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Bingeing with Spling: Christmas Edition

It's almost Christmas again and what a year it's been! Just as everyone's getting ready to coast over the finish line into 2021, we've got Christmas to remind us of the important things in life. It's a wonderful reminder of goodwill to fellow man and the importance of relationships in a year characterised by polar opposites.

To get you in the festive spirit, Spling has created a Christmas edition of Bingeing with Spling on Sunday 20 December... here's what you can expect:

Special Guest, Charles Tertiens

Charles Tertiens is a comedy magician who's probably best known for his TV appearances as Karl Ahari and the Cash Crusader. A handsome chap with a twinkle in his eye, he's full of fun, eager to entertain and will be sharing some of his charm and magic with us on the night. Joining the watch party fun and in conversation with Spling, there will be plenty of opportunities to smile, laugh and hopefully warm some cockles!

Natasha Meister's Christmas Medley

Natasha Meister will be kicking things off with a special Christmas medley to get the watch party started. Usually playing her guitar, this is a showcase of the Canadian artist's powerful voice. Singing well known Christmas carols with Laura Cavacece, it's a fun and Christmassy collection of all-time favourites to get you in the mood for Christmas trees, candy canes and all that goes with the holiday.

Short Film: Christmas Spirit

Dominique Mabille is the director who brought us Christmas Spirit, a dysfunctional family dark comedy that centres on the annual celebration. Centring on a suburban family who have a tough time dealing with their crotchety grandfather, Christmas takes on a completely different tone when the old geezer croaks.

We'll be enjoying this twisted comedy after the main feature, which will be followed by an interview with the director herself. A 3rd year AFDA graduation film, Mabille will be giving us the behind-the-scenes story of this quirky blend of Little Miss Sunshine, Home Alone and... you've just got to see it!

Santa's Coming to Town

Spling has the honour of welcoming Santa to the next watch party! While the jolly guy is working overtime to ensure nice kids get their gifts this year, tinkering away at the North Pole with his army of elves, he cut out some time to chat with Spling. It's a rare occurrence for the guy to make guest appearances but luckily through the magic of the Interweb, we're making it possible to get some burning questions answered!

The Main Feature: Elf

Jon Favreau may be famous thanks to movies like Iron Man and The Jungle Book, but before he became all that he directed a little Christmas comedy called Elf. Now a holiday classic, the Will Ferrell vehicle has become a staple movie for many people wanting to get into the swing of Christmas.

The film follows Buddy, a human raised among elves at the North Pole who discovers he's not an elf before embarking on a journey to New York to find his biological father. An over-the-top yet heartwarming comedy, it's a feel-good movie that will generate a few chuckles and maybe shed a tear. Tune in via Netflix or dust off a DVD, because Elf's coming to town too!

Christmas Celebration Video

Whether you've been naughty or nice, we want you to send us your Christmas video messages, carol singing or special messages to friends and family. Spling will be compiling a video that will premiere at the next Bingeing with Spling watch party. Surprise someone and make their year by sneaking in a special video or message into this fun video and help support Santa Shoebox. Get in touch with us via our contact page or our social media feeds in order to submit your message or video.

So Much More...

Bingeing with Spling online watch parties make it possible for just about anyone from anywhere to participate. Time zone difficulties aside, you can patch in with friends or family from all over the world. Get them to follow the fun at splingmovies.com using the Live Event Tracker and you're in for a fun night in.

Prizes, movie trivia, social media banter, live commentary from Spling... it's a wonderful way to connect with other movie lovers without leaving the comfort of your couch!

Prof. Jonah Choiniere on Paleontology, Ledumahadi Mafube and Jurassic Park

Jonah Choiniere is Professor of Comparative Palaeobiology at the Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of Witwatersrand. Having relocated to South Africa, he's become integrally involved in the research institute at the forefront of some major discoveries in South Africa. In preparing for the latest Bingeing with Spling watch party of Jurassic Park, Spling found that a 12-ton dinosaur had been discovered in 2018. While this news generated a significant deal of interest in scientific communities, leading to a great number of research papers, it only amounted to a handful of mainstream news articles.

Shocked at the lack of interest from South Africa about research decades in the making, Spling decided to find out more information from the newsmakers themselves. After being referred to Prof. Choiniere, he managed to secure this Zoom interview, in which the two discuss paleontology in the real world, several major discoveries including the sauropodomorph Ledumahadi mafube*, South Africa as a goldmine of fossils and some misconceptions when it comes to Jurassic Park.

While the word "professor" conjures up a certain image, Choiniere breaks many of the stereotypes. Passionate, enthusiastic and committed to the study, he's able to unpack exactly what goes into the field of paleontology. Originally a student of archaeology, Choiniere's work as a paleobiologist has sent him across the world from the United States to China and South Africa. It's also easy to see how both sciences collide in Steven Spielberg's iconic Hollywood franchises, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park.

*While Ledumahadi mafube looks like with a sauropod, the dinosaur grouping that includes the Brontosaurus, it's actually more of a cousin. Living some 200 million years ago in the region now called South Africa, this herbivore walked on all fours and weighed as much as two African elephants. The name is Southern Sotho and is translated a giant thunderclap at dawn. Read more...

