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BROADCAST, FILM, TV, COMMERCIALS, NEW MEDIA & TECHNOLOGY NEWS

WWW.SCREENAFRICA.COM

VOL 28 – NOV – DEC 2016 R38.00


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| IN THIS ISSUE

14 An AfricAn experience virtuAlly As smooth As AmArulA

28

36 virtuAl reAlity: storytelling’s new frontier

33

disney enchAnts with ugAndAn biopic

35

elephAnt impAsse

let the Adventure begin… on your couch

News

tecHNoLoGY News

stUdIos – adVertorIaL

Nu Metro’s first ever luxury

Grass Valley Karrera K-Frame

SkyRink Studios –

War and love, salt and sugar ................. 30 South African Music and

Scene VIP cineplex launches in JHB ........5 A micro-budget seeking

S-Series switchers .................................... 12 Imagine Communications

the ice has melted ................................... 20

Film: Brothers-In-Arms ........................... 32

a big audience ..............................................6 South African animation

IOX storage ............................................... 12

stUdIos

docUMeNtarY

SkyRink Studios – from pipe

Elephant impasse ...................................... 33

up for BAFTA...............................................8 Project submissions for

RED EPIC-W and Weapon 8K S35 ..... 13

DFM 2017 now open .................................8 Sunrise Productions announce new global TV distribution partnership with Aardman ........................8

The Suit wins at Shnit 2016 .....................8 ShowMax launches in Kenya ....................8 The Africa Channel launches TAC Studios.................................8

Broadcast tecHNoLoGY Harambe post-IBC road show.............. 10

Lilliput releases six new monitors ....... 12 Blackmagic Design acquires Fairlight ... 13

adcetera An African experience virtually as smooth as Amarula ............. 14 A smart app is painting the town red ............................................. 15 First 4DX campaign flights in Joburg... 15 Could this one day be all we have left of the rhino? ...................... 16 Khuli Chana’s One Source music video is a uniquely

dream to solid reality.............................. 20 Concilium Technologies provides

FestIVaLs & MarKets

turnkey solution for SkyRink ................ 22 MMPA designs SkyRink’s

Joburg Film Festival launches................. 34 Let the adventure begin…

studio requirements ................................ 22 Movievivion illuminates

on your couch .......................................... 35

SkyRink Studios ........................................ 26

VIrtUaL reaLItY

FILM

storytelling’s new frontier ............ 36 –38

Director Speak: PHI aka Jonathan

Virtual reality to the masses ..... 39 – 40

Parkinson and Nicole Ackermann ........ 27 Disney enchants with Ugandan biopic ......................................... 28

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reGULars Production Updates .................... 41 – 43 Events.......................................................... 43

pan-African collaboration....................... 17

www.ScrEENafrIca.com

Virtual reality:

Social ........................................................... 44

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From the editor I’ll admit to being a bit of a cinema purist (except in my use of the word cinema, which I here apply in a wider sense to all good examples of the motion picture medium, whether distributed via theatre, television or VOD platform). The medium speaks for itself and is as near to a perfect one as we are likely to get. Yet widespread efforts are being made to try and ‘improve’ it. This issue includes coverage of both virtual reality (VR) and 4DX cinema, both attempts to make visual storytelling more immersive, and both of which can sometimes go in the opposite direction, causing an audience to disengage from what can turn out to be a gimmicky experience. Now before you label me a Luddite, let me assure you that I have no problem with immersive experience or with the new technologies now making such rapid inroads into our industry. I have had a number of VR experiences that have been absolutely breathtaking. I haven’t tried 4DX yet but, having been in cinemas where the guy behind me insists on kicking the back of my chair every so often, I find it hard to believe that a jittering seat will draw me further into the world of the story. Again I am not putting it down completely. The question is: when does a technology shift from a gimmick to a tasteful, well-motivated storytelling technique that truly enhances the audience experience? Let us not forget that cinema itself was once nothing more than a gimmick, but the party tricks of the Lumiere brothers and George Méliès eventually evolved into the sophisticated visual poetry (and prose) of Eisenstein, Chaplin, Bergman, Tarkovsky and Kubrick – even Spielberg for that matter. 3D was once nothing but a cheap tactic to make B-movies more sellable; now top filmmakers are making careful and considered use of it to genuinely augment their style and content. There is no reason why the same cannot happen with the new, emerging technologies. Having said that, I am of the opinion that there will always be a place for a simple, well-composed image on a flat screen, with no enhancements, just a straightforward and powerful capturing of the human experience. But then, as is pointed out in one of our articles on VR (page 36) I’m probably missing the point. The technology is unlikely to replace cinema but is more likely to become a major player in the worlds of gaming, marketing and training. Purists like me can probably rest assured that their beloved art form will be safe from the oncoming future, and will still be able to immerse themselves in the new media, while still appreciating pure cinema. On a different note, Johannesburg saw the opening of a brand new studio complex in October. SkyRink Studios, in the space where the old Carlton SkyRink used to be, is set to be fully operational in January 2017. As someone who understands the demand for production facilities in Johannesburg, and who has a strange, romantic feeling for the CBD, I could not be happier to see the emergence of this new facility. With this issue, 2016 comes to a close for Screen Africa. We would like to wish all our readers a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year. – Warren Holden

SCREENAFRICA Publisher & Managing editor: Simon Robinson: publisher@screenafrica.com editor: Warren Holden: editor@screenafrica.com Journalists: Chanelle Ellaya: news@screenafrica.com Cera-Jane Catton: cera@screenafrica.com Greg Bester: greg@suncirclegroup.co.za

sub-editor: Tina Heron design: Trevor Ou Tim: design@sun-circle.co.za Website & Production uPdates: Carina Vermooten: web@sun-circle.co.za subscriPtions: Tina Tserere: tina@sun-circle.co.za Delight Ngwenya: admin@sun-circle.co.za accounts: Helen Loots: accounts@sun-circle.co.za advertiseMent sales: Marianne Schafer: marianne@screenafrica.com Graham Grier: graham@sun-circle.co.za

the team Editor warren holden is a writer and journalist whose lifelong love of film and television prompted him to study for his BA in Motion Picture Medium at AFDA Johannesburg, specialising in writing and directing. After graduating, he worked for three years in the television industry before following his aptitude for writing into the world of publishing. He then worked for five years as assistant editor on the arts and culture publication Classicfeel, before taking the helm of Screen Africa, where his experiences in the separate streams of motion picture and publishing have finally come together. In addition to his work on Screen Africa, he is also hard at work developing stories for film and television and studying for a second degree in economics and African politics.

JoUrNALiStS cera-Jane catton is a writer and journalist with years of experience in community newspapers, blogging and freelance journalism. She has migrated to Jozi from Durban to join the team at Screen Africa in the hope of sampling lots of free popcorn. Cera has worked in a cache of capacities, often finding herself behind or in front of the cameras, intentionally and less so. She has been a stunt double in two Bollywood movies, has worked in various capacities on a number of natural history documentaries, and other international productions shot in South Africa. She studied journalism and photography and is always eager to learn something new. She speaks up for the voiceless, is a dedicated movie lover and a wannabe doccie maker.

chanelle ellaya is a writer and a journalist. She completed her BA Journalism degree at the University of Johannesburg in 2011. While writing is her passion, she has a keen interest in the media in various capacities: In 2012 she co-presented the entertainment and lifestyle show Top Entertainment on TopTV and later that year she was handpicked as part of a panel of five dynamic young Africans to interview Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on a youth focused television show called MTV Meets. Chanelle is an avid social networker and a firm believer in the power of social and online networking. Between writing and tweeting, she finds time to feed her love for live music.

greg bester, with 16 years in the audio industry and a penchant for the technology of things, has funnelled his accumulative experience into writing since 2007. An audio engineer by trade, he has worked in many areas of production such as live sound, music, post-production, location recording and film audio and his work has garnered several award nominations.

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editorial disclaimer The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Screen Africa or any employee thereof. Sun Circle Publishers makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Sun Circle Publishers reserves the right to delete, edit, or alter in any manner it sees fit comments that it, in its sole discretion, deems to be obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, in violation of trademark, copyright or other laws, or is otherwise unacceptable. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publisher.


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Nu metro’s first ever luxury Scene VIP cineplex launches in JHB On 29 September 2016, Africa’s third – and Gauteng’s first – 4DX cinema opened its doors to cinemagoers for a revolutionary cinematic experience that engages all five senses. Along with being the newest 4DX cinema on Nu Metro’s roll out, the Hyde Park cineplex has been completely revamped to give film fanatics a VIP experience like no other. In addition to the implementation of the 4DX technology – which Screen Africa reported on earlier this year – the Hyde Park cinemas have been upgraded to premium Scene VIP status, equipped with a top class á la carte food menu, luxury lounging areas, fully-fledged bars, personalised service, reclining seats and more. Nu Metro announced that the aim of the upgrade is to attract cinemagoers “who enjoy their movie outings on a superior level of quality.” “The extensive upgrade and renovation process has now been completed at our Hyde Park cineplex.

PrEMiUM ViP StAtUS: Nu Metro’s Hyde Park cineplex This much-anticipated overhaul will bring the cinemas at this prestigious Johannesburg location in line with our top-end premium offering at the acclaimed, upper-class Hyde Park Corner shopping centre,” explains Nu Metro Cinemas GM, Nitesh Matai. “Apart from adding multiple Scene VIP cinemas and lounges all equipment has been upgraded to the latest world-class sound, projection and screen technology. Luxurious recliner seating, newly styled interior décor, carpeted flooring and refreshed space design also form part of the plans for Nu Metro Hyde Park. The cinemas and lounges will be licensed, along with a la carte food menus and all the other premium Scene VIP offerings. And now 4DX has also been added to the mix.” On 28 September, Nu Metro held a private VIP screening for media and celebrity guests. Guests enjoyed an array

of lavish complimentary food and beverages and were then treated to a 4DX screening of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – which at the time had not yet been released. For those unfamiliar with 4DX, the technology first arrived in South Africa last year when Nu Metro laid out Africa’s first ever 4DX cinema at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Thereafter the cinema giant installed the fully immersive movie experience at The Pavilion in Durban. 4DX encompasses on-screen 3D visuals, along with Dolby 7.1 surround sound, and in an attempt to fully submerge the moviegoer into an immersive sensory experience, watching a film in 4DX includes wind, water, smells, moving seats, lightning effects and more. Matai says that as Nu Metro Hyde Park is the first ever all-luxury Scene VIP Cineplex, it has been pleasing to see that customers are enjoying the flagship cinema: “The response has been

incredible. The loyal Hyde Park patrons have embraced our newly revamped cinemas completely but more importantly, what we are seeing is a whole new group of people that are now coming to the cinema that had either not been to Hyde Park specifically, or were not usual movie attendees. The numbers have exceeded all our projections across all key metrics.” Screen Africa attended the VIP 4DX screening at Nu Metro’s Hyde Park cineplex, and now that I have experienced it firsthand I can say that while the experience is certainly revolutionary it also runs the risk of being a gimmick. A true cinema lover, while being able to appreciate the immersive nature, will find that the effects are undeniably a distraction from the actual film. Kids however will be hooked. – Chanelle Ellaya

re-loaded www.bladeworks.co.za november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 5


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a micro-budget seeking a big audience Local filmmakers too often face a stalemate when it comes to the funding of their films, yet this hasn’t deterred a great number of films, but are these films being noticed, are they capable of competing in a billion dollar industry? Director Mlingane Dube has faced a similar fate, and with nearly no funds his short Zulu film, iMbali KaBaba is currently in post-production. Inspired by a web article on the Screen Africa website about “Using short films to build brand and audience,” and he is challenging the A GAME oF BLESSiNGS ANd CUrSES: Poster for the industry in an attempt to do that. short film iMbali KaBaba The short was made with Artistry Media, Red Fox Pictures and as our quest is to use this film to build a Crimson Fire. brand and an audience.” Filming on the scenic KwaZulu-Natal iMbali KaBaba is the story of Mbali, a North coast, producing a film more on teenage girl from Tugela Mouth, KZN, favours than budget, and sourcing talent where the film was shot. She longs for from the UKZN drama department, Dube what she deems a perfect family. Dube, says: “It really has been a game of of Artistry Media says “This film is driven blessings and curses.” He adds that “the by the theme of strong women, black hard part is that it’s far from over. Being females all over rural South Africa that newcomers to the game of film-making as have been tried and tested by a variety of a business, marketing and distribution is challenges in which they come out proving to be a back-breaking challenge victorious more often than not. The story

6 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

is an important one, an inspirational one that will educate people to challenge societal norms. It’s a theme that South Africa is familiar with yet is still hungry for.” Producer Stephen Wiggill of Red Fox Pictures says that “as usual there was no budget, so we tried to get it done as cheaply as possible.” No crew were paid and all the gear was sponsored by Red Fox Pictures. “So that leaves food and fuel and incidental production costs. These costs were paid by the executive producers and came to the estimated figure of R5 000 with the idea of getting students of film to make their own films and tell their own stories and ultimately help them to get funding in the future.” The short was filmed using a Panasonic GH4 and a Ronin M Gimbal. Dube says they filmed for three days after a day of rehearsals, because with the scarce resources they needed to move fast. Wiggill says “The usual filming challenges always abound but one thing that can be improved for us is logistics, I think everyone involved should be completely independent no matter where your locations are. Indie is not for divas. I think there are a number of potentially good film people out there that are

willing to support themselves during the production and bring something to the shoot. These are the people that we look for, those who relieve us of some of the challenges. Maybe that’s why it’s called Independent Filmmaking. Having said that I think the real challenge on any (indie) film is getting people to say yes and then commit and deliver knowing that the only reward is the film itself. So if you wanna get into film, say yes and start adding value.” The score was composed by Free State musician, John Mofokeng, who played every song in the film. “This is only his second project where he’s worked as a film composer and I think it’s safe to say the bug has bitten,” adds Dube. Editing is being done using Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve and Photoshop. Dube wants this film to reach the people that it’s about, “a film for not your average movie goer to finally see their image and life portrayed on screen.” It will be entered into local film festivals, and Dube has approached Kasi Movie Nights to help them take the film to community halls and schools in remote KZN. “We’ve had an informal chat with the KZN film commission about funding the community screenings and they expressed interest.” They hope to take the film on a tour starting in KZN as of early 2017. – Cera-Jane Catton


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| South african animation up for BafTa

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www.ScrEENafrIca.com Stick Man, Triggerfish Animation Studios’ collaboration with Oscar-nominated UK production company Magic Light Pictures, is one of four nominees for Best Animation at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Children’s Awards. Directed by London-based Jeroen Jaspaert and co-directed by South African Daniel Snaddon, Stick Man is up against Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball, Aardman Animations’ Shaun The Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, and Disney’s Counterfeit Cat. Animated in Cape Town, Stick Man is an adaptation of 2015’s number one bestselling backlist picture book, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo). The BAFTA nomination is just the latest accolade for the 26-minute short film, which has won seven international awards on three continents so far, including the Cristal for a TV Production at the world’s leading animation festival, Annecy.

The Suit wins at Shnit 2016 Shnit International Short Film Festival in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation and AFDA is a wrap and the Audience Award went to The Suit. Director of The Suit Jarryd Coetsee said: “We are thrilled and delighted by the great honour of winning the Audience Award. Telling stories is a two-way street between the story-teller and the reader, listener or viewer. My primary motivation for telling stories through the magical medium of film has always been to arrive at a true and purest expression of the human condition through a mutual experience with the audience because we all have a vested interest in gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves. The Audience Award is confirmation that The Suit has connected to some degree in this way with the audience and

Project submissions for Dfm 2017 Showmax launches in now open Kenya

Submissions of projects for the 8th edition of The Durban FilmMart (DFM), which takes place in Durban, South Africa from 14 to 17 July 2017 opened on 12 October 2016. DFM, which takes place over four days during the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), is a significant global player in providing a springboard for filmmakers with projects in conceptual stages in the African film industry. Ten documentary and ten fiction feature length film projects will be selected from the submissions, and these projects will undergo a two-day packaging and mentoring programme followed by two days of one-on-one meetings with a panel of film financiers, buyers and distributors from across the globe.

Sunrise Productions announce new global TV distribution partnership with aardman Sunrise Productions recently announced a new global TV distribution partnership between their Cape Town-based studio and the Aardman Rights and Brand Development division. Aardman will represent Sunrise’s brand new animated series Munki and Trunk. Phil Cunningham, founder at Sunrise 8 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

DFM is open to full length feature and documentary films projects with Africans in the major creative roles that are looking for co-producers, financiers, sales agents and funders. All film projects submitted are reviewed by a selection committee for consideration. All projects must have both a producer and director attached to them, and must be submitted by 12 December 2016. For more information, project submission criteria and how to submit your project, visit the DFM website (www.durbanfilmmart.com.

