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STREAM: 15 African Series & Films that Rocked The World in 2020

Rafiki, Moffie, Buddha in Africa and more.

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Watch the trailers and read up on 15 of the best internationally acclaimed African films currently streaming on Showmax

ZOG 

Zog was named Best Animation at the 2020 International Emmy Kids Awards and won the 2020 Children’s Programme Award from the Royal Television Society, among other honours like Kidscreen, Annie and British Animation Awards nominations.

Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by the UK’s Magic Light Pictures, the 27-minute animated short captures the magic of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling picture book, with an all-star voice cast including the likes of Kit Harington, Sir Lenny Henry and Tracey Ullman. It’s co-directed by multi-award-winning South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man) and two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom).

Zog is the keenest but clumsiest pupil in his class at Dragon School, where he longs to win a gold star as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire. He keeps meeting a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest school assignment yet: capturing a princess?

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

The Snail and The Whale won the 2020 Venice TV Award for Children/Youth, as well as Best Voice Performance (for Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins as the snail) at the 2020 British Animation Awards, where it was also nominated for Best Longform Animation and Best Use of Sound.


The Snail and The Whale follows the amazing journey of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale. It’s a joyous, empowering tale about our wonderful world and discovering that, however small you are, you can make a difference.

The Snail and the Whale is produced by the Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures and animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish, with South African Daniel Snaddon co-directing with two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom).

The half-hour adaptation of The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s best-selling children’s book is also voiced by British Comedy Award winner Rob Brydon as the whale and Golden Globe nominee Dame Diana Rigg as the narrator. Rigg – best known as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones; Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers; and Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, James Bond’s wife in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – passed away in September 2020.

RAFIKI | Romance film

Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki was named Outstanding Film – Limited Release at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards, which recognise and honour media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and the issues that affect their lives.

Rafiki beat out the likes of Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, nominated for both Oscars and Golden Globes this year; 2020 Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee Portrait of A Lady On Fire; Sundance audience award winner Brittany Runs a Marathon; and South African favourite Kanariestarring Schalk Bezuidenhout.

“Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena (Samantha Mugatsia, who won Best Actress at Carthage 2018 and FESPACO 2019 for the role) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls are forced to choose between happiness and safety.

The Kenyan film has a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety calling it “impossible not to celebrate”; RogerEbert.com “a lyrical ode to finding a kindred spirit amidst an uncaring majority”; AV Club “bursting with life”; and Washington Post “a small revelation, not least because it marks the breakthrough of a filmmaker of such exhilarating, cheerfully courageous vision.”


MOFFIE 
| Drama film

Currently on the longlist for the Golden Globe’s Foreign Film category, Moffie won the Film Critics Special Jury Prize at the 2020 Dublin International Film Festival and has a 100% critics rating from Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety raving, “South African auteur Oliver Hermanus makes his masterpiece with this brutal but radiant story of young gay desire on the Angolan war front… establishing him quite plainly as South Africa’s most vital contemporary filmmaker… Both a shiver-delicate exploration of unspoken desire and a scarringly brilliant anatomy of white South African masculinity. It fair takes your breath away.”

Adapted from an autobiographical 2006 novel by André Carl van der Merwe, Moffie is set in South Africa, 1981, with the white minority government embroiled in a conflict on the southern Angolan border. Like all white boys over the age of 16, Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) must complete two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime.

The threat of communism and die swart gevaar is at an all-time high. But that’s not the only danger Nicholas faces. He must survive the brutality of the army – something that becomes even more difficult when a connection is sparked between him and a fellow recruit.

Coming to Showmax from 31 December 2020, Moffie is produced by South African-born Eric Abraham, who has produced two Oscar-winning films: Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida and Jan Sverak’s Kolya. Abraham is also the founder and benefactor of The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.

DIE VERHAAL VAN RACHELTJIE DE BEER | Drama film

Die Verhaal Van Racheltjie De Beer won the Kidseye award at the 2020 Rhode Island Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying festival in the USA, as well as three Golden Horns – for Cinematography, Sound Design, and Original Score – at the 2020 SAFTAs.

