Movies

South African Interviews

Mandela biopic starring Idris Elba coming soon!


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Something exciting I’ve been reading about is the biographical film of Mandela’s life, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”, which is being released in South Africa in just five months. Entirely South-African made and the only motion picture with full endorsement from Nelson Mandela himself and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, I can’t wait to see this! Film producer Anant Singh announced on 27 May this year (which marked the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela arriving on Robben Island as prisoner) that the film is in its final stages of post production and will be released on November 29. The film started development back in 1996 when Singh was granted the film rights to Mandela’s autobiography by Mandela himself. It’s amazing to think after all these years of planning and execution, we will finally get to see it. Directed by Justin Chadwick, it started its principle photography a year ago and shot for 16 weeks around South Africa. The movie begins in 1924 and follows Madiba from his early childhood, through to his arrival in Johannesburg and culminates with his election as president of South Africa in 1994. During the course of the film, three actors play Nelson Mandela – Siza Pini plays the 8 year old Mandela, Atandwa Kani plays him at 16, and Idris Elba plays the remaining years. I absolutely love Idris Elba, he stars in the British TV Drama “Luther“. People say this role could see the popular British actor as a serious contender in the next  Oscar race. I wouldn’t be surprised! Here is a related article if you are interested in reading more about the film. You can also like its official Facebook page here.

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Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, guys! I’ve spent the week running around. I’m working on some film projects for the tourism board and at the same time i’m working on shooting a profile of my family’s business Doubell Machines. I’ve been rolling my sleeves up, putting on my army boots and walking around the factory scaring all the men with my very intimidating tripod and Canon 5D MK II! I love a good productive week. This was also the week I got my awesome Lenovo laptop which I’m so excited about! It has a core i.5 processor, 6 GB RAM, 500 GB hardrive, 15″ screen and – best of all – it has Windows 8. If you have Windows 8, here are my top 6 suggestions for great apps to download from your store (nice ideas for your android or iphone, too)

+ Flipboard

This is a really great social magazine featuring the latest stories from any field that interests you. It collects the content of social media and other websites and presents it in magazine format and allows users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds. I love it because it gives me instant access at one click to the current news in everything – from the music industry to the film industry to world news to news from my favourite companies and brands (I follow national geographic). I definitely recommend this one.

+ Aviary

This is a really great photo editor which allows you to add effects and text to your images as well as a whole bunch of other editing tools.

+ Instagram Explorer

This is basically Instagram on a computer screen. It has an easy layout which allows you to access instagram on your computer and not just via your phone. But note that you can’t actually upload via this – it’s exclusively for viewing.

+ Ballstrike

This is a fun exercise app that gets you moving (think wii fit) If you have a webcam you can use this easily; it generates targets on your screen for you to hit, so you watch yourself punch and kick the air around you for hours on end. And it also tells you how many calories you’re burning, which is great!

+ Netflix

An online video-streaming app, Netflix allows you to watch any movie, show or TV series in the world by paying a simple flat-rate fee once a month.

+ TuneIn Radio

Tune In Radio allows you to listen to terrestrial and internet streaming radio stations from around the globe. This is great for me in Cape Town, where we have a subculture of these online radio stations popping up everywhere!

❤ Africa, My Life in Africa

I Live in Africa!


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I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

Even though I now live in the U.S, I was born in South Africa. I try visit as often as possible. We are surrounded by so much beauty there everyday! I thank God for the wild + exotic marvels he provides for us in that part of the world.

I don’t think tourists realise just how beautiful it is there. I don’t think they understand the similarities there with where they’re from. When they book their trips to South Africa, I’ve heard they expect to find mudhuts all over the place with animals walking through dirty streets in a 3rd world pocket of nothingness. That’s simply not true. Of course they’ll always be poverty wherever you go, but the picture they have in their head is completely innacurate. I remember back to when I lived in New York. People didn’t think South Africa was developed at all. I hope to change that misconception!

When they land, tourists are always surprised to find that we have a very normal lifestyle there with bars and nightclubs just like them. We have attractions, schools, universities, businesses, buildings, highways and entertainment just like them. We have a well-developed and working infrastructure. I’ve been all over the world and our international airports are the best I’ve seen.