TV viewing habits are changing with more than 100 million people worldwide subscribing to internet TV services. Usage levels in Kenya, however, have been low. ShowMax, in conjunction with Safaricom, want to change this with the launch of a new mobile video concept that directly addresses the needs of Kenyan customers. ShowMax has launched a two-tier service for watching TV shows and movies via the internet. This is a first-of-its-kind video concept that directly addresses the needs of Kenyan internet

for that I am grateful.” Shnit International Shortfilmfestival is a premier venue for the exhibition and celebration of short films. The festival unfolds simultaneously in multiple cities on five continents, bringing together more than 30 000 filmmakers and film lovers in ways rarely experienced elsewhere on the festival circuit. Over its 12 days, shnit celebrates more than 200 short films of all genres and styles and gives away US$100 000 in cash prizes.

TV consumers. ShowMax Premium, priced at KSh 880 per month, has a full range of international and local content. ShowMax Select, priced at KSh 330 per month is a mobile-first, data optimised product that offers reduced data consumption with savings of up to 75 per cent, has a specific focus on local content, and is paid for using M-PESA. Kenya is the first country to have this second tier added to ShowMax. Both tiers allow subscribers to either stream content or to download up to 25 shows to watch offline. Downloaded content is valid for 30 days. Data usage is charged separately and works with a customer’s existing data bundles. Subscribers can choose from a number of different download video quality levels. Using the most data-efficient setting, downloading a 20-minute TV show will use approximately 80 MB. This means that a 7.5 GB data bundle would be enough for more than 90 episodes.

The africa channel launches Tac Studios

Phil Cunningham, founder at Sunrise Productions Productions said: “We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious studio such as Aardman. We have ambitious plans for Munki and Trunk building off the TV series including a series of feature films, physical attractions and an exciting licensing and partnership strategy. We know that the team at Aardman is the perfect distribution partners for our TV series and this is a vital part of building the brand globally.”

The Africa Channel (TAC) officially launched TAC Studios, a production arm of the cable channel, at DISCOP 2016 in Johannesburg which took place 2 to 4 November. TAC Studios’ focus will Shanty Chic formalise and build on the network’s existing production initiatives by developing, producing and distributing premium lifestyle content reflecting Africa’s influence on the world. It will collaborate with producers from Africa and around the globe to bring contemporary stories, authentic voices and high quality productions to audiences worldwide. The preliminary focus of TAC Studios will be on lifestyle content including travel, food, health/beauty, music and reality/factual. The studio also has plans to put into

development several scripted projects. In addition to developing and producing shows, TAC Studios will also distribute TAC’s existing library of more than 300 hours of premium lifestyle HD content. Leading up to the launch of TAC Studios, TAC closed licensing deals in recent months with M-NET, BET Africa, Australia’s SBS TV and several airlines including South African Airways and Kenya Airways.


BroaDcaST TEcHNology

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Harambe post-IBc road show harambe technologies, based in Rivonia, Johannesburg, held a post-IBC road show at their offices on 13 and 14 October to keep their customers abreast of the latest products and technologies presented by three of their partners, Ikegami, Evertz and Avid, at ibc 2016.

Evertz EXE video service routing platform

10 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

iP trANSPort: ikegami UHK-430 camera

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ne of main themes at IBC 2016, and by extension at the event, was IP transport in video. Both Ikegami and Evertz laid a heavy emphasis on the emerging products and protocols in that domain and showcased solutions from both brands that make use of the technology. Another important aspect of IBC was 4K, a point of significance for Ikegami, who revealed a new 4K camera and associated accessories. Avid, on the other hand, was there to showcase the latest versions of their real-time Linux-based graphics rendering, slow-motion editing and replay, and sports telestration platforms. First up at the presentation was Ikegami general manager Chris Hill. Ikegami is known for their extremely high quality broadcast cameras and Hill made a concerted effort to allay cost concerns by first presenting a few of their more affordable camera options that might work well in the South African Market. Additionally, the cameras presented all fell into a specific niche that suited varying shooting conditions such as the satellite broadcasting-aimed HC-HD300, incorporating a newly-developed 1/3” 2.5 megapixel 3CMOS sensor; the HDK5500, a 1080i camera aimed at low-light conditions; and the 1000fps Hi Motion II, a NAC/Ikegami collaboration. Two flagship products were then revealed: the HDK-97A 16-bit fully digital 3G HDTV camera featuring the Unicam HD system and the UHK-430 next generation Utra HD (4K) studio camera system featuring Unicam XE. Both feature Ikegami’s latest fifth generation AXII high speed video processor and the respective variants of the Unicam system. The Unicam system variants essentially split the cameras into

two parts, enabling the user to dock to optional assemblies such as to a fibre output or high frame unit, depending on the requirements of the studio. This results in a highly flexible system that negates upgrading the entire camera, should needs change. The UHK-430 also boasts a built-in 40Gbps optical transceiver (fibre), which enables transmission of full-bandwidth 4K video between the camera and the CCU-430, which features optional IP connectivity expansion for IP-based facilities. Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Evertz product manager Harjinder Sandhu was the next presenter, focussing on IP-based video, audio and data transport, centred on their new EXE-series of switch fabrics and managed by their Magnum unified control system. Evertz has been a pioneer in the field of IP-based video transport products and their chosen protocol, ASPEN, leverages MPEG2-TS standards to encapsulate uncompressed UHD/3G/HD/SD over MPEG-2 streams on scalable IP networks. The EXE and SDVN is one such network core offered by Evertz that can accommodate up to 13,800 uncompressed HD-SDI signals using SMPTE-2022-6. When compression is utilised, the number of video streams can reach the millions. The advantage of an IP-based transport system, besides speed and efficiency, is that it eventually negates the need for peripheral devices such as signal splitters as this kind of function can ultimately be handled in the IP-domain. Even more interesting, Evertz’s new FPGA-driven evEDGE “software defined compute and routing platform,” set to be introduced at NAB 2016, is a compute blade system that incorporates a virtualised environment via

FPGA chips that can be programmed on the fly. This means that a customer can choose a certain topology to meet their needs, offering such function as IP media gateways, multi-viewing and video/audio conversion and processing. The final presentation of the day was given by media giant Avid. East and southern Africa sales representative Thomas Lebreton initiated the talk, introducing Avid, while graphics products specialist EMEA Benjamin Landrot presented the products themselves. Avid acquired Orad Hi-Tec systems mid-2015, rounding out their offering in the 3D real-time graphics, video server and related workflow offerings so some of the Avid-updated products inherited from this merger were the focus. The HDVG 4 rendering platform paired with their Maestro on-air graphics solution was the first to be presented, followed by the Playmaker slow-motion and media highlights editing server and companion controller. The Spark telestration software and hardware solution was next, which is an extremely easy-to-use system that features quick and easy drag and drop telestration functions along with the ease of touch-screen compatibility. From the post-IBC presentations at Harambe by the various guests it is clear where the industry is heading: firmly towards 4K and IP-based transport. Harambe’s partner representatives, particularly Ikegami’s Hill and Evertz’s Sandhu, drove these two points home without apology. As always, however, technologies such as these are slow to be adopted despite their superiority so IBC 2017 may give us a better idea of whether the next progress tier has been reached. – Greg Bester


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Imagine communications IoX storage

grass Valley Karrera K-frame S-Series switchers Grass Valley’s K-Frame S-series combines mid-range switcher performance with multiformat support including 1080p and 4K UHD. These are offered as two system packages with either three M/Es or two M/Es. Features include: • 32 standard inputs, up to 80 maximum • 16 standard inputs, up to 48 maximum • Up to six M/Es • Up to eight floating DPMs, accessed as either iDPM or eDPM • Four full-function keyers in every M/E with standard keying modes, including chromakey • 2D DPMS (resizers on every keyer) • Future-ready with multiformat support, including 1080p and 4K • Smart I/O modules for up/down/crossconversion • DoubleTake split M/E mode effectively doubles the number of M/Es • Built-in image store for storing up to 3000 stills of 50 seconds of 1080p video to 10 video+key pair outputs • Integrated external ClipStore provides multiple channels of video+key pairs for up to 10+ hours of non-volatile video/key/ audio clip storage • Built-in dual output multiviewer with five pre-configured layouts • Interfaces with Grass Valley routers and external Kaleido multiviewers, as well as their control systems Grass Valley products and solutions are distributed in South Africa by Protea Electronics

Avid Maestro Universal controller for video and graphics

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Imagine Communications has introduced the IOX Storage all-purpose shared storage solution optimised for the Versio playout and automation and Telurio Over-the-Top and cloud DVR solutions. The storage solution delivers multiple capabilities and benefits: • Flexible capacity and bandwidth – Capable of scaling to 5 petabytes of usable storage and 48 gigabits-per-second bandwidth, Versio IOX Storage enables the seamless scaling of storage and bandwidth as business needs grow, without disrupting existing media operations or interrupting on-air operations. • High availability – Versio IOX Storage uses RAID-601 to protect against drive, controller and storage chassis failures to enable continuous broadcast operations, with no performance degradation even in the event of multiple, simultaneous failures. • Facilitates collaboration – A true shared-storage access solution and single repository for content from ingest, production and playout operations, Versio IOX Storage eliminates file copying procedures to provide a fast-turnaround editorial environment and a shorter time to air for media companies struggling to keep pace with escalating consumer demand. • Reduces capital expenditures – Versio IOX Storage is an economically attractive entry-level storage solution that works with existing solutions and supports a pay-as-you-go expansion model. • Easy to manage – The new Imagine Communications storage solution allows unattended drive failover and rebuilds, supports remote monitoring and diagnostics and features an information-rich, web-based graphical user interface. Imagine Communications products and solutions are distributed in South Africa by Concilium Technologies.

lilliput releases six new monitors Macro Video Pty Ltd, distributors of Lilliput monitors in southern Africa, are pleased to announce that Lilliput Corporation recently released 6 new monitors. All of them have full HD panels. According to Eric Wiese from Macro Video, the Lilliput Q5 ( 5’’) and Q7 ( 7’’) are Full HD resolution 1920x1200 ‘’On Camera’’ monitors with 3G-SDI in and out and HDMI in and out. Both monitors are Type E+ as they also cross convert from HDMI to SDI and HDMI to SDI. Wiese notes that the Q5 and Q7 also each feature an integrated column YRGB , time code, waveform, vector scope & audio level meter. The Lilliput A10 is a new light weight 10’’ panel with up to 3840 x 2160 (4K) Ultra-HD native resolution and has 2x HDMI, 3G-SDI in and out, DVI and VGA inputs. Wiese points out that the Lilliput BM range of Broadcast field monitors are designed for professional film makers and studios with panels up to 4K (3840*2160) Ultra-HD native resolution. The new models are BM150-4K , BM230-4K and BM280-4K being 15’’, 23’’ and 28’’ respectively. Designed for portability, they are mounted in aluminium carry cases, ideal for video review on the go ! These three monitors have superior image quality and colour definition at a very affordable price and come with 3G-SDI input and output, four HDMI inputs capable of Quad view, audio inputs, DVI input, VGA input while Tally input Power supply is via a Sony V lock battery plate and 220V. All three BM models share the same features and specifications. Only the panel size differs. Macro Video provide backup, service and support on Lilliput monitors imported by them. For more information and detail specs on the new range of HD monitors and other Lilliput models, see Macro Video’s website www.macrovideo.co.za.


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rED EPIc-w and weapon 8K S35 The EPIC-WThe Weapon 8K S35 In October 2016, RED started shipping two new cameras: the EPIC-W and the Weapon 8K S35. These two cameras are the first to come standard with the Helium 8K CMOS, offering operatoirs the opportunity to upgrade to 8K shooting. The major difference between the two cameras is frame rates. The EPIC-W is capable of 2.40x1 at up to 30fps, while the Weapon 8K S35 can shoot at 2.40x1 up to 75fps. The jump to 8K is not something that many RED owners will see as a major selling point at the present moment. The Dragon 6K is more than sufficient when downscaling for a 4K DCP. If HD delivery is still on the cards, 8K will enable expanded flexibility, allowing for more cropping and zooming in post while still retaining crisp detail. The 8K sensor may also be very useful in lowlight conditions, producing sharper images under those conditions, with far better colour rendering abilities.

Blackmagic Design acquires fairlight Blackmagic Design recently announced its acquisition of Fairlight, which creates professional digital audio products for live broadcast event production, film and television post production, as well as immersive 3D audio mixing and finishing. Fairlight designs and manufactures integrated audio control surfaces and software that are renowned for their speed, flexibility and exceptional sonic quality. Fairlight Live products feature consoles that are designed for the most demanding on-air and live productions, giving customers leading edge audio processing and control surfaces that range from 12 to 60 faders, along with audio I/O interfaces with full redundancy for mission critical work in broadcast facilities, outside broadcast trucks, performing arts venues and houses of worship. For post production solutions, Fairlight creates everything from compact desktop audio post systems to large format mixing consoles with dedicated controls. Fairlight audio engines can deliver up to 1000 tracks which lets customers create complex productions without premixing, along with a massive 64 channels of monitoring Fairlight’s editing software and fully featured audio post consoles give customers complete tactile control along with unique features like time compression and expansion that allows audio within a single clip to be precisely aligned to picture. Designed for the film and television post production markets, Fairlight also creates immersive 3D audio workstations so customers can deliver 3D sound in formats such as 5.1, DTS MDA, Dolby Atmos, NHK’s 22.2, among others. Fairlight’s 3D audio workstations are large format mixers with complete support for both 2K and 4K video playback.

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an african experience virtually as smooth as amarula Distell’s Amarula have created a 360 degree virtual reality (VR) safari through Africa that explores the continent’s incredible beauty in their latest commercial. With VR making waves in the industry, the brand’s Global Marketing Manager, Mncedisi Junior Jekwa says: “Africa has always been rooted in the brand’s DNA. This exciting technology allows us to bring the Amarula story to life in a more visceral manner.”

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s Amarula reinforces its motto, Made From Africa, VR presented an opportunity to bring to life the African continent when viewed from anywhere in the world. FCB Cape Town executive creative director, Mike Barnwell, says VR was chosen as the medium ahead of traditional channels as it was the perfect fit and vehicle for such an immersive experience. “The technology itself was the creative treatment,” Barnwell adds. The commercial flows like a holiday experience with a 360 degree view of Africa, flowing over the marula trees in the wild, to the maturation houses and eventual pouring over ice experience. “Through the technology, Amarula is able to transport consumers to the African veld and immerse them in an experience that brings the Amarula brand story to life. From the vast plains of the African savannah, to the watering holes where graceful elephants gather – the technology allows the consumer an opportunity not just to see the Made From Africa story, but to feel it and

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Virtual reality still from the Amarula commercial

understand it in a very real and inspiring way,” says Dylan Davies, senior art director. The scenes were filmed in the Waterberg and Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa as well as in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. “It was our intent to fully immerse and inspire the viewer with the colour, atmosphere, energy and majesty of Africa. True to Amarula brand values of being real and authentic, great effort was made to capture the scenes as they are in nature – unlit and undoctored,” explains Davies. “From the elephants at their morning watering hole to the quietness of the Baines’s Baobabs on the Nxai Pan – each scene was crafted true to its surrounding and its part in an authentic story.” Deep VR designed and manufactured the specific housing rig used for the VR experience. In total, the rig comprised 14 GoPro 4K cameras. “We designed a stereoscopic 360 camera rig based on human anatomy,” says Ulrico GrechCumbo, managing director at Deep VR. “We revised the design four times, reviewing the quality of depth we were achieving, until we got to the design which we used on the Amarula project,” he adds. Explaining his choice of camera he advises that GoPros are highly modifiable, and gave the highest quality-to-size ratio possible at the time of design. Little to almost no supplementary lighting was used throughout the scenes, only natural lighting was used. GrechCumbo says this involved timing each shot so as to achieve the perfect lighting conditions for the lens and for the camera. “We used special 195 degree wide-angle lenses,” he says.