 

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). 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).

YVONNE ORJI: MOMMA, I MADE IT! | Comedy special

In her first HBO comedy special, Nigeria’s Yvonne Orji, better known as Molly from Insecure, has the audience rolling with laughter as she brings her razor-sharp wit and confidence to the stage. Both celebrating and poking fun at her strict, formative Nigerian-American upbringing, Yvonne shares her unique journey from pre-med to comedy, talks about parental pressures to get married, and takes us along to Lagos to meet her family and friends.

Entertainment Weekly calls Momma, I Made It! “an hour of joy”, IndieWire hails it as “a rip-roaring standup special,” and Fast Company says it’s “the laugh the black community needs right now.”

In 2020, Yvonne also recently earned her first Emmy nomination and her fourth Black Reel nomination in a row as Molly in Insecure.

LUSALA | Drama movie

Lusala won the Rimbaud award at the 2020 Les Rimbaud du Cinéma, held in France at the oldest active cinema in the world.

Brian Ogola (18 Hours and Poacher) stars as Lusala, adopted by an affluent Nairobi family a decade ago, but now imposed on to leave home and start on his own. Eager and willing at first, he makes the most of his life, until the demons from his past return, and he has to face them on his own. Stycie Waweru (Jo in Supa Modo) co-stars.

Lusala is the directorial debut of Mugambi Nthiga, who co-wrote Kati Kati and Supa Modo, and acted in Nairobi Half Life and Stories of Our Lives – four critically acclaimed Kenyan films awarded at Toronto, Berlin, and AFI respectively, among many other festivals.

BUDDHA IN AFRICA | Documentary

Buddha in Africa won a Special Mention at Docudays 2020 in Ukraine and also took home Best Documentary and Best Directing at the 2020 SAFTAs.

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, a Malawian teenager finds himself torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock is now in his final year of school and has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan?

Directed by South African Nicole Schafer, Buddha in Africa was praised by Variety as “a complicated portrait of what’s been described as the latest chapter in Africa’s long struggle against colonization.

STROOP: JOURNEY INTO THE RHINO HORN WAR | Nature documentary

Stroop: Journey Into The Rhino Horn War was nominated for the Doclights / NDR Naturfilm Producer Director Award at Wildscreen, arguably the most prestigious wildlife filmmaking event in the world.

The gripping wildlife crime thriller takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride between Africa and Asia. Two first-time filmmakers, award-winning editor Susan Scott (The Last Lions) and 50/50 presenter Bonné de Bod, embed themselves on the frontlines of the rhino poaching crisis, where they are given exclusive access to the war as it unfolds on the ground.

Carving out six months for the project, the two women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later. The resulting film has won over 30 international awards, including Best of Festival at The International Wildlife Film Festival, and was shortlisted for two awards at Jackson Wild.

Scott and de Bod’s new film, Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales, is now streaming on Showmax.


NOUGHTS + CROSSES S1 
| Alternative history series

South African costume designer Dihantus Engelbrecht earned a Costume Design – Drama nomination from the 2020 Royal Television Society Awards in the UK for his work on Noughts + Crosses, a controversial six-part BBC One series based on Malorie Blackman’s multi-award-winning novel.

South African Masali Baduza (Trackers) and BAFTA winner Jack Rowan (Born To Kill, Peaky Blinders) play Sephy and Callum, two star-crossed lovers in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet, in an alternate universe where Africa colonised Europe, rather than the other way round. Shot largely in Cape Town with Film Afrika, the series also stars South African actress Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus, Wallander) as Sephy’s mom, Jasmine. Koby Adom – who is from Ghana, was born in Cote d’Ivoire, and grew up in London – is one of the two directors.

Times (UK) praised it as “mesmerising… It’s important, this one. We’ll be talking about it for years.”

FAMALAM S3 | Sketch comedy

Black sketch comedy finally took centre stage in 2020, with HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show nominated for three Emmys and BBC3’s Famalam up for a BAFTA, with Nigerian star and co-creator Gbemisola Ikumelo competing for Best Female Performance in a Comedy. Teaser sketches from Famalam have gone viral repeatedly on Facebook Watch, with six of the sketches already over 100 million combined views there.

