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Adult Swim Taps into Nature's Brutality in Genndy Tartakovsky's Epic Animated Series, Primal


Primal encompasses every aspect of the word, telling the story of an unlikely friendship between a caveman at the dawn of evolution and a dinosaur on the brink of extinction. After tragedy strikes, early man and dinosaur find a connection that unites them against all threats. Now wielding a spear and riding a dinosaur the fierce warrior is able to double his efforts when it comes to self-defence and hunting for food. One on the verge of extinction and the other just beginning, they become allies and each other's only hope of survival in a bloodthirsty and ruthless prehistoric world.

Primal is from Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator behind the Emmy-winning series Samurai Jack and director of Hotel Transylvania and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Using dynamic yet artful animation, which veers from extreme close ups to spectacular action, Tartakovsky is able to use visual storytelling to convey his caveman's thoughts and feelings.

A chunky man filled with rage, it's easy to see similarities between the caveman and The Hulk, especially when it comes to sheer strength and basic instincts. Tartakovsky says he was influenced by the Conan: The Barbarian comics and the "complex, confusing and cruel" brutality of nature.

adult swim Primal

There's no dialogue, allowing the animated series to break language barriers and forcing the creators to rely on creativity and nuance when conveying character and propelling the inner journey.

Instead, the characters express themselves through grunts, roars and gestures clearly conveying meaning thanks to detailed animation, art direction and sound design. It could have been an animated feature film, but feels just about right at 20 minutes per episode.

The sparse scripting, distinct animation style and brutal head-splitting action give Primal its own raw, bone-breaking and visceral power. It's a series for fans of God of War, people who want to unleash rage and pent up primal energy. While animated, it's violent and full of fury, making it only suitable for mature audiences unleash you want your living room destroyed.

The animated series is part of the [adult swim] collection now available to watch exclusively on Showmax.

 
Spling Launches New Podcast Series 'Confessions of a Movie Critic'


Spling has been reviewing film since 2007, racking up thousands of written and spoken reviews over the years. Resident film critic at 2Oceansvibe.com, where he's written a weekly feature for over a decade, host of the popular Talking Movies programme on Fine Music Radio for 7 years and AFDA film school judge for 5 years, he's been there, done that and got the movie t-shirt.

After being approached by directors to give them notes on their screenplays, first edits and treatments - he launched reviewmyscript.com. Having broadcast Talking Movies for many years, which is republished as a weekly podcast, it was time to try something different. Must Love Movies is his latest venture, in which Spling watches a film with and interviews a celebrated personality and/or film industry professional in a private cinema. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Must Love Movies podcast has been put on ice, prompting Spling to create the stripped down series, Confessions of a Movie Critic.

This brand new podcast series is more intimate... a conversation between Spling and his listener. Clocking in under 10 minutes, Spling takes an opportunity to chat about a film, news item or topic he's recently engaged with. The podcast is recorded in one take, almost like a stream of consciousness as Spling tries to convey his thoughts. His first podcast was about the music biopic Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek, which he recently watched. His second was about the eye-opening documentary, I Am Heath Ledger about the late great actor.

While it's still early days yet... Confessions of a Movie Critic is hopefully going to give listeners an inside track to what's on Spling's mind. You can listen to more podcasts here: https://anchor.fm/confessions-movie-critic

 
Two Showmax Original Horror Films Released


Two creepy South African horrors have crawled onto screen, both produced by Nagvlug Films, the company that brought us Wonderlus and Hotel. Both Showmax Originals, serving as the streaming service's first move into the horror genre, it's a welcome sign of things to come.

“We’ve had a great response to hit international horrors like Hereditary, IT and Pet Sematary on Showmax, so we’re excited to see how South African audiences respond when the frights are closer to home.” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Multichoice’s Connected Video.

RAGE

Rage follows a group of school-leavers who descend on a tiny coastal town for the rite of passage known as "Matric Rage". A celebration of their freedom, Roxy, Sihle, Kyle, Leon, Tamsyn and Neo party on the beach all night living it up. A trippy hallucination on the beach begins a spiral of terror as the best holiday of their lives turns into a nightmare as the teens become play things following a disturbing ritualistic birth.

Rage is directed by SAFTA nominee Jaco Bouwer, best known for Die Spreeus. The horror stars Nicole Fortuin (Flatland) opposite Carel Nel (Dwaalster) and David Viviers (Kanarie).

PARABLE

Parable follows a teenage girl, who is forced into gay conversion therapy. When a famous lay preacher accidentally conjures a demonic spirit while trying to ‘cure’ her, he tries to hide his mistake in a church house deep within a security complex. The gated community is home to a slacker, who starts getting dream visits from the missing girl.

Parable is a directorial debut for SAFTA-nominee Beer Adriaanse, best known for his performances in Kanarie and Wonderlus. The horror stars Jane de Wet, Michael Richard (Still Breathing), Carla Classen (Stroomop, Fiela Se Kind) and Thapelo Aphiri (Scandal).

 
Anant Singh and Videovision Make 10 Films Available for Free Viewing Online During National Lockdown


South African film producer Anant Singh and Videovision Entertainment have made ten films produced by the company available for free viewing online as of today. These hit films, which include: Sarafina!, Mr. Bones, Red Dust and Paljas, will be available during the lockdown period from Friday, 27 March through to Thursday, 16 April 2020.

“For the first time in the modern age, South Africa and the entire world faces a health threat of unprecedented proportions, with uncertainty and concern. While our President implemented measures to quell the rapid spread of the Covid-19 with the 21-day lockdown, we felt it important to offer some of our films to our nation for free viewing online. We have selected films that are firm favourites among South Africans,” said Anant Singh.