Editing was done using a combination of APV, FCPX, PhotoShop, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and Nuke for the video production and Logic Pro for the Audio. These all included specialised plugins and effects to work with 360° VR specifically. The ad was shot for 10 days in two different countries and had 11 scenes, across five locations. “Embracing a new and unfamiliar technology is both unnerving and exciting,” explains Davies. “Over time we have become accustomed to viewing images in 2D. VR records in full 360 degrees so thinking in 360 was a new challenge in both how you need to think about a scene and how you go about recording it.” Davies explains that stepping out of the traditional film production approach in favour of a looser, more nimble production model afforded them the opportunity to setup the camera and record scenes that would otherwise never have been possible to film on such a tight production schedule. “16 hours on a dirt road for a single shot. We do truly love what we do,” adds Davies. “What’s interesting about filming in VR is the fact that scenes have to play out like theatre,” explains Grech-Cumbo. “There are no cuts, breaks, framed shots and splicing. A re-take means a complete retake of the scene from the beginning. This proved especially difficult with elephants, which feature in two scenes.” Grech-Cumbo says that further technical challenges included postproduction stabilising as the footage is in a full sphere. “What made it challenging is that a 360 video is moving relative to a canoe in complex ways, which itself is moving relative to the water in complex ways,” he says. “One of the other

technical things is that, because the camera is sort of like the all-seeing eye of Sauron, the tripod is visible. So it had to be painted out in every shot.” Grech-Cumbo explains the challenges of stitching. “Each camera picks up a certain angle, which has to be mated to an adjacent camera. Due to unavoidable lens distortion on each camera, when these areas join up you often experience what’s known as a parallax issue – where subject matter appears to distort, disappear or ghost when passing a stitch line. The process of fine stitching is a true art in itself, which minimises or eliminates this effect.” The three minutes 45 seconds, 3D, 360-degree experience will be rolled out using Samsung Gear VR headsets and Oculus Rift units around the world in travel retail, focusing on duty free shops in major airports. – Cera-Jane Catton

Key companies and crew: creative agency: FCB Cape Town executive creative director: Mike Barnwell creative director fcb: Aaron Harris group head and senior Art director: Dylan Davies radio and tv producer: Ashleigh Jarratt group Account director: Stephanie Binns virtual reality agency: Deep VR ceo: Ulrico Grech-Cumbo director of photography: Telmo dos Reis Audio specialist: Samukelo Mahlalela


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a smart app is painting the town red South Africa, brace yourselves for an app that could finally see that illegal dumping site outside your house cleaned up. Smart Citizen is the brainchild of Intervate, a South African software development company who have devised a tool that allows city officials and the public to interact in a meaningful way. Craig Heckrath, head of Products at Intervate explains the app, and the making of its teaser trailer. “I love my city, but I dream of making it better,” says voice over artist Thuli Mdletshe in the online video. “I dream of a city that’s interconnected, a city that talks to me about things that affect my block, my street, my home. I dream of a city that senses and fixes problems, a city without bureaucracy but rather accountability. A city that cares about my time and saves me money. I love my city, and I’m going to make it better.” This is the premise behind Smart Citizen, which enables bi-directional engagement between city service providers and citizens. “Smart Citizen

Still from the Smart Citizen App teaser video

uses the singular most ubiquitous piece of technology that most citizens have – a smart phone, to connect people with their city and the city to its people to help improve the environment, service levels and customer satisfaction,” explains Heckrath. Intervate kept most of the making of the video internally. On the one hand, this was a result of budget and time constraints but also because the team had a clear vision, which is eloquently expressed in the ad’s voiceover, as spoken by Mdletshe and written by Heckrath. All video editing and animation was done by Rozanne Day, UX Designer

at Intervate. Day and Heckrath conceptualised the ad with storyboard and copy.Flash Forward Productions was responsible for the shooting of the Smart Citizen App teaser trailer. “The client opted to go for our budget option,” explains Ryan Peimer, director and producer at Flash Forward. “Therefore we used a Sony NX5 HD Camera Kit as they were putting most of their time and money into post production which they were doing in house. Hence, as a SAMA award winning director, I decided to shoot and direct it myself with the limitations at hand, in order to get the highest possible production value out of

a minuscule budget.” The exceptions were the city skyline shots, which are stock footage and the field agent scene that was shot by Heckrath and Day. In this scene, the actor, Xolani, is an Intervate programmer. Developing an app to connect the city with its dwellers is work Intervate knows well, creating a commercial is something new. “Making the video was a challenge,” says Heckrath. “We have never made a video like that, internally from storyboard to completion.” They drew on internal expertise of Day’s design, Heckrath’s experience with sound editing and Marc Fletcher’s marketing intuition. The ad was shot in Sandton and Midrand on 9 September 2016. The music was purchased and edited to pulse with the video. The audio was recorded using Logix ProX with the Izotope Alloy (EQ and Compression) and Perception 120 condenser microphone. It was then edited in Adobe Illustrator, aftereffects and Premier Pro. It was aired on YouTube on 7 October and is available on the Smart Citizen website. The app is being rolled out city by city, with Joburg and Eskom currently in progress. The first city app will be available for the public in early 2017. Intervate is currently creating a subtitled version, which will be shown in airports across South Africa. – Cera-Jane Catton

first 4DX campaign flights in Joburg Whether 4DX is the future of cinema is up for debate, but for now it has arrived and is shaking things up. The first commercial to air in this format was for the new Jaguar F-TYPE SVR vehicle. The ad screened across South Africa as the first 4DX campaign, accompanying the launch of Nu Metro’s 4DX cinemas at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, The Pavilion in Durban and at the opening of the first 4DX cinema at Hyde Park in Johannesburg at the end of September. 4DX is the extreme of sensory stimulation using motion, vibration, water, wind, lightning, scents, and gimmicks to accompany the movie experience. No longer leaving cinema as a feast for the eyes you will be able to smell the coffee and feel the chase. Nu Metro’s head of technical, Johan van Staden, was trained in Seoul, the home of CJ 4Dplex, the company that holds the rights to 4DX internationally. Van Staden was certified to manage the installation of 4DX technology locally. The content screened in 4DX is projected in HD (2D and Digital 3D) on a silver curved wall-to-wall screen. Its audio system has been upgraded to a Dolby CP750 with 7.1 full surround sound. The Barco projector used in the cinema also uses an upgraded lamp for brighter picture in both 2D and 3D. “We had to install a complete new steel floor structure in the 4DX cinema to

Still from the Jaguar 4dX commercial

be able to handle the 0.3G-force the unit moves with, as well as water, air and scent lines. The complete system uses 24 computers (one in each of the 21 seats, motion PC, monitor PC and screen server). The force utilises Servo motors and transducers, and not hydraulics, making the movement much smoother and more active.” explains van Staden. Popcorn Cinema Advertising offers brands the opportunity to add the 4DX dimension to their campaigns in cinemas. Justin Inglis, national sales manager for Cinevation and Popcorn Cinema Advertising explains that Popcorn Cinema Advertising is the media owner who sells cinema advertising airtime prior

to the movie on big screens. “Popcorn Cinema Advertising pitched a 4DX campaign idea to Jaguar. Jaguar then briefed Popcorn on the Jaguar F-Type SVR campaign once the car was ready to be launched,” says Inglis. Jaguar had the perfect campaign and car launch ready to be flighted. Once the advertising campaign was concluded, Popcorn Cinema Advertising then facilitated in sending storyboards to Jaguar which indicated which elements of the commercial would be used in the 4DX cinemas. Inglis explains that once a suitable commercial has been identified, it is sent to CJ 4DPlex in Seoul which then

encodes the commercial. Once Popcorn receives the completed commercial from CJ 4DPlex, it is uploaded to the various sites and slotted into the correct position on the ad reel. The software is owned and used by CJ 4DPlex. “They supplied the equipment for the 4DX Cinema as well as encoding the Jaguar commercial into 4DX.” This campaign offer was on the table but Inglis says that the industry that seems most interested is the motor vehicle industry. “4DX gives the manufacturers the opportunity to drive interest in the brand by providing the cinemagoer with a simulated test drive, which is one of the primary ways to drive car sales. We look forward to getting more advertisers on Popcorn Cinema Advertising’s exclusive 4DX platform.” Inglis says that the concept of 4DX is that of a fully immersive cinema experience whereby the cinema technology makes use of all of one’s senses. “This is a great opportunity for advertisers to engage with views on a completely new level,” he adds. The companies involved in South Africa’s first 4DX campaign included Mindshare, Jaguar, Popcorn Cinema Advertising, Nu Metro and CJ D4Plex. All companies are based in Johannesburg, except CJ 4DPlex which is based in South Korea. – Cera-Jane Catton november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 15


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could this one day be all we have left of the

Shooting the isuzu rhino dehorning Project commercial

rhino? T It is well known that Africa’s black and white rhino are being wiped out at an alarming rate for their horn, which has as much nutrition as your finger nails. This lucrative horn has damned our rhino to be more valuable dead than alive, while poaching and restrictions leave them precariously close to extension.

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“What is a rhino without its horn, you ask. It’s one with a real chance of survival.”

he Isuzu Rhino Dehorning Project took place in June at the Blue Canyon Conservancy near Hoedspruit, in Limpopo Province. During the last six years close to 6 000 rhinos have been killed in South Africa and this year alone the number of rhinos killed is soon to peak 1 000. These figures exclude orphaned rhino calves who don’t survive without their mothers. At this rate, SA could be without rhinos in a decade. Isuzu were instrumental in Operation Rachel in Mozambique in 1995, in which their vehicles enabled the Mozambique Police and SAPS to recover illegal arms after the civil war. Cat Lindsay, producer at Velocity Films, explains the brief from Isuzu to incorporate their Rhino Dehorning Project into their latest TVC. “They have similarly assisted in the war on rhino poaching by offering their 4x4’s as tools to enable the de-horning teams to remove the horns of rhino’s to protect their lives. We needed to document this project,” she says. This anti-poaching initiative is sponsored by General Motors under the banner of Isuzu and in partnership with the non-profit Nkombe Rhino. They involved the local community by making them aware of the plight of the rhino. In the video we see rangers track and dart the rhino from the air. A fleet of Isuzu KB 300 4x4 Double Cabs are used as support vehicles in the operation to track and dart the rhinos. Once darted a team, including wildlife veterinarian Dr Pete Rogers and Janelle Goodrich, from ProVet Wildlife Services, dehorn the creature and dye what remains. As we see the rhino wake up with two purple dots on his nose where his horns once stood we hear the line: “What is a rhino without

its horn, you ask. It’s one with a real chance of survival.” The documentary style one-minute film is hard hitting, emotive and real. Filming was done using two Sony PXW-FS7 High Speed Cameras. “We needed to be very flexible and to move incredibly quickly. We spent a week in the conservancy and needed reliable, low-cost cameras that could work in very tough conditions and deliver quality images,” explains Lindsay. “We had limited space and a very small crew so compact cameras and equipment were important.” Lighting was done using two Digital Sputnik Light Kits. “We used natural and available lighting for all of the exterior shots and used these very compact and battery operated lights for interiors,” describes Lindsay. “Again, it was a space issue and also we couldn’t transport generators or fuel to any of the places we filmed,” she adds. The sound design was completed by Louis Enslin at Produce Sound and the music was by James Asher. Postproduction took place at Left Post Production, edited by Julian Redpath, Grade and Online in Flame with Keno Naidoo. The rhino project was filmed on location from 6 to 10 June 2016 and it was first flighted in September 2016. Lindsay says the major challenge was filming without being able to set up or pre-empt any of the rhino shots. “We also used the game rangers from the conservancy as our cast so nobody had any experience of being in front of camera and Rob needed to direct a number of scenes with believable performances, such as the opening

sequence with the poachers,” she adds. Lindsay describes filming as filled with interesting moments, from carrying a rhino horn around that’s worth a few million Rands, catering out of the back of a vehicle at dusk, listening to lions roar not too far away, driving like rally racers through thick bush once a rhino had been spotted and darted, clinging to equipment and being shredded by thorn bushes. “Nothing could compare to the humility and overwhelming sense of urgency that one feels when one is surrounded by a dedicated team of animal lovers, pushing on the side of a two tonne rhino who needs to stay relatively still while you saw off his precious horn,” Lindsay shares. “Knowing that you are just one of a handful of people who’ve touched such an incredible creature. Wondering if our children’s children will ever see one for real.” – Cera-Jane Catton

Key crew: director & dop: Rob Malpage producer: Cat Lindsay 2nd camera operator: Marc Rowlston Art director: Margaux Du Preez focus puller: John Papas dit & vt: Tim Watson Key grip: Tyler Geldenhuys camera Assistant: Marco Goncalves offline editor: Julian Redpath grade & online: Keno Naidoo sound engineer: Louis Enslin


Khuli chana’s one Source music video is a uniquely pan-african collaboration

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Africa is on fire

Premiered at the MTV Music Video Awards (MAMA) nominee announcement held on 21 September in Johannesburg, the music video for South African music artist Khuli Chana’s One Source showcases audaciously bold and proudly African visuals like never seen before.

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roduced by Egg Films along with global digital marketing and advertising agency Native VML for the alcohol brand Absolut, One Source is the first track from Khuli’s upcoming concept album, a musical collaboration with multiple African music greats. “I’m reinventing myself,” says Khuli, “I’m traveling the continent on a search to find something new, to make something meaningful, a game-changer.” The visual film for One Source is part of the follow-up campaign to last year’s Africa is Absolut campaign, which won Silver for Native VML and Arcade Content at the 2016 APEX Awards. In keeping with the pan-African theme, the music video features Victoria Kimani from Kenya, as well as Ghana’s Sarkodie and VVIP.

Directed by Egg Films’ Sunu, the concept for the video grew as a collective effort when Native VML and Absolut came up with the idea of Khuli collaborating with various artists across the African continent. “When they approached me, I brought the visual language for the film. I delved deep into my secret inspirational folder that houses all these images and ideas I’ve always wanted to do but often felt were too wild and too crazy for the conventional advertising world. Both Native and Absolut gave me free reign to do whatever I felt was right as long as it pushed the boundaries. They didn’t want safe or conventional. It was a dream brief,” explains Sunu. Sunu, who has always loved music and making music in particular, was also a

producer on the track. When Khuli sent him “a hook for the song,” he says he knew immediately that it was I song that he could help to develop, especially since he had already constructed a visual picture for the song. “He let me run with it and it went from there. I changed some of the structure and laid down other sounds and instruments, developing it with my editor as we started editing the picture. I saw the song visually so the layers I added were about creating a song that could be heard visually, if that makes any sense,” he says. “It made a massive difference that we had the visuals in the can while producing the song. I feel the visuals actually inspired a lot of what you hear in the track and helped us push the audio to make it as visceral as the visuals. Khuli and I agreed that the song would almost be the soundtrack for the video rather than doing just a song and trying to figure out the visuals later. One hand fed the other and vice versa.” Shot in various locations in Accra, Ghana, DOP Rory O’Grady shot One Source using the Amira, primarily taking a handheld approach throughout. Sunu says that the idea was for the video to possess a sense of immediacy and a visceral aesthetic: “We wanted to capture the scale and intimacy. Above all, we wanted the people of Africa to shine,

hence a lot of portraits where you can look deep into the people of Africa’s eyes and see this passion and fire burning.” With fire being at the centre of the visual aesthetic, when watching the video – with its brightly coloured flames and unconventional imagery throughout – it is almost unbelievable that everything, but a change of colour to the flame, was achieved in camera, yet this is so. Sunu says that there was “no room or time for toys” on the shoot, “The only thing we did in post was flip the flame from red to blue. Dave Oosthuizen at Deliverance Post was an absolute master and creative genius in working on at least 107 flame shots to bring that vision to life. The idea of turning the flame to blue was exciting and easy to come up with in the middle of the night, but it took the genius of Dave to swing those colors to where we wanted them. The grade and look was also something I worked hard on with Craig Simonetti at Pudding.” According to Sunu, the message of the One Source music video is that “Africa is the birthplace of humanity. It is the birthplace of creativity. It is the heart of lightness. We need to celebrate who we are and stop playing the bridesmaid.” As the song’s lyrics go, “Africa ain’t no jungle… It’s time we made them listen.” – Chanelle Ellaya november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 17


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Skyrink Studios – from to solid reality

dream skyrink studios, Johannesburg’s new TV and post production facility, had its official launch in October 2016. Screen Africa spoke to two of the partners in the new venture, to trace their journey from a crazy idea to reality.