In Season 3, we see our favourite aunties handle their nephew coming out, learn how to make White People Chicken, watch the rudest Midsomer Murders ever, catch up with the Nigerian prince who no one emails back, and see two cartels going to war – over the booming avocado trade… Look out for Ivorian Tom Moutchi doing a killer Idris Elba imitation too.

The Independent (UK) praises Famalam as “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.” Similarly, The Guardian hails Famalam as “quickfire, playful comedy, rooted in the black British experience.”

TRACKERS S1 | Action series

Fresh from outperforming Game of Thrones – and everything else on M-Net last year – Trackers was released internationally by HBO and Cinemax in June 2020.

 

Based on Deon Meyer’s bestselling novel, Trackers has an 88% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In America, Meaww raved, “Packed with thrills and chills, Trackers whisks viewers towards a violent conspiracy involving organized crime, state security, and an international terrorist plot…

James Gracie and Thapelo Mokoena take centre stage with their amazing performances,” while The New York Times called it “a more polished product than Blood & Water…  more easily entertaining…. James Gracie… can do a lot with silent looks of doubt and reproach.” In Israel, Haaretz called it “the guilty pleasure” of the week, adding, “it comes to life when it places Cape Town front and center.” And in New Zealand, Stuff called it “a high-octane thriller… a good rollicking story.”

KNUCKLE CITY | Boxing movie

At the end of November 2020, Knuckle City was named the most nominated film at the 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), where it’s up for 12 awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (SAFTA winner Bongile Mantsai from Inxeba The Wound), Best Director (multiple-SAFTA winner Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, who is also making the upcoming Showmax Original Blood Psalms), and Best Supporting Actress (Faniswa Yisa from upcoming Showmax Original DAM).

In South Africa’s powerful 2020 Oscar entry, an ageing, womanising professional boxer (Mantsai) and his career-criminal brother (Thembekile Komani) take one last shot at success and get more than they’ve bargained for. “It is impossible not to be completely consumed by Knuckle City,” wrote The Globe and Mail when the film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, describing it as “Raging Bull meets Rocky, but in South Africa” and praising its navigation of “the painful issues of toxic masculinity, age and the impossible-seeming choices one can be forced to make to ensure the survival of themselves and the people they love… Mantsai’s performance is gripping, electrifying and heart-breaking.”

A rare South African film with a 100% critics rating on Rotten TomatoesKnuckle City was the most awarded film at this year’s SAFTAs, taking home six awards, including Best Director and Best Actor for Mantsai.

THE GHOST AND THE HOUSE OF TRUTH | Crime drama

At the end of November 2020, The Ghost and The House of Truth was named the third most nominated film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), where it’s up for seven awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Akin Omotoso, who previously won the category for Vaya).

Bola Ogun (BAFTA Breakthrough Brit winner Susan Wokoma from Enola Holmes) is a dedicated counsellor who facilitates reconciliation sessions between convicts and the victims of their crimes. But when her own daughter goes missing, her belief in forgiveness is tested.

Shot in Makoko, Nigeria, the award-winning crime drama also stars AMAA Best Actress winner Kate Henshaw (Chief Daddy, 4th Republic) as Folashade, a police inspector in the Child Protection Unit, and AMAA Best Young Actor winner Kemi Lala Akindoju (Dazzling MirageBanana Island GhostFifty), who also co-produced.

THE LETTER READER | Short film

At the end of November 2020, The Letter Reader was nominated for Best Short Film at The Africa Movie Academy Awards. Directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo, The Letter Reader also won Best Short at the 2020 SAFTAs.

 

Inspired by Thabo Mbeki’s biography, A Dream DeferredThe Letter Reader tells the story of Siyabonga, a 12-year-old boy from Johannesburg who is sent to a village in KwaZulu-Natal to live with his grandmother while his parents are sorting out their marital problems. As a city boy who is not accustomed to doing household chores, Siyabonga struggles to adapt. He discovers the power of words as he reads letters that put a smile on people’s faces, until one day, a letter with bad news lands in his hands…

The late Andile Gumbi, best known for playing Simba in The Lion King musical, leads the cast, while multiple-SAFTA winner Lance Gewer (TsotsiHappiness Is A Four-Letter Word) DoPs.

