Joburg born actress Mary Twala just prior to it’s Oscar run post the festival.

Making it’s global screening debut at the Joburg Film Fest this year, LGBTI film ’There’s Power In the Collar’ will also be shown over the festival.  The last addition to this year’s schedule includes Canadian / South Africa film ‘Beyond Moving’.

Film 1:             This is Not A Burial It’s A Resurrection (OPENING FILM)
Director:         Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Country:         South Africa
Duration:        120 minutes
Year:               2019

Amongst the pythonic mountains of landlocked Lesotho, an 80 year old widow winds up her earthly affairs, makes arrangements for her burial and prepares to die.

But when her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to the construction of a reservoir, she finds a new will to live and ignites a collective spirit of defiance within her community.

In the final dramatic moments of her life, Mantoa’s legend is forged and made eternal.

Film 2:             There’s Power In the Collar
Director:         Lodi Matsetela and Vincent Moloi
Country:         Botswana
Duration:        175 minutes
Year:               2020

As Botswana awaits a possible landmark judgement from its high court, seeking to decriminalize same sex relations, Chantel, a 27 year old lesbian who’s both a theologian and a queer rights activist, attempts to start her journey to get ordained as a reverend in Botswana’s religiously conservative and homophobic society.

Film 3:             Beyond Moving
Director:         Vikram Dasgupta
Country:         Canada/South Africa
Duration:        84 minutes
Year:               2019

“Beyond Moving is a heartbreaking tale of the things we sacrifice for art”.

When young Siphe November leaves his small township in South Africa to follow his dreams at Canada’s National Ballet School, he begins a remarkable journey that reveals deeply personal pulses of family, prejudice, expectation, loss, and resilience that beat beneath the surface of a beautiful and demanding art form.

Screenings will be held at Cinema Nouveau in the Rosebank Mall and the Bioscope at 22 Stanley in Milpark. Limited tickets will be sold at the door of each of the respective venues.

Youth & Audience Development Programme

The Youth and Audience Development programme is a skill sharing platform that affords young aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to learn from and engage with industry professionals, hosted in partnership with the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF).

Due to the pandemic, the programme will be delivered as well structured one-day workshop that incorporates the province’s youth from different regions at a central location and is also recorded for virtual streaming and broadcast.

Black youth who are students or aspirant filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 30 years with a matric or an alternative equivalent as a minimum participating criterion will be selected for the workshop.

Twenty youth from each of the 5 of Gauteng’s regions will be selected to attend the physical one-day workshop on Saturday 28 November that will be held at the Lesedi Theatre @ Joburg Theatre, bringing the total attendees and participants to 100/150 pax.

The 5 regions have been identified as:

  • Ekurhuleni
  • Mogale City
  • Sedibeng
  • Tshwane
  • City of Joburg

Interested participants can send their details (full name and age) to either of the contact details below:

Whatsapp line:   067 770 1574

Email:                    info@joburgfilmfestival.co.za

The workshop will be screened and made available via the JFF website post the event to reach and impact an even broader audience than the one that attended physically.

Sadly the Industry Programme will not take place this year due to COVID19 travel restrictions.

“The focus of the 2020 festival will be on the third pillar of the festival which emphasizes JFF’s commitment to developing, empowering and skilling the youth whilst contributing to the development of the cinema culture and growing audience appreciation for local films”, stated Joburg Film Festival Executive Director Tim Mangwedi. We are also extremely honoured to be opening the festival this year with film This is Not A Burial It’s A Resurrection’ finally giving the Joburg audience a chance to catch this brilliant cinematic work on the big screen”.

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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