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ny producer would understand and recognise the scenario: you have a production that you urgently need to get into a studio but every studio in town is booked up, forcing you to postpone your production and wait until December, when the rush dies down, so you can shoot while everyone else is on holiday. This is the situation in which Marvin Mathibe found himself a few years ago – while working on a co-production for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). He approached Frank Mohapi to assist in finding a space for the shoot. “It made us aware of the scarcity of facilities and the huge amount of content that needed to be developed,” Mohapi says. “We said, it’s high time that we look into creating our own facilities.” The two of them devised an idea to establish new studio facilities and, together with partner Miles Britton, decided to tackle this considerable undertaking. Inspired by the fact that the ballroom at Carlton Hotel in the Johannesburg city centre had been used for the production of Strictly Come Dancing, Mohapi and Mathibe approached Transnet, the owner of the building, as well as the Carlton Centre, to ask if they could make use of that space on a more sustained basis. The property manager proposed that the old ice rink at the top of the Carlton Centre’s eight-floor parking facility would also be a space worth considering. Upon seeing the space, Mohapi, Mathibe and Britton soon decided it was the right home for the new enterprise. The partners set about developing a business model for the planned studios. They drew up a proposal that included a projected R56 million budget and approached the Industrial Development

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iNNEr CitY oPEN ANd SAFE For BUSiNESS : At the Skyrink launch on 27 october 2016: Frank Mohapi and Marvin Mathibe Corporation (IDC). With the support of Basil Ford, head of media and motion picture unit at the state-owned finance institution, they moved forward with their plans. A team was then assembled at IDC under the leadership of Mr Tayengwa Maswai to see the project through. After engaging architects, engineers and other consultants, the budget jumped up to R230 million, which was approved by the IDC on the condition that the partners raise ten percent of that themselves, which they did with the help of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), under the leadership of Ms Zama Khanyile’s team led by Palesa Mzolo and Olebogeng Marakalla. “We also got letters of intent from producers in the industry to say that they would make use of the facilities when they were operational,” Mohapi explains. Construction began with the laborious first step of the removal of the ice rink, its grand stand and all the various accessories, as part of the initial Transnet tenant installation, to reduce the space to a shell. Then the building of the six studios spaces and the installation of soundproofing and production technology got underway. This has been a lengthy process and what Mathibe calls “an interesting journey.” Mohapi, Mathibe and Britton took great personal financial risk by throwing themselves into their ‘crazy idea.’ They laughingly recall the project’s early stages, which often involved the two of them driving around in Mathibe’s overworked Toyota Tazz – which they

nicknamed Smokey Robinson – praying that the car would get them to their destination before breaking down, and dealing with non-functioning windows in the non-air conditioned vehicle. They would often park at a distance from whatever potential funder they were visiting, fearing that a glimpse of old Smokey may adversely affect perceptions of their financial viability. “It was difficult and there were a lot of obstacles,” Mathibe says. “And the reality was that there were disagreements and frustrations. But at the end of the day we had this common goal, which we kept in our sights. And what made the difference between us and maybe some other guys who tried the same kind of thing was our business plan and our knowledge of the industry and the market for studio facilities and the way we could defend each and every point in our business plan, quoting sections of it like lawyers. This is what really impressed Basil Ford and his team at the IDC.” “But what also impressed him,” Mohapi adds, “was how we had managed to get commitments from various suppliers – major companies – without even having any funding committed yet. That was an indication of our commitment to the project and our belief in it. This despite some of the people we met during the development of this business, laughing at us, saying it’s just a pipe-dream. The concept took on wider significance when the city of Johannesburg got involved. The city council saw the

development as a major contribution to the ongoing efforts to gentrify and regenerate the city centre. “SkyRink does not stand on its own here,” Mohapi clarifies. “We are working together with almost every business on Main Street, from Gandhi Square through ABSA’s complex right down to the Maboneng Precinct, aside from our close partnership with Transnet to create an inner city area that is booming, safe and open for business. The city understood the value that we could add. And we were not the only ones wanting to make use of the space – there had been other proposals for all kinds of business ventures, but ours in particular appealed to them. Now, post-launch, construction and installations continue at the SkyRink studio complex, working towards Mohapi, Mathibe and Britton’s drive to create a full, end-to-end production facility, including production offices and post-production suites, creating spaces, not only for the use of established producers and broadcasters, but for the development of new content and the training of new personnel. After years of development, the crazy idea that is SkyRink Studios is now a reality, and an example of what can be built on the basis of pure self-belief and dogged determination – the hallmarks, after all, of anyone who succeeds in this industry. SkyRink Studios will be ready to host production houses in need of production and post-production facilities, as of January 2017.


D I GI

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Systems Limited

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STUDIoS

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concilium Technologies provides turnkey solution for Skyrink

CoMMittEd to LoCAL: ross Carbonite 2ME 24-input switcher Concilium Technologies came aboard the SkyRink project at quite an early stage, called upon by the three SkyRink partners to build and equip the six television studios and their respective control rooms, complete with video editing, final mix, voice over and playout/transmission facilities. An overall turnkey solution was called for, entailing a full system design from the ground up. Concilium would handle project management, equipment supply, system installation, training and complete aftermarket support. An extensive consultation process took place to ensure that the needs of the project were well understood and to ensure that the most flexibility could be

achieved to cater for the widest variety of uses and customer needs as possible. As Ross Video has a very strong portfolio of solutions for this type of facility, Concilium opted for their Carbonite 2ME 24-input switchers and Expression Graphics. For routing and to cater for the changing networking landscape they used Imagine Communications’ IP-capable routing systems and provided Apple FCPX stations for editing. Both SkyRink and Concilium are committed using local skills and expertise as much as possible in their projects, and so contracted BSI for the furniture and infrastructure cabling, and Movievision (Southern Lighting) for their

innovative lighting solutions. They also worked with other local suppliers to provide best-in-breed solutions for cameras, audio comms, mics and so on, always focusing on finding the best fit components to meet the brief but to stay within a challenging budget. The design of the system was driven by the need to ensure flexibility and expandability to cater for the changing needs of the client as they grow. Solutions were chosen that allowed interchangeability between control rooms and studio floors, provision for easy integration of additional types of lighting – should this be a customer requirement – and using as much digital networking

providing the option to move through hybrid to IP networks. For example, extensive use of DANTE networking was used in the comms and audio routing. The design also easily accommodates small and large complex multi camera productions. SkyRink is the first studio facility in Africa where the lighting grids are fully LED, while also being flexible to allow integration of other lighting systems as and when required. Concilium’s work continues on the SkyRink project, working alongside other contractors and suppliers to prepare the facilities for full operational status in the coming months.

mmPa designs Skyrink’s studio requirements Studio design and acoustic consultants, Mtshali Moss Projects Africa (MMPA), were consulted by SkyRink Studios in the acoustic design and configuration of the new facility’s six television studios. Although the general outline of the studios was decided upon by the SkyRink management, MMPA made significant design contributions, particularly as they pertained to the acoustic requirements of the production spaces. From an acoustic perspective, SkyRink came with a unique set of challenges, as MMPA managing director Steve Moss explains: “Being on the top floor of a parkade, the space in which the studios were to be built is subject to a high degree of structural vibration. There is also a lightweight roof structure, which was put in place when the ice rink was built to obviate the need for support columns. While it’s impractical to have columns in studio spaces, we had to develop a strategy to deal with acoustic isolation through the lightweight roof 22 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

structure and still allow sufficient weight loading to support typical television studio equipment hanging off the roof support systems – including airconditioning systems and lighting etc. This made it a challenge to isolate the space from outside noise.” Barry Geldenhuis, MMPA’s senior engineer on the SkyRink site, explains how they approached the vibration challenge: “In our initial investigations we could hear and feel cars moving on the floors below which would create a serious problem for microphone recordings. When you create a space that is considerably quieter than those ambient levels, these noises become even more apparent. Being a television studio with a noise rating below NC25, we planned for a ‘box-in-box’ design, which is to say the studios would be de-coupled from the building structure, isolating it from both air-borne and structural noise. The existing floor slab provided sufficient weight loading to support a second slab

separated by a 20mm air gap, using imbedded isolation jacks. These floating slabs would form the floor of each of the six studios. Vibration expert Trevor Davies provided invaluable assistance with these floor slabs. Thereafter all support structures, walls and acoustics for each studio were constructed on these slabs – separated from the building.” To tackle the roofing challenge, a ceiling was designed, made from a combination of Gypsum boards, acoustic fillers and de-coupling support devices, which was suspended off the existing building roof grid that held the light weight slab above. This strategy maintained the “box-in-box” design and provided appropriate isolation of structural and air-borne noise into the studio. Sufficient weight loading in the roof support structure was still available to support services and equipment in each studio. The studio walls consisted of two independent structures separated by an

air gap – a structural wall supported on the building slab and an inner wall on the floating studio slab to ensure the “box-in-box” strategy. Both walls were constructed from lightweight multi-layer boards and acoustic filler as the floor slab could not carry the additional weight of brick and cement. MMPA were also involved in designing the movable partition separating studios 5 and 6, which, when removed, allow for the two spaces to be joined into a single larger one. When engaged, this partition provides the same isolation as the multi-layer studio walls. They also played a role in the air conditioning design, providing considerable design input into mechanical and electrical services, including the set-up of separate individual mechanical plants for each studio. MMPA specified noise level requirements for the studios and offered input throughout the process to ensure the acoustic integrity of the studios and that the correct noise requirements were met.


MTSHALI-MOSS

PROJECTS AFRICA ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANTS

As leading design consultants for Southern Africa, specialising in acoustics, broadcast, and entertainment technology, we are proud to be acoustic and studio consultants for the Sky Rink Studios Project.

Tel: (011) 442 2720 www.mmpa.co.za e-mail: steve@mmpa.co.za

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movievision illuminates Skyrink Studios In 2014, movievision was approached by Concilium Technologies to join them in the project which eventually became sky rink studios.

SKY’S tHE LiMit: ChamSys MagicQ MQ60 lighting control console

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ovievision’s part in the project would be to handle the erection of lighting grids in all six studios, as well as provide technical power and DMX to these grids. They would also handle the tracks and curtaining for the studios and provide broadcast quality LED lighting and control for the project. With the ice rink eventually taken out of the Carlton Centre the Movievision team could move in and see what they had to work with. Massive beams across the roof made the job easier. Spotlight Fresneled 450W LEd light However, these beams were not even and had a wicked camber across controlled online dimmers. the area. Special sound absorbent Curtaining and tracks were made up in brackets were designed and the Spanish factory of Rosco. There is a manufactured to go on the beams, from double curtaining track in each studio, which the aluminium piping that would which was erected and aligned by laser to make up the grid could be hung. So far so allow the drop of the curtains to be the good. The problem of getting equipment same length. There was a variance of up to the seventh floor was exasperated nearly 300mm over the length of by other companies trying to do the same Studio 5 in the original beams installed in thing at the same time. the building. Power and lighting control was The originators of the project were provided in trunking above the grid via insistent that the lighting in the studios Powercon outlets and DMX outlets every was to be LED as they wanted Sky Rink to 1 to 1.5m across the grid with LDDE be the first set of studios in South Africa booster boxes provided. The grid is and possibly the whole continent to be designed for ease of use with LED in totally LED. This would allow them to have mind, although provision has been made a small electrical load, a smaller air for non-LED lighting through DMX conditioning bill and eliminate the need

26 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

for the large power sources and dimmers currently associated with existing studios. LED is currently cutting edge technology and Sky Rink wanted to be at the forefront of this. Accordingly, Movievision went to one of the foremost suppliers of LED lighting in the world – Spotlight Italy, who have over 50 years experience in the Industry. Their eco-friendly range was the product of choice. A selection of Fresneled 450w WW, Fresneled 200w WW and Fresneled 100w WW fixtures were identified together with a number of Profiled RGBW 250ZS units. All of which are DMX controlled and pole operated. Added to the mix are a number of the new, award-winning and revolutionary Cyclorama 300 RGBW LED. These units, with their specifically designed optical system, allows illumination, in an absolutely even way, an area of approximately 6m wide by 7m high, all from a distance of 1.5m from the backdrop. For softlights they turned to Filmgear’s new Softpanel 200 LED series. With a range of 2700° to 5600°, pole operated, DMX controlled with barndoors, filterframe and eggcrate, these units give a wonderfully even, soft light and will hang on droparms provided on the grid. Filmgear is currently one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lighting. From the smallest 100w units to the biggest 24Kw Fresnel, each fixture in their range is amazing. Leading the way in fluorescent and LED fixtures, their range of facetted

PARs from 800w through to 9k are currently setting the trend in South Africa. For lighting control Movievision turned to one of the world’s best kept secrets – ChamSys. Their controllers are in use by a number of the leading touring companies, as well as in TV studios and theatres worldwide. At the forefront of their field, they are easy to use and able to patch over 14 000 fixture personalities. The consol provides simple attribute selection and programming, as well as flexible live lighting control, including a powerful inbuilt pixel mapper. The units going into the studios are the MagicQ MQ60 range, which handles 12 universes. The units are quick and easy to programme, with a wide array of features, advanced media server support, fixture morphing and cloning, fully featured theatre tracks and LED pixel mapping. They can be connected via a network to a PC or MAC running ChamSys free MagicHD media player software for full visualisation of the all the universes at no extra cost. The MagicQ MQ 60 has 10 playback faders, 200 pages with 20 execute buttons and built in UPS. In the bigger studios Movievision have provided MagicQ Extra Wing Compacts, which will add to the flexibility by providing 12 playback faders and execute buttons. This will allow the user to extend the number of physical playbacks available to them. Movievision proudly represents Filmgear, Spotlight, ChamSys, Rosco, Kupo Grip, LDDE, RVE, Socanland, DTS, Neo-Neon, Silver Star, Le Mark, Dirty Rigger, Desay and Studio Due in our basket of products to provide our clients with the best equipment in the world.


Director Speak

PHI

tHE GoLdEN rAtio: PHi aka Jonathan Parkinson Nicole Ackermann

whAt is your bAcKground And how hAs this shAped you As directors? JP has pretty much been doing this for as long as Nicole has been alive – so it’s safe to say that he has a strong background in filmmaking. Nicole studied film and television, and a whole lot of other irrelevant stuff like international relations. She also spent a few years as a creative researcher describe the moment when you decided you wAnted to become A director. JP walked onto a set as a photographer and saw the director – and said to himself – I want to do what he’s doing. Nicole’s passion for directing began at a very young age when she started writing and directing plays at school. how did you becAme A pAir Known As phi, whAt does phi stAnd for? JP has had this idea brewing for a while – he’s very into the universe and energy and quantum physics and other things that boil Nicole’s brain. So here’s the science, Phi is 1:1.618 (the golden ratio) and it occurs everywhere you look in nature, it is often replicated in art to create something beautiful to the eye in terms of ratio and balance. We think this is amazing – it is the ability to see order out of chaos, beauty in the unexpected. where do you find inspirAtion? At the bottom of a good cup of coffee. As much as it sounds like a pay-off line for an ad (in fact we are sure it is) “inspiration is everywhere.” Nicole was walking around Sea Point the other night and saw a homeless man lying on the floor reading a book called Serial Killers. True story. JP often comes out of a meditation with a killer idea. We are also always on the lookout for what’s happening on the international circuit, ads, photography, fashion, music, film etc.

do you hAve Any mentors? In a funny kind of way we mentor each other – JP has a lot of experience, and is very strong with performance and VFX, Nicole is conceptual and highly visual. We are always teaching and pushing each other. We do have one mentor, but we can’t tell you who he is, we’d have to kill you. whAt Are your personAl cAreer milestones? We just want to make amazing work. Work that moves people, pushes boundaries, changes the way we look at things, even just a little. We feel that each piece of work we do is a career milestone as we always look at a piece of work and ask ourselves – how do we make this stand out? which proJects Are you currently involved in? Can’t say – will have to kill you again. We’ve just finished a piece for MNet 101 – about a little girl who goes around kissing everything in preparation for finding her prince. Otherwise we are pitching on some exciting stuff. whAt Kind of content do you enJoy creAting? Amazing content – we are not limited by the subject matter. So often we’ll get a script, and we can feel that the team are feeling a bit defeated, it’s been worried to death by the big C... But if we can find an element of human truth to it – if we can breathe life back into it, then that’s content that we want to create. whAt hAs been your proudest moment As A director? For JP winning a Silver Lion at Cannes. It may seem obvious but often that kind of recognition against such heavy competition makes you feel that you are on the right path. For Nicole – it’s seeing the reactions of people who watch our work – knowing that you have touched

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Joining forces to mix a little bit of retro with a little avantgarde. Jp and nicole have been working together as a co-directing team since March 2015 and in August 2016 they joined Star Films. This collaboration brings 35 years of technical and VFX experience both in camera and post production. They lean on each other’s combined strengths to make for a very strong partnership in the highly competitive world of TV and them. I online advertising. remember showing our short film for Sun Resorts to the voice over artist – and she was moved to tears. if you could produce An AfricAn version of A hollywood clAssic, whAt would it be? Game of Thrones whAt Are your leAst fAvourite pArts of the Job? Putting everything into a pitch, seeing the job so clearly, and then losing it… but hey that’s the animal. who would you cAst As yourself in A tv series? JP would be Iron Man – because he flies, has an irreverent sense of humour, and has great gadgets. Nicole would be Khaleesi – queen of dragons (a strong, powerful, feminine woman, and she likes her hair). whAt or where is your hAppy plAce? For Nicole Cape Town or anywhere on a yoga mat – For JP it’s the sea, on a surfboard or a bicycle… and on a film set we’re pretty stoked when we’re on a film set. if you could hAve Any filmmAKer superpower, whAt would it be? The ability to look into people’s hearts understand what they are really feeling, what moves them, changes them… Oh and the ability to add a zero onto any budget. when you’re not directing, you’re…? Nicole: probably watching other people’s ads, stalking a famous director on Instagram, or on an aeroplane going somewhere. JP: with family, chilling or on a surfboard or bicycle. – Compiled by Cera-Jane Catton november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 27


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Disney enchants with Ugandan biopic Disney has made its first African story, Queen of Katwe. It flows like a fairy tale yet it’s the true life story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy from Katwe who, with loving guidance, defies the borders of the slums to follow her dreams.