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Drama Series

Netflix vs Showmax: 7 Hot Series to Stream this January

Bridgerton, Real Housewives of Durban, Bling Empire and more.

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REAL HOUSEWIVES OF DURBAN | SHOWMAX

QuenchSA reported this week that season one of the Real Housewives of Durban is now a Showmax exclusive. The Durban version of the popular international franchise had been initially commissioned for 1Magic, but will now premiere weekly episodes on Fridays from January 29th on the streaming platform.

Real Housewives of Durban

If you’ve seen the Johannesburg and international series in the franchise, you are au fait with the drill.

In a nutshell, the series will give us a glimpse into the opulent lives of six influential housewives in the Ethekwini upper echelons. We are expecting lots of glitter, beautiful gowns, tactful shade and the occasional champagne flute flying across the room in one of the heated dinners. The frenemy dinners always come.

The main cast features Ayanda Ncwane, Sorisha Naidoo, Kgomotso Ndungane, Nonkanyiso Conco, Annie Ludick and Nonku Williams. We’ve heard enough, bring out the girls we need to see the money filter.

BRIDGERTON | NETFLIX

Shonda Rhimes snapped, again, and we are here for it. Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Rhimes, the American period piece is based on Julia Quinn’s novels set in Regency London’s competitive marriage market.

The period drama series follows the Bridgerton family Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton; her four sons, Anthony, Benedict, Colin and Gregory and her four daughters, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca and Hyacinth. Also featured are the Featheringtons: Portia, Lady Featherington; her husband the Baron; their three daughters, Philippa, Prudence and Penelope, and their cousin Marina Thompson.

P-VALLEY | SHOWMAX

Late last year, the STARZ American drama television series launched premiere episodes simultaneously on 1Magic for linear viewing, and on Showmax for those of us who haven’t sat in front of an actual TV set in years. With a critics score of  100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a pretty high score on QuenchSA as of now, the series comes highly recommended.

P-Valley is an adaptation of a play called Pussy Valley, if you ever wondered about the title. The drama series follows the lives of a group of people working at a strip club called ‘The Pynk’ in the  fictional city of Chucalissa, Mississippi. 

The series is so good that I definitely wanted to work at the Pynk at some point (No cryin’ at the Pynk!). No skills or banging bod to be a stripper but the Pynk family is tight. So much heart and hope in a broken place.

Also two words; Uncle Clifford!

LUPIN | NETFLIX

The series chronicles the life of professional scammer Assane Diop, the only son of a Senegales immigrant who came to France looking for greener pastures for his son.

The point of departure comes with Assane’s father is framed for stealing an expensive piece of diamond jewellery from his boss, the rich and influential Hubert Pellegrini. Out of shame, he commits suicide in his prison cell, leaving behind an orphaned teenage son.

More than two decades later, inspired by a book about a crafty thief Arsène Lupin he’d received as a birthday gift from his late father, Assane plots revenge on the Pellegrini family. Using his charm and mastery in thievery and deception, he embarks on a mission to expose Hubert’s crimes.

POWERBOOK II: GHOST | SHOWMAX

The Power spinoff picks up the pieces Ghost left all over the place. Tariq and Tasha must survive.

By the time Tariq shot his father James ‘Ghost’ St. Patrick to his shocking death at nightclub ‘True’, we’d started guessing that the new show would most likely focus on the rise of Tariq as the new leader in the drug underworld of New York City.

Power S6 South Africa Tariq

After all, much of the ‘final betrayal’ season centered on how he and her mother Tasha had to go to extreme measures to eliminate Ghost for self-preservation. After trying to throw Tariq under the bus while abandoning Tasha and Tommy as a fair trade in his rise to the office of governor, it became clear that lines were drawn.