The first films offered on the platform are all South African favourites to entertain and inspire viewers. They can be accessed on the Videovision Entertainment portal on Vimeo here.

Sarafina!, based on the stage musical, is an inspirational film about the youth uprising of 16 June 1976, starring Leleti Khumalo, John Kani, Robert Whitehead, Miriam Makeba, Somizi Mhlongo and Whoopi Goldberg.

Mr. Bones, South Africa’s number one box office comedy hit, starring Leon Schuster and friends is sure to appeal to fans of local slapstick comedy.

Yesterday is the first South African film to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category starring Leleti Khumalo and directed by Darrell  Roodt.

2010 – Once in a Lifetime focuses on the memorable 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the excitement and celebration that this global event brought to the African continent.

Red Dust is an intense courtroom drama against the backdrop of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, starring Oscar winners Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor with Jamie Bartlett.

Celebrating Mandela One Hundred traces Madiba’s life from his roots in the Transkei to becoming one of the world's greatest and most iconic leaders.

Countdown to Freedom documents the ten days leading up to our democratic elections and culminates with Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as President. The film includes exclusive access to Nelson Mandela as he took the final steps on his walk from prisoner to president.

A Hero for All follows the activities of President Mandela from the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections and throughout his presidency.

Paljas is based on the classic Afrikaans book and directed by Katinka Heyns. The drama explores the life of a Karoo family whose lives are changed for the better when a they become acquainted with a clown from a travelling circus.

Ahmed Kathrada: A Man for All Seasons follows struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada’s extraordinary life journey as an activist, a Rivonia trialist, a Robben Island prisoner through to his post-prison activities and the founding of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Singh and Videovision Entertainment have been actively involved in the Covid-19 campaign and crafted awareness videos in partnership with many stakeholders including the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Singh says, “I commend President Cyril Ramaphosa, his cabinet and the members of the National Command Council for the swift action taken and the implementation of programmes that will hopefully quell the impact of the Covid-19 virus on our people. It is encouraging that initiatives like the Solidarity Response Fund have garnered support and I am delighted to be a participant. I urge all South Africans to take the necessary precautions against the virus and continue to practise good hygiene. May all South Africans be safe during this lockdown period and beyond. God bless us all.”

 
Local Entertainment Industry Hit Hard by Pandemic Lockdown


In these tricky times, where film productions have ground to a halt, theatres have had to close their doors, it seems that the entertainment industry's taking a big knock. While we try to figure it out one day at a time as businesses adjust, national lockdown is forcing them to comply with drastic measures to curtail the spread of the virus by forcing people to stay at home only allowing for essential services. While this is necessary to stem the pandemic, preventing the virus from impeding business for months on end, it's obviously having a major impact on businesses that rely on ticket sales.

Independent cinemas like the Labia Theatre are asking patrons to pre-book tickets in advance for when it reopens. This will hopefully ensure a good cash flow, some damage control and ensure there are able to stay afloat. While exhibitors and supporting marketing and PR wings will be feeling the direct effects of a lockdown, cessation of new releases and zero ticket sales, this is not the only part of the entertainment industry that's taking a knock.

freelancer cast and crew

Consider all the actors and crew, essentially freelancers, who built their solid careers landing one job at a time. Not having any immediate work, foreseeable work or live shows makes it almost impossible to plan or account for future earnings. Already a competitive industry, restrained by inefficient regulations and an apparent lack of funding, these freelancers will be feeling the hardest effects of the lockdown.

While there's plenty of panic and fear in the air, there's some hope. Some have taken a page from celebrated actors like Anthony Hopkins who are turning the self-quarantine period into a publicity campaign. Posting short videos of him playing piano for his cat, walking among his artworks... he's generating some great publicity from people amused or moved by his stay at home antics. Some actors have taken to reading children's books as storytellers for kids. Then, there are others like director Tim Greene, who is actually leveraging the pandemic situation to create a movie. He's casting actors to join his lockdown movie project in which actors will shoot scenes on their phones and upload them for him to edit together. Local actor, photographer and poet, Gerard Rudolf, is taking to reading a poem every day as part of his 21 for 21 series for the lockdown.

Countries like Germany are creating funds to help keep their entertainment industry alive, realising its intrinsic value and scale of economy. Unfortunately, right now in South Africa as much as some efforts are being made to appeal to government organs, there's not much hope that anything will be done to remedy the situation. Having already had to fight for their rights when it comes to residuals, the notion of being a struggling actor is fast becoming a lifestyle choice rather than a career risk. Unable to garner the residuals that other actors in other countries are able to it's become a game of survival, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Our cast and crew are talented and have what it takes to be successful but are thwarted by a lack of opportunities, unfair remuneration policies and the diminishing rate of international productions coming to our shores. The coronavirus outbreak, now declared a pandemic, has caused shock waves across the world, but these are being experienced head-on by our community freelancers who while already disadvantaged will now be feeling the brunt of financial hardship with a hazy and unclear future ahead.

Let's hope that this dire situation will serve as a shakeup for the entertainment industry. Hitting the reset button will hopefully enable the right stakeholders to be appealed to in order to make things right and encourage growth in the sector. Our film industry can be one of the best in the world, but will need the right leadership and preconditions in order to leverage our geographic and human resources in a way that is fair, sustainable and conducive to growth.

If you're an actor, producer, director, technical crew or freelance worker and you've lost income due to a cancellation of a production, you can claim compensation from Department of Arts and Culture: http://www.dac.gov.za/content/z-relief-plan-department-sports-arts-and-culture-dsac

Alternatively, if you're in a position to help, please consider providing some financial relief to local entertainment artists who depend on events and shows for their income. Here's a fund that has been set up to do just that: https://gogetfunding.com/the-south-african-entertainment-industry-relief-fund/

 
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