director Mira Nair on the set of Queen of Katwe

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utesi’s life story was the subject of Tim Crothers’ book The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster. Published by ESPN in 2012, it was optioned that same year by Walt Disney Pictures. “It’s a classic underdog story,” says Crothers, who first went to Katwe in 2010. “For Phiona to have done what she has done is against the grain in so many ways. I think that’s what makes her story so extraordinary. She has no business being an elite chess player, and there’s no word for chess in her native language,” he says. “At nine, when she discovered the chess programme, she could not read or write and was basically homeless. She turned her life around from that to becoming a really good chess player and an incredible person, a leader of the women’s movement in her own country.” It was the article by Crothers in ESPN Magazine that first introduced producer John Carls to the work of Sports Outreach and its cinematic potential. Carls was especially interested in the work of Robert Katende. Mutesi’s chess coach, who began as a soccer coach for Sports Outreach in Katwe. Katende was a civil engineer searching for a job that would financially support his wife and two children when his compassion led him to the development of his chess programme. It was there that he met Mutesi, a girl whom he took to when he saw the fight in her. She ended up making one of the greatest moves in chess, where the pawn becomes the queen. “That is one of the most powerful messages in the film,” says Carls. “That, no matter where you start from, you can still accomplish the greatest of things.” Presented in association with ESPN Films, Queen of Katwe stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o and introduces Madina Nalwanga az Mutesi. The remarkable biography was made into a screenplay by William Wheeler. While developing the project, Tendo Nagenda, Disney’s executive vice president of production and of Ugandan descent, immediately thought of Mira Nair. An Oscar® nominated director and the founder of Maisha Film Lab, a film school for East Africans, and a production company Mirabai Films in New York. “It was quite ironic,” Nair remembers, “As one of my mantras is that if we don’t

tell our stories, no one else will, and here was a story that was so local yet came from Hollywood.” Nair says she had Nyong’o in mind for the role of Harriet, Mutesi’s mother who had her first child at 14. “I called it the Lupita draft,” she says. Nyong’o won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2014, concluding her acceptance speech by saying, “May it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” This is a seemly statement for this story, which demonstrates how any dream can change the world. A child of east Africa, an alumnus of Maisha Film Lab and an intern at Mirabai, Nyong’o fell in love with the script by the tenth page. “For me what is so poignant about this film is that it is told with humanity and humanity does not have a nationality, it doesn’t have an ethnicity and Mira tells this story with the specificity of Katwe but she also tells it with the universality of humanity, a small girl with a big dream who achieves it,” says Nyong’o. “That is the power of this kind of storytelling.” Principal photography took place from April to June of 2015 in and around Katwe and Kibuli in Kampala, Uganda, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa, employing local crews and extras in both countries. Production in South Africa made use of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) tax rebate, which subsidises 20 per cent of the budget, as long as 50 per cent of the film is shot in SA – an initiative that has attracted a great deal of local and foreign production in the country. “This is what I was trying to tell the Ugandan government 12 years ago,” says Nair, who has had a home in Kampala for the past 27 years. She says most of the scenes of Katwe, the informal settlement in Kampala where Mutesi spent her childhood, were shot, not in Kampala but in Johannesburg, together with all the chess championship sequences, the scenes of Sudan, Russia and the floods. “We rebuilt Katwe in Danville, outside Pretoria, for the flood scenes and poured in gallons of water. It would have been a bit tough to do that in Kampala,” she adds. Nyong’o says the Joburg winter was her biggest challenge. “We were shooting an equatorial movie where it is

A SMALL GirL WitH BiG drEAMS: Still from Queen of Katwe with oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga 28 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016


| fIlm hot every day and it was the dead of winter in SA. The challenge of all challenges. It was about three degrees and we were wet for four days straight and between each take we would run to the hot tub they had set up and just sit in our clothes until they were ready for us again.” She adds that working with an SA crew both in SA and in Uganda was an excellent experience. “There is obviously an infrastructure here that Uganda can’t compete with,” Nyong’o says. “With that comes personnel and staff that are very experienced and they brought their experience to the film, they were integral,” she adds. Nair says the most difficult part of making the movie was filming chess in an interesting way. “The humour, the drama, the style, that’s what I do but to make chess emotional and dramatic and visual and propulsive, to propel the story and yet be truthful to it,” she says was the greatest challenge. “It is absolutely correct, and these are moves that Phiona is famous for, we didn’t invent any of them,” she explains. All 15 of the games in the film are genuine games. Katenda was their chess consultant, the call sheet for every day’s shooting included the chess design, and all the children were taught chess by Katende. “It was an interesting visual challenge, how do I make chess vital,” Nair adds. “Chess is inherently a cerebral, static game that does not necessarily translate well in cinema,” says DOP Sean Bobbitt. Speaking of Bobbitt Nair says, “He has this amazing poetry with his hand-held work that takes us right into the heart of the scenes we’re shooting.” “Katwe is the visual heart of the film,” explains Bobbitt. “As a news and documentary cameraman, I’ve been faced with drab poverty in slums all over the world, but Katwe is different. There is vibrancy there, a density of colour and a unique pallet. The contrast of the red earth with the yellows and blues they use to paint the buildings, the density of humanity, the bright elements of clothing, the constant movement. Everywhere we pointed the camera, there was something of beauty.” Bobbitt shot the film with the widest lenses possible to

create larger-than-life images, using two Arriflex XT cameras supplied by Media Film Service Johannesburg. “These cameras have a wonderful sensor which handles the extremes of the African sun and shadow. They are robust and well suited to outdoor/indoor work needs,” explains cameraman Miles Goodall. He says they used a full set of T2 Cooke S4 series lenses as well as two Alura Zoom lenses with a range from 15mm to 250mm. “The sun was the primary source of light,” says Goodall. “Reflected and controlled depending on the scene. Electrical light was used for interiors and night scenes,” he adds. “We did quite a bit of handheld and loose camera rigs for freedom of movement. We had two

cameras on main unit operated by Bobbit and myself. Mira wanted two varied angles on the actors, especially the kids. She wanted a blend of classic and gritty. I was second camera DP and we roamed around shooting street-life and scenery while waiting for the set-ups to be ready.” The film was edited in Avid. The film has an original score by Alex Heffes and it features an Afrobeat soundtrack curated by the Ugandan rapper Young Cardamom, the co-music supervisor, who took inspiration from the Katwe streets to engage the audience in

the modern sound of today’s Kampala. The songs on the soundtrack stem from various African countries, from Uganda to Nigeria, and include an original by Alicia Keys. Speaking of the impact of the film Nair says “It is not just a showcase; this is an anthem for all of us.” She says that film crews in SA are something that the country has to be proud of. She has made movies in SA since 1993 and is still working with colleagues she met then, “the greatest collaborators and artists.” She adds: “SA is top class. The key is we have to tell our own stories. We are servicing the whole world here with our crews but it is our own stories we have to tell and to tell them beautifully and I believe SA has the infrastructure and the talent to do that.” – Cera-Jane Catton

november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 29


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war and love, salt and sugar

BittErSWEEt: in the midst of war there is room for love

Premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in August this year, where it won the Independent Italian Critics Award (Boccalini d’Ouro) for Best Film, Licínio Azevedo’s Train of Salt and Sugar is a beautiful but harrowing depiction of war-torn northern Mozambique in the late 80s.

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n intricate co-production between Mozambique, Portugal, France, Brazil and South Africa, the film is set in the midst of a terrifying civil war in Mozambique, where we find a single train that connects the city of Nampula to Malawi. Hundreds of people risk their lives travelling across those 700 kilometres of war-ridden tracks, knowing that civilians are not allowed through. On the train we meet Salomão and Taiar, two soldiers who don’t see eye to eye, as well as Rosa – a young nurse on her way to start her first job. Mariamu, who hopes to trade salt for sugar once they reach Malawi, is Rosa’s close friend. Here, the story unfolds and life surprisingly goes on amid constant chaos, ammunition, laughter and tears, as the besieged train makes it way to the next stop. The director says that the essential themes of the film seek to stress the important role of African women in the subsistence of their families and

30 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

acknowledge that war, especially civil war, destroys all. “Mozambique used to be a big sugar producer, but the war destroyed most plantations, and sugar became a rare and expensive good. During the war I tried to make a documentary about this extraordinary train journey, but I could not get the needed resources in place,” explains Azevedo, who developed the script, together with Teresa Pereira, from his book of the same name. “Soon after the war was over, I took the train myself, interviewing railway workers, passengers (mostly women who traded salt for sugar), military men who escorted the train, and wrote a novel (Comboio de Sal e Açucar), published in Mozambique, South Africa and USA. In cinema I like to make documentaries. But I can only make documentaries about what is happening in the present moment. The past for me is like fiction. In that light I decided to adapt the book I wrote into a fictional film.”

Produced by Ukbar Filmes (Portugal), Ébano Multimédia (Mozambique), Les Films de l’Étranger (France), Panda Filmes (Brazil), and Urucu Media (South Africa) with the support of M-Net and M-Net’s Portuguese-language channel Jango Magic, each co-producer provided some financing in their country and in turn were allowed to keep the rights to the film in their own territory. Each country also sent crew to Mozambique and in the case of Brazil and Portugal, cast as well. South Africa in particular contributed largely with the art department and provided a great deal of the infrastructure – lights, gear, special VFX and sound design – that Mozambique did not have. Getting permission from the government to film proved to be quite difficult, says Azevedo, “The authorities finally gave us the go-ahead when we had already started shooting. We were grateful that the Ministry of Defence actually supported the production and ended up giving us thirty soldiers who trained our actors.” Shot over seven weeks on the railways that connect Maputo to South Africa and Swaziland, which Azevedo says was only done because the original railway in northern Mozambique has been completely rebuilt since the end of the war, the production required a lot of rebuilding and redressing. “We rebuilt a train that looked very much like they did back in the 80s. The stations we filmed however we had to dress, we had to repaint walls with the correct colours, especially so that they could have their own personality. This was

part of the SA contribution to the film and our wonderful art director Andree du Preez,” says Azevedo. DOP Frédéric Serve shot Train of Salt and Sugar on the Sony 55 and Azevedo says he wanted to make a film that would reach audiences, in a broader way, with a story and atmosphere for such: “I am sick of making films that win awards in festivals but do not go beyond that. Maybe this is my utopia – that an African film could compete theatrically with the cinematographic North American ‘McDonalds.’ But dreaming has never harmed anyone. …I love westerns. I wanted to give this film a light western flavour, an African western, a film about war and love, salt and sugar.” Azevedo says that the overlying message of the film is merely that in the midst of war, there is room for love. “I hope that the audiences experience the richness of love and grief, which are timeless emotions, despite the film being set in another era. I am also hopeful that the film will allow for learning and perspective of how much more fortunate we are today.” Train of Salt and Sugar stars Matamba Joaquim as Taiar, Melanie de Vales Rafael as Rosa, Thiago Justino as Salomão, António Nipita as Sete Maneiras and Sabina Fonseca as Mariamu. The film will have a limited theatrical release at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town and the Bioscope Theatre in Johanneburg, with M-Net and Jango set to broadcast it once the commercial and festival route is over. – Chanelle Ellaya


PHoto BY BELiA oH PHotoGrAPHY

fIlm | mUSIc | oPINIoN

South african music and film: Brothers-In-arms Written by Trenton Birch,

director at SAE Institute and co-founder of Bridges for Music

EMBrACiNG LoCAL CoLLABorAtioN: trenton Birch

South Africa has all the strategic advantages to become one of the top five producers of global media content in the next ten to 15 years. Our English is easy to understand, we have countless untold stories, a smorgasbord of different cultures and races, a unique, diverse and dynamic environment, and perhaps most importantly, we are hungry and driven to succeed. This ambition, combined with a robust creative media training environment, albeit relatively new, affordable access to technical equipment, and mature distribution channel options, puts South Africa in the perfect position to rival our international counterparts in the future.

B

ut with every opportunity there are challenges and barriers to entry that can block the path to success. One of these barriers in South Africa is our lack of collaboration and our inability to think ahead and envision the greater good. South Africans would be well advised to heed the classic maxim, “slow and steady wins the race” however, within our developing economy, entrepreneurs in particular, are more focused on short-term survival rather than on long-term planning. So what does this fundamental part of our psychology do for the world of business? It fuels corruption and stifles collaboration, and it is this lack of collaboration, particularly in our creative media industries, that is one of the most considerable barriers to growth.

32 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

With a background primarily in the music industry, but also having worked across film and TV, I have noticed the wide rift that exists between these two worlds. There is a lack of understanding, and often a lack of appreciation, for each art form. Yet with so much in common, and with the potential for synergistic success globally so attainable, collaboration between musicians and songwriters and film and content producers is still the exception rather than the norm. Admittedly, those of us within the music industry need to do our part, and we have some growing up to do. As a whole, the industry is generally disorganised, unstructured and driven by ego and success. However, historically South Africa has produced some greats in

score composing, just look at the international success of Trevor Rabin, who has scored over 40 feature films and won numerous awards, including 11 BMI Awards. Trevor Jones, Phillip Miller and Mbongeni Ngema have all achieved critical and commercial success composing for film, TV and theatre. Composing for TV and film can be a very lucrative path for musicians, as every film and TV programme requires music. However, there is also the need for engagement from the film and TV industries who need to make the commitment and effort to source original local music as opposed to simply securing generic background music from international sound libraries. Apart from the creative benefits to using original music, there is also an

important economic imperative. We are quick to forget that every time an international track is used on a South African production we export money and every time an international sitcom or film is played in our country we line the pockets of the international industry. It’s time to fully embrace our creativity and reap the rewards for all our African blood sweat and tears. By collaborating from the early stages of a production, musicians and content producers can create truly unique and powerful products that will speak to local and global audiences. All the required talent is here in South Africa, and by collaborating and harnessing the creativity across platforms success for all the creative industries is within reach.


| DocUmENTary

Elephant impasse An elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Therefore 30 000 elephants are killed annually. A team of women took it upon themselves to do something about this peril. In August ten avid patrons set off on the Elephant Ignite Expedition to travel a distance of 10 000 kilometres through 10 southern African countries to shine a light on the plight of the world’s largest land animal. Earth Touch joins them as their official film production partner. Starting in South Africa they moved north, through Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and will be finishing off in Kenya.

PASSioNAtE ABoUt ProtECtiNG tHE SPECiES: tyrone Marcus of Earth touch behind the camera on the Elephant Ignite Expedition

“T

he team is also traveling to bring awareness to the people on the ground working to save this iconic species,” explains Sarah Lustig, online producer at Earth Touch. “As of today, they have just entered their last country on the road, Kenya. Earth Touch had the privilege of joining them for the South African leg of the trip and we’ll be joining them again shortly to document the last two weeks of the trip in Kenya.” Earth Touch has a long standing relationship with the expedition leader, Carla Geyser. “When she told us of her ambitious plans to set up this extraordinary journey, we were eager to get involved,” says Lustig. She further explains how Earth Touch prides itself on creating a community of like-minded greenies across the globe who are passionate and intent on understanding and protecting the planet’s wildlife and wild spaces. “Elephant Ignite was the perfect project with which to further this goal. We care about conservation and it was important for us to get involved in this amazing project in order to give the initiative and the projects on the ground as much exposure as possible,” adds Lustig. “Africa’s elephants are in trouble, we can’t just sit around and do nothing about it,” says Geyser. “Elephants are facing a number of threats, including a severe shortage of funds that are needed for projects on the ground that could possibly be the line between saving them, or losing them as a species.” This news documentary will follow the travels and work of this dedicated team of female pioneers on their journey across Africa to raise funds for elephant protection. “Earth Touch News Network will be documenting all the team’s work with the aim of raising as much awareness as possible for the various organisations working on the ground to save Africa’s elephants from the poaching scourge that has recently escalated across Africa,” adds Lustig. Emphasising that there are

many remarkable people fighting for Earth’s wildlife and Earth Touch hopes to showcase their determination and passion. Not only is Earth Touch focusing on the story of these women on a mission, they are ensuring that through their various online platforms, organisations on the ground receive as much awareness as possible. “The Elephant Ignite team is also dedicated to enriching the lives of local people with a specific focus on minimising human-animal conflict. Awareness and money has been raised for projects dedicated to ensuring that such conflicts are resolved and Earth Touch aims to document these stories,” explains Lustig. Earth Touch will be producing individual short form video news stories for their online platforms, reporting on the tireless work of conservation and community outreach across Africa. “Using the powerful story-telling medium of film, to inspire people to take action and create awareness of the poaching crisis in order to ensure that Africa’s elephants, one of the continent’s most iconic animals, are here to stay for generations to come,” says Lustig. She says the team consists of a colourful bunch of women who are fiercely passionate and dedicated to the conservation of all wildlife. “They are all great on camera, providing us with excellent commentary on the day-to-day expedition life. They all have this inherent wanderlust: every experience, new place, new elephant encounter is just as amazing as the next one. There is this enthusiasm for nature and wildlife that translates beautifully on camera. They are all such great filming subjects,” describes Lustig. They are filming using the Sony F series line (F5 and the FS7 predominantly) and are shooting the entire piece on 4K. Lustig explains they are using a lot of Canon DSLR glass lenses with Metabones adaptors. Lustig and cameraman Tyrone Marcus both find the best results for this style of documentary are achieved by

letting the subjects be themselves and by not hindering their experiences with a setup shooting style, therefore getting the most natural and honest reactions and responses from the people they are filming. Lustig says they will be taking a GoPro OMNI 360 rig with to Kenya. “It’s a great opportunity to provide our audience with a completely immersive VR experience,” adds Lustig. Earth Touch was on expedition with the team for the first two weeks in August and will be joining them again for the last two weeks of the expedition. Armed with handy cams and iPhones, the expedition crew have been filming their adventures in between professional filming dates. “We’ll have a release of the full length piece towards the end of the year but keep an eye on our website for updates on the team’s amazing adventures and short form features about some of the organisations we filmed at as well as snippets from the team’s cameras,” says Lustig. One of the biggest challenges for Earth Touch has been the time where they could not be on the expedition. “We solved this by giving the team a very quick filming crash course on their iPhones and handy cams with implicit instructions to not film vertically,” explains Lustig. “I’ve had a look at the first set of footage and it’s great. Having the team film each other was a great way of getting some very intimate and heart-felt interviews,” she adds. Music will be sourced from Audio Network and editing will be done using Premiere and Pro Tools to do the final mix. Filming wildlife comes with its own set of challenges. It’s unpredictable with no guarantees, yet it is imperative to speak up for the life that suffers while greed consumes. As the expedition team’s journey comes to an end with the close of 2016, may it inspire more people to take action for what they care about, and may the African elephant find peace on their land. – Cera-Jane Catton november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 33


fESTIValS & marKETS

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Joburg film festival launches

At Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, Pedro Pimenta, former programme director of the 2015 Durban International Film Festival, announced the upcoming launch of a new festival to take place in Johannesburg – the Joburg Film Festival (JFF). Scheduled to run from 28 October to 5 November 2016, the inaugural edition of the week-long industry event will be run by and alongside the annual TV market DISCOP Africa. Venues Positioned as a “truly urban festival,“ a host of private and public screenings of more than 60 films – comprising South African, African and international productions – will take place at 20 diverse venues across the City of Johannesburg including Kings Cinema in Alexandra, the courtyard of Constitution Hill, and historical cinema The Majestic, which was once a movie-going hub and now operates as a church. Festival partner Ster-Kinekor will also host screenings at cinemas including The Zone in Rosebank, Maponya Mall in Soweto, Newtown Junction in the CBD and many more. Pedro Pimenta, artistic director of the Joburg Film Festival says that the objective of the festival is “to be a world class film festival in a world class African city, providing a platform for African film excellence to their makers, stimulating and challenging audiences through the power of access and facilitating dialogues and skills transfer to the industry in general.”

industry Programme As part of its commitment to the local film industry, the JFF will present a wellrounded, albeit compact, industry programme in partnership with Africa’s largest TV content market DISCOP Johannesburg – taking place from 2 to 4 November 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre. The industry programme will include a host of targeted 34 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

workshops, panel discussions, roundtables and other such events. With the aim to afford African film industry players with the opportunity to develop and share their expertise, topics on the industry programme include the importance of post-production, as well as a spotlight on women filmmakers, writers, producers, directors and show-runners. “The Joburg Film Festival will propose a small film industry programme, as part of DISCOP Africa, essentially centered around post-production relevance to achieve excellence towards reaching markets and audiences. A full day programme will include lectures, workshops, panels by experts in the field, followed by one-on-one sessions with sales agents and post-production expertise for selected film projects in post-production,” Pimenta expands. “In partnership with DISCOP, sessions around the themes ‘Women in Media’ and ‘IPO – The State of Film Distribution’ will take place with various local and international speakers.” Additionally the festival will present a range of Youth and Audience Development Film Industry Career Awareness Workshops in partnership with the National Broadcast Institute. Targeting people under the age of 35, with a Grade 12 qualification, and a focus on unemployed youth with little or no filmmaking experience, these workshops are aimed and designed specifically for participants who are passionate about entering the film and television industry. Participants will learn the fundamental

tools of digital filmmaking, conceptualising, researching, writing, producing, directing, cinematography, and editing.

Film Selection The festival’s film selection, curated by a small but adept team made up of serious industry players, includes a number of world and African premieres, a broad selection of local and international feature films and documentaries, a variety of French language films from Francophone Africa and France, as well as a selection of top class Nigerian productions. Opening night will see the world premiere of director John Irvin’s Mandela’s Gun. Other films scheduled to have African and/or world premieres at the festival include Vaya by Akin Omotoso, Chemo Club by Thandi Brewer, The Whale Caller by Zola Maseko, Hatchet Hour by Judy Naidoo, Push and Shove produced under the Youth Filmmaker Project, and Love and Kwaito by Stephina Zwane. Documentary highlights include the world premiere of Rehad Desai’s The Giant is Falling and a screening of Soweto Times of Wrath by Siphamandla Bongwana. The festival will close with a screening of the acclaimed historical drama, Birth of a Nation by Nate Parker (USA).

Providing diverse films to diverse audiences With Johannesburg already playing home

to a number of diverse film festivals including Jozi Film Festival, Rapid Lion, Mzansi Women Film Festival, Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, The Soweto Film Festival and The European Film Festival, the question arises of how exactly does and will the Joburg Film Festival differ in its contribution to these other already established industry events. Pimenta says that while some differences are immediately obvious in terms of size, number of films, venues, screenings, attendees and presence of talent, others will only be evident post the first edition of the JFF. Lisa Henry, representative from Jozi Film Festival which takes place annually at the Bioscope in Maboneng, says that one major difference between the Joburg Film Festival and Jozi Film Festival is that the latter does not curate its festival but relies on a call for submissions, “making the festival an egalitarian one – any filmmaker stands the chance to have his/ her/their film screened at our festival and by doing this, we offer the emerging filmmaker a worthy platform for their work alongside some of the best filmmakers in the industry…We are also 100 per cent independent.” The importance of the aforementioned festivals however is not adequately measured in their comparison to each other but rather in the realisation that each play a significant role in their own way, all sharing in the desire “to provide diverse films to diverse audiences,” says Pimenta. “One, Two, Three Vietnam Che Guevara used to say… Faced with the huge predominance of a certain kind of storytelling, it is only valuable to create and multiply small zones of ‘resistance’ to cultural domination. All actively seek out diversity, driven by the belief that all people have the desire and the right to see their stories on screen,” concludes


| fESTIValS & marKETS

let the

adventure begin…

on your couch

oUtdoor CULtUrE: Still from the film unReal Tour

A short film marathon made by adventurers around the globe is an ambitious way to motivate even the most devoted couch potato. As the year fizzles out and the silly season starts with the laying of tinsel across mall entrances, it will be no time at all before we arrive at that dreaded day which requires us to make remorse-riddled resolutions made after a continual cheery binge. If you missed the bAnff mountain film festival world Tour at SA Ster-Kinekor cinemas through October then you might be short of inspiration.

C

ourtesy of Cape Union Mart, the annual festival, now in its eleventh year, kicked off with the SA winning submission from this year’s Cape Union Mart Adventure Film Challenge. Mowbray to Mowbray Ridge was a short by young Cape Town filmmaker Ziyaad Solomon. “Every year, local filmmakers are invited to submit a five-minute short film on South African outdoor culture. With this initiative, we wish to provide aspiring South African filmmakers with a platform to celebrate their love for the outdoors, as celebrating the outdoors is what we’re all about,” says Odile Hufkie, marketing manager at Cape Union Mart. Speaking of the winning film, he says: “This film not only celebrates trail running and the beautiful locations it takes you to, but

speaks to the much more relevant social challenge of unhealthy lifestyles, and more importantly, making the decision to get off the couch, get fit and explore.” Solomon aims to do just that, get people off the couch. He attended the Banff festival in 2015, had a pastime of filmmaking and was an outdoor guy who was motivated to making something worthwhile. “While watching the movies I got the urge to just grab my camera and get out there to shoot an adventure movie. And then the perfect opportunity presented itself.” With a passion for running, filmmaking and the outdoors, he decided to combine all three passions to tell the story of Mowbray to Mowbray Ridge. Solomon explains that the urban parts of the film were shot in Observatory and

Mowbray, and the trail running sections on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, the route leading up to Mowbray Ridge and around the block house. “It took about two days to shoot and two to three weeks to edit. And, as is so often the case, it was completed the night before the deadline,” Solomon says. Solomon was challenged by funding limitations, borrowing wherever possible, but then he won and furthermore says he fell in love with trail running. “I’m so excited to have won the challenge. I had my doubts about entering at first, but I felt really passionate about the story and the concept behind the video. Whether it won or not, I wanted to make this film and share it with the world. It’s a dream come true,” he beams. Since the competition Solomon has started his own company, Long Street Life, an online and video content creative agency So, is it enough to get you off the couch? The competition will be held again next year, and all you need is a five minute short of your outdoors, your adventure, your fun in the world around you, and you could win the grand prize and have your short screen at the 2017 Banff Film Festival in SA. Speaking of, after the screening of the SA challenge winner the Banff festival commences with a series of shorts. The adventure starts with 55 Hours in Mexico, where a group of friends fly from the States to Veracruz to climb the thirdhighest peak in North America and the continent’s highest volcano. They ski down it all in a weekend. Next was an artful mountain bike track in the Builder, a poetic tour of building trails through the forest and seeing tricks on a bike. From the mountain the festival flows straight to the sea, stopping at Living Rivers, where high in the mountain peaks of Montana,

Wyoming and Idaho, surfers are finding standing waves that never end, and riding them all the way, showing that surfers are not limited to the sea. From the gorgeous graphics of the rivers we see Women’s Speed Ascent, a succesful attempt to achieve the women’s speed record for the ascent of the Nose on El Cap in the Yosemite National Park. Ascending further we went into Balloonskiing – Heimschnee where we watch a team abseil off a hot air balloon, don skis and jump off onto the white trail of untouched snow. From up in the air to the Isle of Man where Will Sutton: Homefree makes parkour look like child’s play and you will likely attempt to flickflack to get tissues which you will need when you watch Denali, a beautiful tribute to a man’s best friend. While you might shed a tear you will be left with a desire to hit the surf. We are then lead on to Curiosity, enough to inspire ultra-marathoners as we watch teams prepare for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, and witness some complete and others do their best. In Pretty Faces we head back to the slopes this time airlifted to the Alaskan peaks for one woman’s dream come true. After skiing down we see a mountain bike take on every terrain in Unreal. The festival wraps up with Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky, two mates successfully climb the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia, which is gruelling, challenging and inspiring. If you find yourself enthused to film your own adventure, there is no time like the present to get going on your own five minute short to enter into next year’s competition. May the adventures of others inspire you to make adventures of your own, and capture them to further inspire. – Cera-Jane Catton november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 35


VIrTUal rEalITy | oPINIoN

Virtual reality: storytelling’s new frontier By whatwewant

Johannesburg-based branded entertainment creators, whatwewant, who have been making extensive use of fast-growing virtual reality technology to weave highly immersive new content, expound their ideas on the future of the medium.

I

n cinema, the relationship between the filmmaker and the audience member has been integral to justifying the art’s existence. Without it, any given piece would be meaningless, let alone be able to thrive past itself in the interpretation of the filmmaker’s statement by the audience, who interpret, magnify and in some instances create meaning… But the landscape of this exchange is radically shifting, or not, with the fruition of virtual reality as a new storytelling medium. We’ll elaborate on why it’s a radically different means of communication in a moment, but it’s important to understand how virtual reality got here, and why it took so long

36 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

to come into its own. Humanity’s endeavour to replicate the process of stereopsis, the brain’s mechanism of merging two separate images from two inputs, has been active since Sir Charles Wheatstone’s invention of the first stereoscope in 1838. The simulation of binocular depth perception, where two static images were reflected at an angle of 45 degrees, was an important first step in our pursuit to make stories more and more immersive. This technology has evolved throughout the past century by slipstreaming behind the exponential curve of tech development. From Ivan Sutherland’s gargantuan device in 1965, the Ultimate Display,

arguably the beginning of augmented reality, to the crude View Master that you used as a child, and of course, cinema, we have arrived at the point where numerous technologies have converged to create the format of 360 video. So why the hype? Why has this tech accumulated $4 billion in funding since 2010? And why did AR and VR startups see a 347 per cent increase in funding by venture capitalists in the first quarter of this year alone? We’re arguing that immersion is key to this, not to mention the potential applications for virtual reality across the socioeconomic landscape. It’s disrupting everything from training to therapy to tourism, let alone entertainment media, where it’s finding itself in the pockets of more and more consumers, thanks to the exponential tech inside your smartphone. The power of immersion cannot be understated. In well-executed experiences, you’ll find participants using personal pronouns, exclaiming, “wow, I’m here...” or, “wow, that character is talking to me.” The replication of bioscopic vision has bridged the divide between the viewer and the filmed world. They are a part of it. The power of this in fictional storytelling has put stars in the eyes of

storytellers. Erroneous assumptions about the ‘disruption of cinema’ have been flung about, with some even imagining the cinema of the future, where viewers will don head mounted displays as opposed to sitting in cinema seats. The problem here is that the popularity of immersive 360 video content has hoodwinked storytellers into assuming that virtual reality is the evolution of cinema, whereas it’s actually the evolution of gaming. As virtual reality experience designers, we’re arguing that cinema and 360 video are not the same thing. Key to this argument is the role of the protagonist and the role of 360 video as an experience based platform. Cinema has spent more than a century developing the sophisticated meanings and associations of film grammar in order to show an objective view of a narrative world. Through the exercise of empathy, sympathy and the vicarious experience of narrative conflict, audience members interpret the filmmakers’ meaning and the protagonist is key to this engagement with the visual medium. Few mediums can do this as well as cinema can. Even games integrate cinematic cutscenes in order to piggyback on cinema’s prowess and create an emotional


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connection between the player and the characters they control (or simply as an expositional tool). If we contextualise cinema as objective, and virtual reality as subjective (try to ignore the fact that filmmakers use the term ‘subjective camera’ to describe a character’s point of view in a scene), we can start to dissect why filmmakers are struggling to match cinema’s narrative principles in virtual reality experiences, because in VR, you navigate the 360 sphere autonomously, whereas in film, you are guided through the world by a director. Let’s use Disney’s virtual reality experience, Through Mowgli’s Eyes Part II: Cold Lairs to contextualise this argument. In the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book, Mowgli meets the fearsome King Louis, a gargantuan orangutan, that tries to strongarm the mancub into creating man’s red-flower (fire, for the uninitiated). Jon Favreau demonstrates Mowgli’s vulnerability in the scene because he is unable to create the red flower. The viewer sees his impotent cry for help, his desperation as a helpless child. Whereas in the 360 video experience of the same scene, you are Mowgli and all you see is King Louis and the surroundings. That’s it. There’s no drama. As a companion experience to the film, the VR experience gives us an appreciation for the ape’s scale as he encroaches uncomfortably close to us with a wild, greedy glare in his eyes. It makes the viewer feel small and vulnerable. It’s powerful stuff because it’s immersive and real, but in isolation, it’s dramatically impotent. Why? There’s no protagonist. The absence of the protagonist and the antagonist interaction means that there is no conflict. Some would argue, “but you are the protagonist,” when you actually are not. You’re not even a participant, because the experience is passive, not interactive. In 360 video you’re simply a viewer. A viewer and a protagonist are two very different things. As a result, the experience feels gimmicky, utilising one of the virtual reality experience designer’s favourite tools – discomfort. Currently, VR experiences are dominated by characters glaring at the lens. Think of what happened when 3D first came to audiences (also enabled by the process of stereopsis, by the way). It didn’t take long for a director to bounce a berry off of Dwayne Johnson’s popping pec, right at the audience, in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Hell, even the title’s a gimmick. This is symptomatic of storytellers’ attempts to try inject a sense of emotional engagement into 360 video experiences. This ‘Being John Malkovich’ effect doesn’t get any more engaging when you’re being driven by the character (when the camera moves). In fact, as virtual reality experience designers, we’ll tell you how problematic it becomes because of stitch lines and nausea. Simply put, filmed 360 video content is not at the point where you can strap a rig to Optimus Prime’s head 38 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december ecember 2016

without making your audience chuck their cookies. Furthermore, the whole point of virtual reality is for the viewer to autonomously navigate the 360 canvas, commanding their field of view by changing the direction of the character’s head kind of defeats the purpose. Some VR experience designers have sidestepped these problems by simply placing the viewer in the scene, allowing them to objectively observe character interactions. But that’s stepping into the Rhineland between cinema and VR, which is problematic because of the fundamental differences between the mediums. Thanks to the century-old crafts of editing and cinematography, the objective view of a narrative world is cinema’s domain. There’s no close-up in VR. This is why the relationship between the audience and the storyteller is shifting. In VR, the experience designer hands over control to the viewer. Although the experience designer may tempt the viewer to certain points in the 360 sphere, they must relinquish control of the field of view to the viewer, not dictate it, as is the case in film. Having said that, there’s no question that VR is establishing its own domain of powerful storytelling. Chris Milk famously dubbed VR the ultimate empathy machine when he presented a United Nations VR experience to members of the World Economic Forum. This experience was called Clouds Over Sidra (available on the Within app and website), where a young Syrian girl guides you through the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. He remarked on how unprecedented their reactions were, saying in a Ted Talk that they were affected by it. As a window to other people’s worlds, virtual reality is driving transformation as a medium of

documentation, because you can be present in the subject’s bedroom. The power of documentaries lies in the visual testimony, and the immersive power of virtual reality is only enhancing the medium’s power. Virtual reality is however, the cheese to gaming’s macaroni. True immersion in a fictional world is what the first person shooter subgenre has been trying to do for 20 odd years. Driving a character, as opposed to being driven by a character in a passive 360 video, allows the participant to have a direct, autonomous impact on the forces of antagonism in the narrative world. In this way, the dissonance with the function of the protagonist that film is experiencing is not present in gaming, and the digital world has only become more real because of VR’s immersive power. Jon Favreau is one of many film directors that are creating interactive experiences in virtual reality with Gnomes and Goblins, an experience where the viewer forges a friendship with a tiny, inquisitive goblin by helping it forage for food. An immediate emotional connection is created when you help this tiny character get a peach that’s too out of reach (our creative developer had to jump to reach the peach because he was too short). The use of the HTC Vive’s sophisticated calibration mechanisms allows you to feel truly present in the Goblin’s fantastical forest home, because your distance from every object in the 3-Dimensional environment is measured

relative to the space your physical body is in. This demonstrates how there are degrees of interactivity or immersion in virtual reality when more and more sensory stimuli are activated. Some experience designers, such as the pioneers at the VR theme park The Void have used haptic feedback technology and environmental effects to expand on this idea. Ultimately, 360 video is in its infancy. Although we’re skeptical about some of its narrative applications, we’re eager to see how this powerful storytelling tool will grow and become more accessible as more consumers became aware of its potential and increase its popularity. You may wonder why we have such a big opinion on virtual reality. As content creators specialising in exponential technologies, we’ve been introducing the market to virtual reality for the past 18 months and have found success in experiences that operate outside of the mass market. In this small interim before everyone with a smartphone has a VR headset, such as the Google Cardboard, the Samsung Gear VR or Google’s up and coming Daydream VR, the only equitable way for marketers to get audiences interacting with virtual reality is to take it to them. In below the line activations, sales and training, we’ve produced work for organisations such as Internet Solutions, Vodacom, Sun International and more.