And that’s how Ghost dug his own grave. Running his mouth with the folk in his campaign, trying to get his son to do time in prison while he ascends within political ranks, leave Tommy to bury his skeletons and draw the final curtain on his dysfunctional marriage to Tasha.

THE WORLD OF THE MARRIED | NETFLIX

Someone pitched this show to me as ‘top tier Korean mgowo’ and I haven’t been able to forget it. There’s a reason The World of The Married surfaced as one of the most-streamed Korean shows in South Africa in 2020. It’s probably the same reason the television series is now the highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.

This is a beautifully written, brilliantly portrayed and outstanding screenplay of love and tragedy. Not forgetting a mind-blowing display of how marriages can rank amongst the highest scams.

The Korean series follows the life of Ji Sun-woo (the woman’s wardrobe is a topic!), an established medical doctor with what appears to be a perfect life. She has a handsome husband Lee Tae-oh, with whom she has a teenage son Lee Joon-young.

Then the betrayal from her husband and close friend comes, and it goes downhill from there. You will have to watch the unravelling of some intense drama yourself.

BLING EMPIRE | NETFLIX

Take Kwa Mam’Khize, Rich Kids and Real Housewives of Johannesburg and add the most mesmerising aspects of the wealth flaunted on those shows. Take your time. Now, multiply those visuals of high life living and you get Bling Empire. Netflix’s new reality shows follows the lives of people with an insane amount of wealth. Old money; someone was saying there that “My husband could be the emperor of China and our son the Prince”.

Honey.

Kelly Mi Li in episode 8 “Will You Marry Me?” of Bling Empire: Season 1. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

Bling Empire follows a wealthy group of Asian and Asian American friends who live in Los Angeles. These are collectors of haute couture, lovers of private jets with personal shoppers.  It’s a multi-billion network of friends with a flair for expensive shopping sprees, fabulous parties, and overspending for the fun of it. Lofty.

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Documentaries

From Tiger Woods to ‘Baby god’, Here’s What’s Hot on Showmax Right Now

Tiger, Baby god, Comey Rule & Showbiz Kids

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TIGER | Binge now, first on Showmax

HBO’s two-part Tiger Woods documentary, Tiger, offers a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of the global golfing icon.

At age 2, Tiger appeared on TV to show off his putting skills. His father, Earl, told the presenter that Tiger had picked up a golf club at three months and started playing at eight months. According to multiple voices in the documentary, including his own, Earl believed he had been chosen by God to groom Tiger for greatness, not just on the golf course, but as a world-changer on the scale of Buddha, Gandhi, Jesus or Mandela.

As if that wasn’t enough pressure, when Tiger went pro at 20 and soon after signed a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal with Nike, he was hailed as the first superstar golfer of colour in a traditionally white sport – as “Michael Jordan in long pants.” It was a lot of pressure, especially for someone who famously told Oprah he thought of himself not as African-American, but as “Cablinasian,” an abbreviation of his mixed Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian ancestry.

The documentary series contextualises Tiger’s triumphs and tragedies through never-before-seen footage and interviews with those who know him best, including his former caddy and close friend, Steve Williams; golf legend Sir Nick Faldo; Tiger’s first true love, Dina Parr; and Rachel Uchitel, the woman at the centre of the sex scandal that forever altered Tiger’s world, breaking her silence for the first time.

Based on the 2018 New York Times No. 1 best-selling biography penned by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict, Tiger is executive produced by Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman (Cartel LandA Private War) and Emmy nominee Matthew Hamachek (Amanda Knox). Tiger has an 8/10 rating on IMDb, with Variety hailing it as “urgent and powerful viewing that withholds judgment, but nothing else.”

THE COMEY RULE | Binge now

With all eyes on America right now, the turbulent events surrounding the 2016 US election that brought Donald Trump to power come under the spotlight in the topical political drama The Comey Rule.

Ben Mark Holzberg www.benmark.ca

The four-part mini-series stars Emmy winner Brendon Gleeson (In Bruges) as Trump; Emmy winner Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) as former FBI director James Comey; and Oscar winner Holly Hunter (Succession) as acting attorney general Sally Yates.

