Showmax: African content making waves on international scene

MOFFIE UP FOR BAFTA

Moffie has a big weekend coming up: producer Jack Sidey is nominated for an Outstanding Debut BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) and the critically-acclaimed war movie is being released in the USA at select cinemas and streaming platforms by IFC Films.

Adapted from an autobiographical 2006 novel by André Carl van der Merwe, Moffie is set in South Africa, 1981, with the white minority government embroiled in a conflict on the southern Angolan border.

Like all white boys over the age of 16, Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) must complete two years of compulsory military service to defend the Apartheid regime.

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

Since premiering at Venice in 2019, Moffie has won the Mermaid Award at Thessaloniki and the Film Critics Special Jury Prize at Dublin. The film has a 97% critics rating from Rotten Tomatoes, with Variety raving, “South African auteur Oliver Hermanus makes his masterpiece with this brutal but radiant story of young gay desire on the Angolan war front… establishing him quite plainly as South Africa’s most vital contemporary filmmaker… Both a shiver-delicate exploration of unspoken desire and a scarringly brilliant anatomy of white South African masculinity. It fair takes your breath away.”

Similarly, Sight and Sound called Moffie “thrillingly cinematic… Recalls the brutality of Full Metal Jacket crossed with the eroticism of Beau Travail,” while The Hollywood Reporter called it “mesmerizing.”

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE NOMINATED AT ANNIE AWARDS

Next Friday, 16 April 2021, The Snail and the Whale is competing for Best Animated Special Production at The Annie Awards, one of the biggest awards globally for the animation industry.

Based on the bestselling picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (creators of the modern classic The Gruffalo)The Snail and The Whale follows the amazing journey of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and hitches a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale. Radio Times calls the animation “a beautiful visual treat”; Animation World News hails it as “enchanting”; and Variety describes it as “ audacious… adorable… charming.”

Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by Magic Light Pictures, The Snail and the Whale is directed by Max Lang and South African Daniel Snaddon, who previously collaborated on the Annecy-winning Stick Man and the International Emmy-winning Zog. The Snail and the Whale has already won eight international awards at the likes of the British Animation Awards, Cartoons on the Bay, New York International Children’s Film Festival, The Venice TV Awards, and the BANFF Rockie’s Awards.

The Snail and the Whale was voiced by a starry British acting cast including Sally Hawkins (PaddingtonThe Shape of Water) as Snail, Rob Brydon (Gavin & StaceyThe Trip) as Whale, Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show) as Teacher and the late Dame Diana Rigg (Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones) as the narrator.


FUGITIVE TO PRESENT DAM, LIONESS AND LEGACY AT MIPTV

UK-based distributor Fugitive has struck a deal with MultiChoice to distribute their original scripted series internationally. As part of this deal, at this month’s MipTV, Fugitive will present three Multichoice series: the Showmax Original psychological thriller DAM, M-Net’s crime drama Lioness, and M-Net’s telenovela Legacy.  

In DAM, Silwerskerm Best Actress winner Lea Vivier (Wonderlus) stars as Yola, who returns from Chile to bury her estranged father. To her surprise, and her sister’s irritation, he’s left his farm to her, but this may be more of a curse than a blessing, as the house seems to be trying to tell her something. But with her mother institutionalised, and her own meds running out, Yola has to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head? 

Since launching in February 2021, DAM’s been earning rave reviews. YFM’s resident critic Yazz the Student compares DAM to HBO’s The Outsider and says the “eerie” and “unsettling” show feels “different to the South African television landscape;” Sunday Times’ Tymon Smith calls it “chilling… well-acted, eerily realised and intriguing”; Fortress of Solitude says “it rivals any international production… a must-watch show that promises to fester in your mind long after the credits roll;”

Look out for Hollywood actors Neil Sandilands (The FlashThe 100The Americans) and Natasha Loring (Beaver Falls) and 2020 Africa Movie Academy Award nominee Faniswa Yisa (Blood Psalms, Knuckle City and Skin).

To see everything on Showmax in April 2021, including the upcoming Showmax Original Skemerdans, the box set of Love Island SA, and the Oscar-nominated 1987 classic Cry Freedom, with Denzel Washington as Steve Biko, click here.

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