| VIrTUal rEalITy

Virtual reality to the masses Virtual reality has been around longer than you know. In fact, it may surprise you to find that the concept was first referred to in the 1935 science fiction novel Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, which uncannily described a gogglebased reality wherein the user experienced a holographic recording of fictional realism, including smell and touch. Fast forward 81 years and Weinbaum’s work of fiction has undoubtedly become reality – virtual reality.

T

he science and technology realm has always had a loose yet distinct relationship with the dreamers of science fiction and in almost every case their dreams were only realised into the mainstream when technology was sufficiently advanced to provide the means. This often took decades, or, in the case of some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s work, centuries. Technology today has afforded us the ability to accomplish things only dreamed about just a few years ago. From flat panel displays, to speaking to people around the globe via video calls to handheld devices such as smart phones that boast millions of times more computing power than the systems that

launched the Apollo missions to the moon. In some ways we are moving toward a Star Trek world of Holodecks and brave new worlds where no man has gone before. VR is one of those worlds. So, we now have the processing power, programming prowess, understanding of the human brain/eye/ ear relationship and display technology to provide immersive, hyper-real experiences through HMDs, or Head Mounted Displays, either in monoscopic or stereoscopic views. Add rich and compelling audio into the mix and you’re there. You’re really there. This is Weinbaum’s dream. But how is the content delivered to the user and how is it produced?

Applications and technology Virtual reality is defined in the dictionary as “a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware, and experienced or controlled by movement of the body.” As of 2016 we have numerous HMDs and platforms on the market, such as the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, which are tethered (connected via a cable) to a PC and experienced via the SteamVR and Oculus platforms, respectively; the Sony PlayStation VR, which is console-based and tethered on the Playstation 4 platform; and the Samsung Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus and works on the Android mobile platform. There is even a super-affordable and nifty cardboard headset from Google called Cardboard that sells for a quid per unit and uses your smartphone as the display, similar to the Samsung Gear VR. More advanced systems like the HTC Vive incorporate other features in a more comprehensive package such as a built-in front-facing camera, two motion controllers, haptic sensors for forced feedback and two base-stations for defining the space wherein you’ll be using the VR. The sensors then track your movements in a defined area instead of

from a seating position. Systems such as these require massive amounts of processing power so if you’re interested in getting a PC-based VR system just be warned that HTC recommends minimum system requirements of an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and a GeForce GTX 970 GPU. Add that to the cost of the headset itself and costs rise astronomically. Despite most of these platforms being around for some time now the VR industry is still somewhat of a wild, wild west in terms of new ways of exploring the applications of the experience and the production of the content. What once was a novel idea has become bleedingedge and now there are myriad applications from education and training, to fine arts and engineering. Med students are even using the technology to work on virtual cadavers instead of the real thing and strides are being made in exposure therapy to help people overcome their phobias. At the moment the foremost application worldwide is gaming. Gamers crave the most immersive experience possible and VR provides that. In a lot of ways the gaming industry has driven the platform causing content developers in other application genres have taken a lot of cues from it, the result being that game engines such as Unreal

november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 39


VIrTUal rEalITy

|

and Unity3D are being employed in other areas to create an interactive world outside of the gaming genre. Advertising has seen a massive upturn in the amount of VR being implemented as of late and many big brands have hired VR companies to supply their customers with virtual experiences of their products. It is clear that the value of VR has finally been realised in the minds of the corporate world.

Vr production A common misconception in VR – particularly VR that has used cameras to provide a real-life experience – is that it is akin to directing a film. This cannot be further from the truth. In fact, a VR experience has far more in common with gaming so new ways have to be conceptualised to drive the user to interaction while at the same time telling an immersive story. Locally we have a few companies that are pioneering this technology, such as Bladeworks based in Bryanston and whatwewant, based in Parkwood. Admittedly, the VR gaming industry in South Africa is in its infancy so companies such as these are leveraging the VR platform in other directions such as in advertising and exciting new platforms such as live concerts. Imagine putting on your headset and being immersed in a live concert from the comfort of your living room. This is happening. Now. In South Africa. So where does the process start? As

40 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

mentioned, this is not a traditional filmmaking exercise. An entire rethink of the approach is needed to drive the content home to the user in an effective way and that often requires mental acrobatics. A large part of that is getting over the novelty of the technology itself, which is still front and centre at this early stage. “I always go back to the (3D) movie trailer for Journey 2: the Mysterious Island,” remarks Cole Matthews, creative developer at whatwewant. “The character throws a berry that bounces towards the viewer. That perfectly encapsulates the kitsch idea of, ‘I don’t know what to do with this new tech so I’m going to throw it in your face and it’s going to be very gimmicky.’ The majority of narrative-based VR experiences at the moment feature characters just glaring at you with incredible make-up and art direction. But because it’s an incredibly immersive medium it does feel uncomfortable but that is novelty. It’s not sophisticated story-telling yet.” Matthews and Bladeworks VR specialist Jaco Kraamwinkel go on to reiterate that VR will take more and more cues from the gaming world as content producers start to make the experience more interactive and experiential for the user. “The lines will start blurring between gaming and films,” says Kraamwinkel. “As soon as you start interacting with something it’s more of a crossover into gaming.” Creative lead at whatwewant, Erik De Jager, goes on to explain that despite the

tilt of the proverbial deck towards gaming in VR, the similarities to film cannot be outright disregarded but they are, however, limited. “You’ll probably find in the production process that there are a lot of similarities between film and VR,” says De Jager. “I think the biggest difference is that the filmmaker no longer has ultimate control over where the viewer is going to look. So I think you become experience designers instead of filmmakers and that is the big difference.” The best place to start when approaching this kind of content creation is a brief from the client. Getting your head around how to accomplish that in the 360 degree realm is the trick but generally, in the case of Bladeworks, the process starts with an array of cameras, usually around six to twelve Go Pro 4K cameras, mounted in a frame that allows the entire 360 degree panorama to be filmed. The resulting videos are then stitched together in specialised software into a 360 panorama that encompasses the entire environment. Once the video has been stitched together the entire capture has to be calibrated and smoothed due to the lighting and exposure differential between each shot. “The alternative is to use a game engine such as Unity3D to produce the VR environment. But as both Kraamwinkel and De Jager admit, this sort of approach in a gaming and/or interactive VR experience is still in development in South Africa. For now, however, companies like Bladeworks and

whatwewant remain on the cutting edge of VR content and Bladeworks is currently using game engines like Unity3D in other ways. “We are capable of creating fully immersive VR environments with our current software compliment and our 3D team is highly skilled at that,” remarks Kraamwinkel.

Conclusion VR is an exciting and bewildering form of content delivery, be it in the gaming world, advertising or any of the other myriad potential applications for the platform. The most exciting thing about it, perhaps, is that its full potential has not been realised yet and we are only beginning to view its full impact as it unfolds. VR experiences such as Google’s Tiltbrush, that the author was given an opportunity to experience, is one example of a revolutionary 3D painting tool for the HTC Vive that puts the user right in the middle of their creation, in real time. Once you experience something like that the mind boggles at the possibilities. It is clear that companies like Bladeworks and whatwewant are part of a select few of pioneers in this field in South Africa and we can only imagine what the future holds for them. – Greg Bester


P R ODU C T IO N

UPD ATES

for fUrTHEr DETaIlS VISIT www.screenafrica.com

Those productions in red are newly listed this month ProDUcTIoN UPDaTES orDEr of INformaTIoN 1. Title 2. Production company 3. Director 4. Genre

IN PRODUCTION 20 aND Free X CON Films Dir: Munier Parker Documentary 50/50 Clive Morris Productions Current Affairs 53 eXtra M-Net Inhouse Productions Dir: Navan Chetty Magazine a Brother’S LoVe 1300 Pictures (Pty) Ltd Dir: Elvis Nkosi Feature a CaLeNDar oF eVeNtS – MeDupi & KuSiLe Betta Beta Communications Prod: Tommy Doig Documentary a MaN oF hiS oWN priNCipaLS Sekgopha Productions Prod: Buhle Mofulatsi / Thapelo Hlagala TV movie aQueLLe’ MiDMar MiLe 2015 Media Ventures Prod/Dir: Chris Moolman Documentary aFriCa 360 eNews News Head: Patrick Conroy Current affairs aFro CaFÉ SeaSoN 7 Bonngoe Productions Prod: Pepsi Pokane Music artSCuLtureX taLeNt 1000 ChaMpioNShipS Michics Global Communications Exec Prod: Mishack Motshweni Series auDitor geNeraL Global Access Creative Agency Dir: Brad Montgomery/Natalie Varoy Corporate BaCKBoNe proJeCt Global Access Creative Agency Prod: GA Creative Agency Documentary BehiND the Door/BeYoND reaSoNaBLe DouBt Deepend Films & Hartiwood Films Exec prod: Paulene Abrey & Paul Kruger Documentary BiNNeLaND Stark Films Prod/Dir: Friedrich / Elsje Stark Series BLooDLiNe: NoW or NeVer Dual Films Prod/Dir: Darrell Roodt Feature Film BoNiSaNaNi Grounded Media Talk Show BraVo! Homebrew Films Prod/Dir: Paul Venter TV Magazine BreNt oWeNS uNWrappeD… South aFriCa Oxyg3n Media Prod: Rebecca Fuller-Campbell TV Series

Bugatti together Lucky Fish Productions Dir: Raphaël Crombez Commercial CaiNe’S LegaCY Media Navigation Prod/Dir: Dan Akinlolu Short Film Carte BLaNChe (iNSertS) Modern Times Prod: Sophia Phirippides News Carte BLaNChe ShortS TIA productions Prod / Dir: Tarryn Lee Crossman News ChiLDreN oF War Full Circle Productions Exec prod: Nhlanhla Mthethwa Documentary CLaaSeNS DeSigNS MarKetiNg ViDeoS Panache Video Productions Prod/Dir: Liesel Eiselen Marketing videos CooL CatS Red Pepper Pictures Prod: Cecil Berry Children’s Show CorteX MiNiNg FC Hamman Films Prod Man: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video CoMe DiNe With Me South aFriCa Rapid Blue Prod: Kee-Leen Irvine Reality CuttiNg eDge SABC News Current Affairs DiaMoND BroKer oF CoNgo Bendimir Productions PTY LTD Prod: Dede Tshibangu Documentary DiMeNSioN Data Global Access Creative Agency Dir: Natalie Varoy Corporate DiNNer DiVaS 2 Blonds and a Redhead Filming Prod: Anne Myers Series DiShoNeSt Inhlakanipho Films Dir: Vusi Nhlapo Feature Film DitoKeLo tSa MeDupi LMOL Production Dir: Lizzy Moloto Feature DiY Met riaaN Prod: Riaan Venter-Garforth Magazine earth Beat Tekweni TV Productions Prod: Sandra Herrington Series eaSterN MoSaiC Red Carpet Productions Prod: Saira Essa / Mark Corlett Magazine eChoeS iN the VaLLeY – the StorY oF MapuNguBWe Full Circle Productions Dir: Mandla Dube Documentary eND gaMe Fireworx Media/ Tunc Productions Prod: Bridget Pickering Dir: Akin Omotoso/ Thandie Brewer/ Thabang Moleya Feature eXpreSSo (SeaSoN 2) Cardova Prod: Paul van Deventer Series

FaCe oF geMiNi Footprint Media TV Prod: Cheryl Delport Series FaCiLitY MaNageMeNt LeCtureS (a4FM) Panache Video Productions Dir/ Prod: Liesel Eiselen Educational Faith toDaY Impact Christian Media Prod: Carl Schultz TV Series FiVe FiNgerS For MarSeiLLeS Be Phat Motel, Game 7 Films, Stage 5 Films, Above the Clouds Prod: Sean Drummond Feature Film FoX NeWS ChaNNeL Betta Beta Communications Prod/Dir: Tommy Doig News Free State tourSiM iNDaBa Our Time Productions Dir: Jaun de Meillon Corporate FreNZY Red Pepper Pictures Prod: Morena Sefatsa Variety FrieNDS LiKe theSe Urban Brew Studios Prod: Trishana Singh Game show geNeratioNS Morula Pictures Prod: Mfundi Vundla Series gLaM guru Homebrew Films Prod/Dir: Paul Venter Actuality TV Series goLD DiggerS SeaSoN 2 Urban Brew Studios Prod/Dir: Herbert Hadebe TV Series gooD MorNiNg aFriCa Planet Image Productions SA Prod/Dir: Wale Akinlabi Magazine goSpeL goLD Engage Entertainment Prod: Sthembile Mhlongu Music got it Global Access Creative Agency Dir: Guy Sclanders Corporate the greateSt thiNg Noble Pictures Prod: Claudia Noble Feature Film groeN NaMiBie 2 Homebrew Films Prod: Jaco Loubser Wildlife heat WaVe Ruby Rocket Media Dir: Eddie Edwards TV Series heCtiC 99 Okuhle Media Prod: Wilna van Schalkwyk Magazine hitaChi poWer aFriCa MeDupi aND KuSiLe Betta Beta Communications Prod/Dir: Tommy Doig Documentary houSe CaLL Urban Brew Studios Prod: Lawrence Molepo Talk Show igNite Footprint Media TV Prod: Cheryl Delport Reality

outlandishza outlandishza outlandishdale

We get you to remote locations Tel: +27 82 850 6717 ihaWu Le SiSWe Provoke Entertainment Dir: Sechaba Morojele TV Series ipareNt traiNiNg CLipS Global Access Creative Agency Dir: Guy Sclanders Corporate iMiZWiLiLi Ukhamba Productions Prod: Alfred Mpofu Music iNKaBa Urban Brew Studios Prod: John Kani Telenovela iN SearCh oF our oWN Open Window school of film arts Prod: Adriaan De la Rey Documentary iSiDiNgo SeaSoN 19 Endemol South Africa Prod: Pumla Hoppa, Leo Phiri Soap

email: dale@outlandish.co.za JoBurg taXi Xcut Studios Prod: Dave Kaminer Documentary Jou ShoW Homebrew Films Prod: Jaco Loubser Talk show KWeLa Homebrew Films Prod/Dir: Paul Venter TV Magazine KhuMBuL’eKhaYa Urban Brew Studios Prod: Khulile Nxumalo Factual Entertainment KoKKeDoor 2 Homebrew films Prod: Jaco Loubser and Paul Venter Cooking reality series KoLLig Homebrew Films Prod: Jaco Loubser Magazine

november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 41


PROD U CTION

UP DAT E S

Broadcast Brands To Africa

Master Dealer Africa Tel: +27 (0) 762569255 info@mdafrica.com

www.masterdealerafrica.com

1464 Vragboot Street Cnr Vooraadskip Streets Laserpark, Honeydew

KoNa The Directors Team (Pty) Ltd Prod/Dir: Laurence Lurie / Cathy Sykes Series KooLCoN Corporate ViDeo FiX Post Production/ Marketing AV Marketing Video Late Nite NeWS oN e.tV Diprente Productions Prod: Tamsin Andersson Series Light girLS South aFriCaN uNit White Heron Pictures Prod: Themba Sibeko Documentary LiVe Urban Brew Music LiVe aMp Urban Brew Studios Prod: Sjula Dlamini Music Show LiVe Lotto ShoW Urban Brew Game Show LoVe ruNS out Muti Films Prod: Shanna Freedman Feature Film MaChiSMo Cheruscopic Productions Prod/Dir: Neil Schell Animation series