John Bartmann Performs Jurassic Park Theme in the Key of Spling

John Bartmann is a local Cape Town music composer and podcaster, who has dedicated his life to music. Playing as part of his band Pravda, composing music and podcasting about audio drama on How I Make Music are what keep the talented and versatile music artist on the go.

A true creative and passionate performing artist, he took the challenge of creating something unique to open this weekend's Bingeing with Spling watch party of Jurassic Park. It's essentially a movie night festival with exclusive interviews, live commentary, curtain-raiser short films, prizes, special features and movie trivia that takes place across streaming and social media platforms. Being built around the dinosaur theme, Spling originally asked Bartmann to perform a cover of Dinosaur Jr's grunge classic, Feel the Pain. Open to ideas as long as they remained within the realm of dinosaurs, Bartmann chose to perform a multi-screen rendition of the Jurassic Park main theme with a twist!

Bartmann's all about music, podcasts and audio experiences that keep people listening", which is summed up by this creative, quirky yet emotional cover in the key of "Spling". The innovative and entrepreneurial Bartmann is the frontman of Pravda, a band started in 2009, which recently released an album For the Benefit of Humans exclusively to Google Drive. Visit pravdaofficial.com to download and listen to the album. John's also the creator of How I Make Music, a global weekly podcast where behind-the-scenes musicians tell their stories.
Galileo Open Air Cinema and Drive In

The Galileo Open Air Cinema is approaching a decade since its first outdoor screening. A darling of the Cape Town events scene, 2020 has been a crazy time for the events company, which has had to reinvent its offering in order to roll with the changes. While you'd imagine that the Galileo would be one of the least affected events, the Galileo has taken a knock having to cut their previous season short. Already beholden to weather conditions, the coronavirus has had an adverse effect when it comes to numbers. Beyond crowd control, having your event's capacity reduced means the outdoor cinema has to get by on less when it comes to filling the house. Just like an ordinary cinema, when less tickets are sold... revenue is reduced.

While the Galileo is managing to continue its wonderful array of events around Cape Town and the winelands, it needs the help of loyal patrons to keep it going beyond the coronavirus era. Setting up the screen and hosting the event at beautiful venues around the Cape metropole requires event management and a full complement of staff. You need a competent AV team, facilitators to manage back rest and blanket distribution, a welcome person to advise on safety protocol, a box office and vendors at food stalls. The whole event takes a village for it to run smoothly. So your ticket price is going to ensuring that the screening goes ahead without a hitch over and above the hard costs of presenting a feature film in a beautiful place.

To accommodate the recent changes when it comes to capacity and social distancing, the Galileo has reinvented itself to provide three types of screening.

Galileo Picnic

The traditional Galileo event is now known as a Picnic screening, which continues to allow patrons to enjoy a picnic with family and friends before a main feature. While there are food stalls including delicious schwarmas, droolicious pizzas or gourmet coffee, you're allowed to bring your own picnic into the venue. The sweet and popcorn offering is now relayed by way of a wheelbarrow enabling the snacks to find their way to you. The film is now projected from front of house, which probably improves the vibrancy of colours on screen over rear projection and the sound seems better. It's also a good idea to take a cushion and a warm jacket because the nights can get a bit chilly.

At the rescheduled launch at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardenes, which included a bevy of media, there was a live performance from mother-daughter duet, Plumsong. Starting with a crooner version of Radiohead's Creep, the laidback picnic concert set the scene for a good season of outdoor entertainment with the Galileo. While the original launch with La La Land was postponed due to bad weather, the reinstated event was built around Sean Penn's soulful Into the Wild starring Emile Hirsch. A brilliant scrapbook character study and exploration of freedom and society against Eddie Vedder's music, this powerful true story seems that much more true to form when screened under the stars.

The traditional picnic style event continues to be a mainstay for the Galileo, but they've also added a drive in and VIP edition of the outdoor screening.

Galileo Royale

The Royale edition of the event is finding audiences attending more exclusive versions of the Galileo screening. Hosted at places like the Casa Labia, the experience is more restricted in terms of numbers and features a live performance as well as preset snacks and drinks. All of these events are amazing for romantic dates and the Royale is probably the way to impress your significant other depending on your film selection. The other variations suit families better but what's not to love about watching a movie under the stars against the backdrop of a beautiful Cape Town vista or venue.

Galileo Drive-In

The nostalgia around drive in cinemas has resurrected the event, giving many people a fresh experience and others a heavy dose of nostalgia. While the old style drive in required you to put a speaker into your car window, the newer events make it possible for you to tune in on your radio. Some people reverse their cars and open the boot for a glass-free viewing experience under the stars but it's not a big deal if your windscreen is relatively clean. Taking a portable radio is probably a good idea if you don't want to jumpstart your car to get home.

To stand a chance of winning a double ticket to a picnic event at the Galileo including a back rest and blanket (valued at R260!), tell us which event you'd most like to attend. You can find out more details about the upcoming season's screening schedule here.

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