Based on Comey’s autobiography A Higher LoyaltyThe Comey Rule is written and directed by Billy Ray, who was nominated for an Oscar for his script for Captain Phillips and also wrote the box office phenomenon The Hunger Games.

AV Club says it’s “damned compelling… with a real-life tale that still beggars belief and a fantastic group of actors to tell it,” while Entertainment Weekly says, “For the pro-Trump crowd, The Comey Rule is destined to be dismissed as more #FakeNews from liberal Hollyweirdos. For everyone else, it offers the uniquely punishing experience of repeating history even as we continue to live through it.”

SHOWBIZ KIDS | Stream now, first on Showmax

Written and directed by former Broadway child star Alex Winters (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Showbiz Kids is a raw look at Hollywood and the toll that early success can have on young professionals.

Highlighting the shared experiences of prominent former child stars, the documentary features intimate, revealing interviews with the likes of Henry Thomas (Elliott in E.T.), Mara Wilson (Matilda in Matilda), Evan Rachel Wood, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Milla Jovovich.

Showbiz Kids has a 96% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “Both a celebration of child actors and a cautionary tale about the profession, Showbiz Kids offers a revelatory perspective on the pitfalls and rewards of Hollywood stardom.”

The documentary’s soundtrack, by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his sons Sammy and Spencer, was nominated for Best Score at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

BABY GOD | Stream now, first on Showmax

If you thought Three Identical Strangers was fascinating, Baby God will have you glued to the screen.

The HBO documentary is a haunting examination into the work of infamous Nevada fertility specialist Dr Quincy Fortier, a man who deceived countless women struggling to conceive by using his own sperm — without their knowledge or consent — to impregnate them.

Of course, when you have potentially hundreds of children, the odds increase that one of them will become a detective, and sign up to Ancestry.com. Using an at-home DNA kit, retired detective Wendi Babst discovers a slew of half-siblings she never knew she had. This unsettling discovery prompts her to open a personal investigation into her family tree, revealing ever more difficult truths about her father.

Through interviews with her father’s patients and children, a shocking, extensive pattern of deceit, malpractice, and sexual abuse emerges, leaving Wendi and her half-siblings to question which of their biological father’s traits they may have inherited. As Wendi probes her own identity, she wonders, “Do you want to say your father was a monster? And what does that say about you?”

“Why would Dr. Fortier do this? He was far from the only one,” says director Hannah Olson. “At least 22 others have been exposed for committing this previously undiscoverable crime, affecting many more patients than we’ll ever know. I was interested in this unraveling – how we try to make sense of ourselves through our families and what happens when we can’t connect the dots.”

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Reality Shows

Babes Wodumo & Mampintsha’s Reality Show Delayed

COVID19 restrictions stall filming.

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Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha’s highly anticipated reality series has been pushed back.

Entitled Uthando Lodumo, the show had been earmarked for an early 2021 premiere on Showmax, where it would add to the streaming platform’s growing catalogue of South African celebrity reality shows. Recently, Showmax has launched Somizi and Mohale, Kelly Khumalo, as well as Lebo M’s reality shows.

Sadly, Uthando Lodumo won’t be launching as per the initial schedule.

The primary reason for the delay in production is the COVID19 lockdown restrictions, which make it tricky for the famed music power couple to proceed with their wedding. The two, who famously got engaged during a live interview on Gagasi FM in 2020, had promised fans an open window into their much-publicised relationship.

MORE: BABES & MAMPINTSHA INK MULTI-MILLION REALITY SHOW DEAL WITH SHOWMAX 

The show would have included the pair’s journey to marital bliss. But with the current level 3 restrictions on social gatherings, filming the wedding has proven to be logistically unworkable. In addition to friends and family taking up most of the guest list, the filmed affair would have also had to factor in production crew, high profile guests and possibly, media. These lockdown limits affect both the couple’s traditional and white weddings.

Babes and Mampintsha are reported to have inked a R3 million deal for a 13-part reality series with Showmax.

There’s no word yet on when negotiations around filming will resume, but Showmax has filled the current gap with the premiere season of the Real Housewives of Durban.

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