MahaDi SeaSoN 2 Urban Brew Studios Prod: Khulile Nxumalo Reality Show MaMeLLo SeaSoN 2 Endemol Shine Africa Prod: Shirley Adonisi TV Drama Series MaNDeLa’S guN DV8 films Dir: John Irvin Feature MaraNg eState: MiXeD uSeD DeVeLopMeNt NoV/ DeC Our Time Productions Dir: Jaun de Meillon Documentary MaSheLeNg1 LMOL Production Dir: Lizzy Moloto Feature MaSheLeNg 2 LMOL Production Dir: Jonny Muteba Feature MaSStaLK Global Access Creative Agency Prod: Brad Montgomery Corporate MatriCS upLoaDeD Educational Improvement and Study Help (EISH) Prod: Lisa Blakeway Educational

42 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

MotSWaKo Carol Bouwer Productions Prod: Grant Paul Roy Talk Show MCa traiNiNg Global Access Creative Agency Dir: Guy Sclanders Corporate M-Net Short FiLMS Current Affairs Films Prod/ Dir: Jane Thandi Lipman Film MurDer oF a ForMer FirSt LaDY Sabido Productions Dir/Prod: Catherine Rice Documentary MuVhaNgo Word of Mouth Prod: Pieter Grobbelaar Feature MY geNeratioN Current Affairs Films Dir: Jane Lipman TV Series MY NaMe iS FuNeKa Sabido Productions Dir/Prod: Catherine Rice Documentary MZaNSi iNSiDer Bonngoe Productions Prod: Pepsi Pokane Magazine NeiLL aNthoNY – the priVate CheF Okuhle Media Prod: Grant Flynn Cooking Show Net1 – SaSSa Betta Beta Communications Prod: Tommy Doig Corporate NeWS Night eNews Prod: Nikiwe Bikitsha Current Affairs in oSCar piStoriuS DoCuMeNtarY iNSertS TIA Productions Dir/ Prod: Tarryn Crossman Documentary paSeLLa Tswelopele Productions Dir: Liani Maasdorp / Werner Hefer Magazine paWN StarS South aFriCa Rapid Blue Prod: Kee-Leen Irvine, Ed Worster, Johan Naude and Kat Weatherall Reality phuNDeKa reaDiNg prograMMe SummerTime Productions Exec Prod: Phundeka (NGO) Documentary poWer CoMBat ZoNe Mixed Motion Entertainment Dir: Dieter Gottert Sport proJeCt MV Zen Crew Prod: Laura Tarling Music raNDS With SeNSe 2 Blonds and a Redhead Filming Prod: Anne Myersin Education rea oNLiNe The Torch Studio Prod/Dir: Otsetswe Sedimo Talk Show rhYthM CitY Quizzical Pictures Prod: Yula Quinn Soapie riVoNiNgo Asi-B Films Prod: Asivhanzi ‘Asi’ Mathaba Children’s Show roLLiNg With KeLLY KhuMaLo Red Pepper Prod: Cecil Barry Reality rootS Ukhamba Communications Prod: Alfred Mpofu Music

SaiNt aND FreeDoM Fighter Blue Marble Entertainment Dir: Eugene Botha Documentary SaKegeSpreK Met theo VorSter SeaSoN 5 Dirk Mostert Camera Production Prod/ Dir: Dirk Mostert Series SauBa IMAGOFILM Prod: Tam de Vries Reality TV Series SCaNDaL Ochre Moving Pictures Prod: Romano Gorlei Soapie SChoeMaN BoerDerY – MooSriVier Khaki Productions Prod/Dir: Christelle Parrott / Wynand Dreyer Documentary SeLiMathuNZi Sikhoyana Productions Prod: Baby Joe Correira Variety ShiZ NiZ Red Pepper Pictures Prod: Allen Makhubele Variety ShiFt Urban Brew Studios Prod: Bongani Maphumulo Talk show SiSterhooD Red Pepper Pictures Prod: Andy Leze Variety SiYaKhoLWa – We BeLieVe X CON Films Dir: Munier Parker Edutainment SKeeM SaaM Peu Prod/Dir: Winnie Serite TV Series SLeNDer WoNDer DoCtorS CoNFereNCe Grey Cloud Productions Dir: Jacques Brand Prod: Slender Wonder Corporate Video SLeNDer WoNDer patieNt teStiMoNiaL ViDeoS Grey Cloud Productions Dir: Jacques Brand Corporate Videos SoCCer ZoNe SABC Sports Head: Sizwe Nzimande Magazine SoDa aND MaYoraL aWarDS Global Access Creative Agency Guy Sclanders Corporate SpriNgBoK StorieS Angel Music Studio Productions Dir: Chrissie Rossouw TV Series StuDY Mate Educational Improvement and Study Help (EISH) Exec Prod: Lisa Blakeway Educational SuiDooSter Suidooster Films Prod: Colin Howard Soap SuperSWiMMer Media Ventures Prod/Dir: Chris Moolman TV Series the Chat rooM Eclipse Prod: Thokozani Nkosi Talk Show the CoMMuNiSt repuBLiC oF South aFriCa Jam TV, Creative South Africa, Nkhanyeti Production Prod: Barthelemy Ngwessam Documentary the JuStiCe FaCtor eNews Prod: Debbie Meyer Current Affairs

the reaL goBoZa 10 Urban Brew Studios Prod: Sydney Mekgwe Magazine show the reVoLutioN BetraYeD Shadow Films Prod/Dir: David Forbes Documentary the ruDiMeNtaLS Periphery Films Prod: Simon Taylor Feature the teCh report Homebrew Films Prod: Jaco Loubser Technology Magazine teMpY puShaS SeaSoN 3 Endemol Shine Africa Prod: Pumla Hopa TV Drama Series tiger KLooF – a SYMphoNY iN StoNe Box Screen Pictures Prod/Dir: Mpho Dintwa Documentary top BiLLiNg Tswelopele Productions Prod: Patience Stevens Magazine top traVeL (SeaSoN 3) Cardova Prod: Bradley van den Berg Series toWNShip Yogi GreenShoot Films Dir: Peter Matthews Documentary troopShip trageDY (working title) Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Marion Edmunds Documentary true LiFe StorieS Endemol Shine Africa Prod/Dir: Victoria Maake Docu-reality Series tShipe BorWa MaNgaNeSe MiNe Betta Beta Communications Prod / Dir: Tommy Doig Documentary tuKutiKo Celestial Touch Studio Prod/Dir: Clifford B. Okumu TV Drama VaSeLiNe eXperieNCe Xcut Studios Dir: Lee Anne Theron 4D AV production VeLDKiNDerS Kilroy Was Here! Productions Prod: Gideon Breytenbach Documentary Series ViLLa roSa Spectro Productions Dir: Luhann Jansen / Andries van der Merwe/ Leroux Botha/ Isabel Smit Series VLerKSLeep Homebrew Films Prod/Dir: Ben Heyns Reality TV Series VoLKSpeLe South aFriCa Grey Cloud Productions Dir:Jacques Brand Prod: Bertie Brink Documentary WarD 22 TIA Productions Prod/Dir: Tarryn Crossman Documentary WeeKeND aM LiVe SABC News Current Affairs WiZarD oF ZiM Away From Keyboard Dir: Samora Sekhukhune Documentary WoMB-MaN Bolobathaba Multimedia Prod: Molatelo Mainetje Documentary YiLeNgeLo LaKho Prod: Nndanganeni Mudau Current Affairs


P R ODU C T IO N YotV Urban Brew Studios Prod: Adelaide Joshua Youth show ZooM iN Footprint Media TV Prod: Cheryl Delport Talk show

IN POST-PRODUCTION a DiFFereNt CouNtrY Sabido Productions Dir: Lisa Henry Documentary series a FataL eNCouNter – the MarLeeN KoNiNgS StorY Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Johann Abrahams Documentary a LoVe Letter to LuXor Shadow Films Prod/Dir: David Forbes Short Film a Mother’S MaDNeSS Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Ayesha Ismail Documentary a StoLeN LiFe – the SaSha Leigh CrooK StorY Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Catherine Rice Documentary aFroX Co2 pLaNt FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video aFroX FiNaNCiaL reSuLtS FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video aFroX rau iNSight FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video aLL For NothiNg – the LiFe aND Death oF BruNo BroNN Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Barbara Friedman Documentary aMaKa’S KiN – the WoMeN oF NoLLYWooD Sunbow Productions & Tope Oshin Productions Prod: Tope Oshin Documentary Ba SeKWi Vu Prod. Prod/Dir: Jeanne Vu Van Documentary BeautY CoNteSt Phoenix TV Productions Prod/Dir: Koketso Sefanyetso Short Film CaeSareaN CoMpLiCatioNS SummerTime Productions Exec Prod: Professor Eckhart Buchmann Documentary CroSSBoW KiLLer Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Barbara Friedman Documentary DeBra DeeL Khaki Productions Prod: Christelle Parrott TV Series FaShioN guru Sa Pro Media & Spider – Co Productions Prod/Dir: Dee Vanzyl Reality haD Better DaYS Uniquely Novel Productions Prod/Dir: Deon VD Merwe Feature Film heLL trip ACT Animation Films Prod/Dir: Patrick Garcia Feature Film hiStoriCaL DoCuMeNtarieS: KiMBerLeY: South aFriCa Spike Productions Prod/Dir: Steve Muller Documentary

the hoCKeY StiCK KiLLer Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Melanie Rice Documentary i aM…Craig Away From Keyboard Dir: Samora Sekhukhune Documentary iN the ShaDoWS StreTalk Productions Prod/Dir: Bobby Mokhema Short Film JuLiuS haS a DreaM Creative South Africa, Nkanyethi Productions,Jam TV Prod: Bathelemy Ngwessam Documentary KNYSNa West Five Films Prod/ Dir: Maynard Kraak; Andre Velts Feature Film LiNCoLN CLaN Total Recall Media Ltd Dir: Adebanjo Oluseyi TV Series Mariah’S WorLD ZenHQ Films, SA Production Services Prod/Dir: Jeff Jenkins TV Series the MiMe artiSt Phoenix TV Productions Prod: Koketso Sefanyetso Short Film MurDer oN MiLLioNaire’S MiLe Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Barbara Friedman Documentary MY Sight For Sore eYeS Enigma Ace Films Prod/Dir: Ryan Kruger Feature Film Night oF the MaSSaCre Tshepo Lesedi Projects, Mathope & Izibuko Films Dir: Charles Khuele Documentary NightCLuB KiLLer Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Nobathembu Stefane Documentary NoeM MY SKoLLie Maxi-D Productions Prod: David Max Brown Feature Film North WeSt KiLLer Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Ayesha Ismail Documentary NYaope gaNgSterS LMOL Production Dir: Lizzy Moloto Feature perFeCt ShiSheBo Quizzical Pictures Prod: Nthabiseng Mokoena Series pLaY More goLF FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Commercials puShi- paSSioN LMOL Production Dir: Lizzy Moloto Series the Quiet BoY Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Charlene Stanley Corporate roSa 3 Two Oceans Productions Prod: Giselher Venzke & Bertha Spieker TV Feature SaFe Bet Sukuma Media Producer: Nokuthula Sakhile Mguni / Bonginhlanhla Ncube Feature Film SaMurai KiLLer Sabido Productions Dir: Catherine Rice Corporate

SeCret paiN #1 Makoya Entertainment Prod/Dir: Prayer Ndlovu TV Drama ShaLLoW graVe Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Meggan Raubenheimer Documentary SLeNDer WoNDer FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video SLeNDer WoNDer MJ LaBS FC Hamman Films Prod: Odette van Jaarsveld Corporate Video SWartWater Quizzical Pictures Prod: Bianca Isaac Dir: John Trengove/ Jozua Malherbe/ Denny Y Miller Series SuperDaD Two Oceans Productions Prod: Giselher Venzke & Bertha Spieker TV Feature teSSa Beetge – a LiFe iNterrupteD Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Meggan Raubenheimer Documentary the CaLLiNg LMOL Production Dir: Lizzy Moloto Feature the LaSt great tuSKerS NHU Africa Prod: Vyv Simson / Donfrey Meyer Documentary the MeSSage Reel Edge Studios Dir: David Golden TV Drama Series the StorY oF LittLe Foot Paul Myburgh Film Prod: Paul Myburgh Documentary the traNSporterS Sukuma Media/ Reality Motion Pictures Dir: Bonginhlanhla Ncube Documentary toWNShip terror Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Melanie Rice Documentary troopShip trageDY Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Marion Edmunds Documentary tWee graDe VaN MoorD Inverse Films (Pty) Ltd Prod: Barry Strick Feature Film uNDer the MouNtaiN Plexus Films Prod: Miki Redelinghuys,/ Lauren Groenewald Short film uNSoLVeD – the StorY oF the Cape ripper Sabido Productions Prod/Dir: Johann Abrahams Documentary WheN i WaS Water Shadow Films Dir: David Forbes Documentary XJ-1 Eternal Film Productions Prod: Marius Swanepoel/ Dana Pretorius Feature XtreMe outDoorS aFriCa Africa InSight Prod: Esah Panyako TV Magazine

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info@visioncases.co.za www.visioncases.co.za

UPcomINg EVENTS

andrew Moyo Cell: 083 382 3605 tel: +27 11 472 8372 Fax: +27 11 472 9785

|

october 28 oct – 5 Joburg film festivAl

Johannesburg www.joburgfilmfestival.co.za

november 2–4

discop JohAnnesburg

Johannesburg www.discopafrica.com 3

promAxbdA AfricA conference And AwArds

Johannesburg www.promaxafrica.tv 15 – 24

cAiro internAtionAl film festivAl

Egypt www.ciff.org.eg 16 – 27

Screen Africa relies on the accuracy of information received and cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur. E-mail production updates to: online@screenafrica.com

UPD ATES

internAtionAl documentAry film festivAl AmsterdAm

Amsterdam www.idfa.nl/

dec 7 – 14

dubAi internAtionAl film festivAl

Dubai www.dubaifilmfest.com november – december 2016 | SCREENAFRICA | 43


SocIal

|

PHotoS BY CHANELLE ELLAYA

Skyrink Studios launch – 27 october 2016

Neo Matlala (transnet), themba Ndlovu (transnet), Marvin Mathibe (Skyrink Studios), thabo Zakhele Lebelo (transnet) and Phathu Mashamba (transnet)

John Stevens and Brad Willson (Global Access)

Jurgen Meekel (Wits School of the Arts) and donovan Brits (NiC)

Kagiso Mnisi and thabo Mthombeni (CSir)

Keith McLintock (Big Brave) and Paul divall (Jasco)

Lynton Allsop (Silvercam) and Quentin Haffern (realtime Pictures)

Palesa thito, tshepiso Seona and thandi Mavota

Monique Griffith (idC), Frank Mohapi (Skyrink Studios) and Basil Ford (idC)

William Smith (idC) and Wendy Smith

44 | SCREENAFRICA | november – december 2016

Mandrew Mnguni and Brett Voster (Sheer Music)

thandeka Yeni and Mfanasibili Nkosi


dISPlAyS & moNItoRING

BREAKING NEwS

hd

3d

dVd

moBIlE tV

BRoAdCASt

FoRUm

VIdEo StREAmING

dISPlAyS & moNItoRING

NEw mEdIA dIGItAl mEdIA dElIVERy

EdItoRIAl

AUtomAtIoN SyStEmS

SERVICES

FIlm EQUIPmENt BREAKING NEwS oB & ENG

CoRPoRAtE VIdEo

PoSt-PRodUCtIoN GUIdE to FIlmING IN SoUth AFRICA

RAdIo

JoBS

oB & ENG

tElEVISIoN

oRGANISAtIoNS

EQUIPmENt SUPPlIERS StUdIoS doCUmENtARIES

FIlm FEStIVAlS

dIRECtoRy CoNtACtS FIlm FEStIVAlS

FIlm

3d

hd

PRodUCtIoN ComPANIES tV & VIdEo PRodUCtIoN

INdUStRy dIRECtoRy

StUdIoS

VIdEo

FACIlItIES & RENtAlS

INtERNAtIoNAl ExPoS

dVd

SERVICES

AFRICA

EVENtS

3d

CoRPoRAtE

FIlmING IN SoUth AFRICA

moNItoRS

dISPlAyS

NEwS PRoFIlE

tV

REPoRtS

StUNtS

tRACKING tEChNoloGy

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Screen Africa November/December 2016  
Screen Africa November/December 2016  
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