They gasp at our beauty. They enjoy our top-class hotels, our polished service and our commercial culture – just like they have. They see our world-class education facilities, our safe amenities, our well-spoken citizens, our clean streets, our modern households, our friendly attitudes, our quirky sub-cultures and our huge fashion scene.

They recognize our healthy lifestyle in amidst stunning settings. They love the open space, the land, the people, the views. They marvel at the Cape Winelands, the game reserves, the nature, the beaches, the rolling hills and the mountains. They toast to our sunsets and drink wine under our starry skies. They visit heritage sites of our world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Our greatest assets are our minds. We as a people are very forward-thinking and cosmopolitan. What I love about us is that we’re also down-to-earth and mindful of those less fortunate.

Our wildlife is part of our beauty.

In South Africa, you can get up close and personal with our animals. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. Around where I grew up on the east coast of the country is a lion park. It’s called “Seaview Predator Park”. If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, this is definitely a place you want to go. 

Even though all the animals are in cages, trust me, they are well-looked after. They are tame and sociable with tourists. Check out Seaview’s Facebook Page here and scoot over to Pinterest to see my Africa board. 

Each and every time I watch the video my business filmed of them, my passion for my homeland grows stronger. Cape Town and Johannesburg have made their names famous internationally, but don’t underestimate the lesser-known places off-the-beaten path such as Port Elizabeth (5 hours from where Nelson Mandela was born!).

All in all, our time is coming.

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

I Live in Africa

Photos: Dane Doubell

Cover Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

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South African Interviews

Keen for South Africa’s Most Anticipated Feature Film


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I sometimes like to think of myself as somewhat of a journalist!

And today proves no different as I sit down and read an article about an up-coming film based on a South African fable. A few of you have written in about wanting some news from the film industry…… and I can’t think of a better story. I will always remember a story I heard when I was growing up. It’s set in 1843 about a girl travelling through the desert with her younger brother. After getting lost with him during thunderstorm, she uses her body to shelter him from the cold thus sacrificing her life for his. What a powerful and heart-warming tale. If you’re a South African, have you ever heard this story? It’s called The Story of Rachel de Beer. I’ve always kept it at the back of my mind and have re-told it myself a few times to friends from abroad. For me it symbolizes unconditional love. Which is why you can imagine my delight when I recently read this article about it and its creation into a film here in South Africa! My eyes lit up immediately; I know this will be good. I will let Wikipedia elaborate a bit more:

The fable goes that in the winter months of 1843, Rachel was part of a trek from the Orange Free State to the south-eastern Transvaal. During one of their nightly stopovers, the members of the trek realised that a calf called Frikkie, much-beloved by their children, was missing.

A search party was formed, in which Rachel and her six-year old brother also took part. However, during the gathering dusk Rachel and her brother got separated from the search party and became lost. As the night progressed it got very cold and started snowing.

Realizing that their chances of survival were slim, Rachel found an anthill hollowed out by an aardvark, took off her clothes, put them on her brother and commanded him to get into the hollowed-out anthill. She then lay in front of the opening of the anthill in order to keep out the cold.

The children were found the next morning by the trekking party. Rachel was dead, but her brother had survived.

It is possible that neither of the children existed, however, as the history of the period is not well documented. To date no undisputed proof has been presented to substantiate any claims regarding Racheltjie de Beer.

Fiction or not, Rachel de Beer is entrenched in the Afrikaner culture, which is evident by the number of streets and schools named after her.

And so the film has been born, shining a light on the Voortrekkers living in Van Reenen’s Pass during the 1800’s. Naledi, the publishing house behind the new Riaan Cruywagen autobiography, have just obtained the rights to publish a novel  (in both Afrikaans and English) based on the screenplay of The Story of Racheltjie De Beer by Brett Michael Innes. Production will start in early 2013 and will be directed by Brett Michael Innes himself. Here is the trailer for it:

South African Interviews

Cape Town Film Studios


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Who thought that South Africa couldn’t have its own Hollywood? On the way to Stellebosch from Cape Town, there are huge mysterious structures which have been popping up for some time in an area which a signboard pointing to it labels “Cape Town Film Studios”. Phase 1 ended at the end of last year. That was the construction of sound stages, production offices, workshops, retail spaces, commercial offices and light industrial facilities. There are massive sets which are being built to mimic scenes that are frequently needed for films. For instance, there’s a typical New York street set being built and a typical USA style suburb. Also being built inside the studios are the interior sets which are magnificent replicas of the interior of a medieval castle and caves. Currently there are two drama documentaries being filmed at the studios. These are “The Great British Story” and “The History of the World”. The CEO of the Cape Town Film Studios is a guy called Nico Dekker. He is the former head and CEO of Table Mountain Motion Picture Studios and is assisted by an experienced management team, namely Rashay Magan (General Manager and deputy Chairman), Ross Rayners (Manager of Studio Projects),  Fadiel Martin (Accountant) and Anant Singh (Chairman). He was in fact interviewed on CNN. On its website, it’s described as “Cape Town’s first, fully fledged sound stage complex”. Even famous vistors are impressed. Stephen Fry said on Twitter during the filming of “The Borrowers”:

“And – that’s a wrap. 12 hours of larkish fun. Must say deeply impressed with brand new Cape Town Studios. Make Pinewood etc look v shabby”

The Studios have received write-ups  in The Hollywood Reporter and Time Magazine. Take a look at their website: http://www.capetownfilmstudios.co.za/

South African Interviews

More Good News for SA Film Industry


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Another local film is due to set fire to the hearts of South Africans!


Following the exciting news of local film ‘Skoonheid’ winning at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Zurich film festival this year, as well as being selected for the Oscars 2012, comes another local masterpiece.

 ‘Florida Road’ is a film about a wealthy Indian family from Mumbai who moves to Durban for a better life.

Follow protagonist Shaan Sahay (Ashmit Patel) as he is desperate for his father’s love and acceptance while struggling to pursue his passion for writing. After a tragedy hits the family, he discovers his true place in the world as well as the importance of family.

Filmed entirely on location in Durban, the film showcases the beauty of the city while telling the story of one family.

 It’s an independent feature film, directed by Brad Glass and written and produced by Fred Fontana.

 Fred Fontana is from the United States originally, and has been involved in Hollywood motion pictures such as ‘The Specialist’ with Sylvestor Stallone and ‘Solider’ with Kurt Russell, amongst others.

 After 20 years in Hollywood, he realized South Africa’s potential for filmmaking and moved to South Africa, where he’s begun ‘Sunworld Productions’. Seems he’s picked up much success after just a year of being established, as ‘Florida Road’ has already won many awards at festivals around the world (you can see all of them on its website http://floridaroadthemovie.com/).

 The title was inspired by a well-known road in Durban, Florida Road.

I for one am very excited to see the film, which releases in our cinemas in the next few weeks!

South African Interviews

South African Film off to the Oscars 2012


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There are smiles all around as the huge news breaks about popular South African film “Skoonheid” winning at the Zurich Film Festival last weekend! And that’s not all… it’s also been selected as the South African entrant for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars next year!

Looking on their website, one is proud to be South African as you scroll through all the news, reviews and press releases for this daring film which has clearly taken the international film world by storm. The film is about a white, Afrikaans man in post-Apartheid South Africa who has “become devoid of any care or concern for his own measure of happiness” in his hopeless existence. Convinced of a predictable outcome to a life he hates, he is taken by surprise when a chance encounter absolutely unravels it and causes waves in his “clean, controlled” world. A journey begins where he loses control of his boundaries and starts to break his own rules; as he develops a conflicted infatuation with the 23-year-old son of an old friend.

Director Oliver Hermanus

With strong influences of South Africa’s controversial history, the film’s angle is taken from what it’s like being a white, Afrikaans-speaking conservative man part of the minority in a post-Apartheid South Africa. His deepest secrets and desires are privy only to the audience who become aware of his many emotions including his fears, his angers and his jealousies. It was directed by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Didier Costet. “Skoonheid” means “Beauty” in English.

At the Cannes Film Festival this year

The Zurich Film Festival announced its winners on the last day of an 11-day festival, and South African actor and star of the film, Deon Lotz, walked away with the award for best actor for his performance.

“Skoonheid” was the first Afrikaans film to ever have been shown at the Cannes Film Festival, where it walked away with the Queer Palm award in May this year. The award was for its contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues. As far as the Oscars 2012 go, we are all holding thumbs. Read more about the synopsis of the film, the news, the reviews, as well as about the director and his notes for the movie on the film’s official website: http://www.skoonheid.com/beauty_ang.html. You can also see the trailer here!