African Content Loved Internationally In 2022
BLACK GIRL | Named one of Sight & Sound’s top 100 films of all time
Just named one of the top 100 films of all time in Sight & Sound’s once-a-decade critics’ poll, Ousmane Sembène’s debut 1966 film, Black Girl, is the story of a young Senegalese woman who is employed as a governess for a French family in Dakar and moves with them to the Riviera, where her comfortable duties as a nanny in a wealthy household are replaced by the drudgery and indignities of a maid.
Black Girl won the Tanit d’Or at Carthage in 1966, among other prizes; was ranked joint fourth on the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival’s list of the 10 best African films of all time; and was hailed by Oscar winner Martin Scorcese (The Irishman) as “an astonishing movie.”
As Kiva Reardon, the former Toronto International Film Festival lead programmer for contemporary world cinema, who is now VP of Film at Pastel, the filmmaking collective co-founded by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, says, “In only 59 minutes, Ousmane Sembène eviscerates the myth of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité ’. Blistering in its examination of so-called postcolonialism, the film’s rigour also speaks to Sembène’s brilliant craft.”
LAKUTSHON’ ILANGA | Shortlisted for an Oscar; NAACP Image Award winner
Shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film, Lakutshon’ Ilanga (aka When the Sun Sets) tells the story of a young nurse (SAFTA nominee Zikhona Bali from Is’Thunzi) in 1985 apartheid South Africa. She must face her worst fears when she learns that her activist younger brother (AMAA nominee Aphiwe Mfeke from Surviving Gaza) may be in danger when he doesn’t return after school. The short is inspired by actual events.
Written and directed by Phumi Morare, Lakutshon’ Ilanga won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Short (Live Action) this year, having taken home the Student Academy Award in 2021, among other honours.
Lakutshon’ Ilanga premieres on Showmax on 15 December 2022.
THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE | Best Animation BAFTA winner
At the end of November 2022, The Snail and the Whale won two BAFTA Children & Young People Awards: Best Animation and Director (Max Lang and South African Daniel Snaddon).
Animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish and produced by Magic Light Pictures, 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.
Based on the picture book written in 2003 by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (creators of the modern classic The Gruffalo), the multi-award-winning The Snail and the Whale was voiced by a starry British acting cast including Sally Hawkins (Paddington, The Shape of Water) as Snail, Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) as Whale, Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show) as Teacher and the late Dame Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones) as the narrator.
REYKA | International Emmy Best Drama & Best Actress nominee
Kim Engelbrecht was nominated for an International Emmy for her title role in the M-Net crime series Reyka, which was also up for Best Drama Series.
Reyka follows criminal profiler Reyka Gama as she investigates a string of brutal murders committed by a serial killer in the sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal.
The opening night series at last year’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival, Reyka was sold by Fremantle to 147 territories, including BritBox North America, CANAL+, Channel4 in the UK, HBO LatAm, and Sky Italia. It was released as The Cane Field Killings in some territories.
The Independent (UK) gave Reyka four stars, calling the crime series “almost too disturbing” but “beautifully filmed in stunning verdant landscapes and endless skies… a drama that sears itself into your consciousness.”
M-Net has renewed Reyka for a second season.
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF DURBAN | Released on Bravo in the USA
In November 2022, the Showmax Original The Real Housewives of Durban was released on Peacock and Bravo, the original home of the hit franchise. Twitter had much to say about this, with Americans loving the show and South Africans loving the American commentary.
“We’re very excited that The Real Housewives of Durban is airing on Bravo,” says the show’s executive producer, Sam Kelly from Let It Rain Productions. “We’re particularly excited about the response that the series is getting, and we love the fact that everyone is excited about the Durban franchise and its cast. It’s also great to see how interested the international market is when it comes to seeing all the cultural aspects that are celebrated on the show. It’s a very proud moment for us.”
The Real Housewives franchise is licensed as a format by NBCUniversal Formats, a division of Universal Studio Group. Season 3 of The Real Housewives of Durban is coming first to Showmax in early 2023.
AFRICA AND I | Best First Feature Documentary at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival
Winner of the Jury Award for Best First Feature Documentary at the 2022 Pan African Film and Arts Festival, Africa and I is a 90-minute documentary about how 20-year-old Othmane Zolati walked, hitchhiked, cycled and skateboarded over 30 000 km across Africa, through 24 countries. He had never left Morocco when he started his nearly four-year journey to Cape Town, South Africa with just $80, a small backpack, and a borrowed cheap pocket camera.
Saturday Star calls Africa and I “an unrivalled glimpse into life on the continent”, Vamers “a thrilling trip through unseen Africa”, and Spling “exhilarating… a beautiful and stirring mashup of people, culture and places.”
Othmane directs and executive produces Africa and I, using the hundreds of hours of footage he taught himself to shoot along the way. He’s collaborated with a team of award-winning South African creatives he met at the end of his trip, including co-director Chris Green (writer and producer on SAFTA winner Chasing the Sun and co-showrunner of the two-time International Emmy-nominated MasterChef South Africa) and Both Worlds, the production company behind the two-time International Emmy-nominated Puppet Nation ZA.
RESPECT | Liesl Tommy nominated as Breakthrough Creative at 2022 NAACP Image Awards
South African Liesl Tommy (Mrs. Fletcher, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones) was nominated as Breakthrough Creative at the 2022 NAACP Image Awards for directing Respect, a music biopic about the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Fellow South African Avril Beukes (Peabody winner David Makes Man, Oscar nominee Yesterday) was up for Best Editor at the 2022 Black Reel Awards, while the soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year.
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson plays the lead role – after being recommended by Aretha herself after she saw Dreamgirls. The cast also includes Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (Godfather of Harlem), Emmy winners Audra McDonald (The Good Fight, The Gilded Age) and Tate Donovan (Argo, Rocketman), BET Comedy Award winner Marlon Wayans (White Chicks), Critics Choice nominee Marc Maron (GLOW), and nine-time Grammy winner Mary J Blige.
The Hollywood Reporter calls Respect, “An intimate gift of love, rich in complexity, spirituality, Black pride and feminist grit.”
Respect premieres on Showmax on 22 December 2022.
EVERYTHING ON SHOWMAX IN DECEMBER 2022
To see everything on Showmax in December 2022, including smash-hit international series like House of the Dragon; rugby documentary Rassie, from the creators of the award-winning Chasing The Sun; Steven Soderbergh’s techno-thriller Kimi, starring Zoë Kravitz; and the animated Julia Donaldson adaptation Superworm, helmed by South Africans Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman, click here.