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Tuesday, May 23, 2017


In a resolute move to address the role of women in film, the Durban International Film Festival and the Durban FilmMart (DFM), this year presents an in-depth programme that addresses the inequalities, challenges and successes that women face within the film industry, specifically in South Africa and on the continent.

Calling for an inclusive dialogue on the role of women, the eThekwini Municipality’s film industry arm - the Durban Film Office, the Durban International Film Festival, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the lobby and advocacy organization Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), and international partner CaribbeanTales Media Group, are all providing input into the Women Led Film - Disrupting the Status Quo programme within this year’s DFM which takes place from July 14 to17 in Durban.

Despite major leaps for female equity across many industries, the film industry, especially behind the camera, is still very much male-dominated, and as such, requires quantum shifts to ensure that women begin playing a more equitable role going forward,” says Toni Monty, of the Durban Film Office speaking on behalf of the DFM. “The objective of our women-focused programme is to bring a variety of voices together to discuss and unpack these challenges and to find useful and tangible ways to make the change needed and desired.”

“The programme will present a number of workshops, roundtables and panel discussions with leading women in film.

In a world of vast gender inequalities, it is inevitable to reflect at such bitter reality, and more importantly start working towards their redress: which starts with creation of platforms. The Women Led Film Focus becomes one of the many attempts in securing platforms to acknowledge, deliberate, and celebrate woman excellence in the film milieu.” David wa Maahlamela, Director of UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, hosts of the Durban International Film Festival.

Sara Blecher, well-known South African film-maker and co-founder of SWIFT (Sisters Working in Film & Television) which aims to nurture and redress the inequalities faced by women in the South African audiovisual industry, echoes these sentiments: “As the women’s struggle in film begins to finally garner the attention it needs around the world, we need to look to achieving some concrete results. We have to really start looking at the local film landscape and our status within this. The focus on women at DFM, will help shine the spotlight both on the representation of women on the screen, but also more importantly on the women behind the screen.”

Parallel to the DFM focus, the DIFF will be highlighting films made by and about women within its screening programme. Festival Manager, Chipo Zhou says, “The festival has this year taken considered strides to ensure that the inclusivity of participation by women is measurable across the board from selection, jury and facilitator panels throughout the different facets of our event. The quality of film submissions by women this year demands that a space is created to ensure the momentum in the quantity of projects by women is not only maintained but augmented. This is a conscious move towards making this a permanent feature of the festival as our contribution towards the redress that is urgently required within the film industry.”

The NFVF has been working within this space for some time, and will be presenting the successes of their Female FilmMaker Project at the DFM.

“The decision to focus on women for the NFVF is a deliberate one. The objective is to break down the barriers to entry faced by women in the industry, especially black women who are the most marginalized. If the industry is to grow, thrive and become sustainable then all South Africans need equal opportunity to participate and contribute. Programmes focused on women will continue to be prioritized and we are encouraged and proud of the success witnessed by the previous female project funding recipient”, said Zama Mkosi CEO of the National Film and Video Foundation

The Durban FilmMart runs from July 14 to 17, during the Durban International Film Festival. Delegate registration is now open. For more information or to register go to


(Members of the company)

A vibrant large-scale original musical theatre production – Dance Africa Dance – will showcase creative talent from throughout Africa, to be staged at the Playhouse Drama early in June ahead of travelling to Russia as part of the African support team for Cameroon during the Confederation Cup.

Creative live-wire, Sifiso Mthethwa and his Vision Faces team have conceived a 100% original production which talks to the continent of Africa’s inherent love of soccer, dance and music as a unifier, and common thread among strangers. He has cast a multi-national collaborative company of dancers and musicians from KZN, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana. The production uses English as its central language, while incorporating Mother-tongue influences and themes from participating nations.

The company is 50-member strong, comprising performers, dancers, musicians, drummers and support staff. As part of the social-cohesion process, the cast have collaborated to envision, write and devise the production, under the framework and direction of Sifiso Mthethwa.

“Soccer unites Africa. As does music and dance. The culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of tribes, cultures, religions, languages and legacies that each have their own unique characteristics. We really wanted to create a very special purpose-made product which shows the world that through our common interests, like soccer, music and dance, we can find unity and strength in a divided and fractured world. The DAD mission is to contribute in strengthening the BRICS initiative by ensuring that Africa is united; sings with one voice and dances in unity ,” considers Mthethwa.

“We wanted our process and production to reflect the power of unity through arts, and to showcase this to an international audience. We are delighted to be premiering our production on our home turf before travelling abroad. “We believe Dance Africa Dance will give Africa and the world the other picture of South Africa that our people and our government does not support Xenophobia and this will show the world we are trying to unite Africa using sports and culture,” concludes Mthethwa

Dance Africa Dance has been championed by COSUA - a pan-African organisation that mobilises support for African teams in international football tournaments. The production’s aim is for Dance Africa Dance to symbolically represent African support from all African countries to encourage African Champions Cameroon during Confederation Cup in Russia in June 2017.

Dance Africa Dance will proudly represent the African continent in Moscow, St. Pietersburg and Sochi in mid-June during Confederation Cup. The intention is then to tour to China – performing in three cities; Shanghai, Hong Kong and Hangzhou. 

Dance Africa Dance is conceived by Sifiso Mthethwa, written by Sifiso Mthethwa and the company; Music Director is Nhlanhla Sibisi, choreography is by the company, dance captain is Bheki Mbili. Costume co-ordination by Nelisiwe Rushualang on behalf of Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre who have hosted the rehearsal process and provided administrative and logistical support.

The production has been made possible through the generous support of the National Ministry of Arts and Culture.

Dance Africa Dance will premiere in the Playhouse Drama from June 7 to 11. Booking is through / 0861 915 8000 / Shoprite Checkers Money Market Counters.


(Dan Patlansky)

South African musicians, Ard Mathews, Dan Patlansky, Locnville and Siphokazi, are among the drawcards at this year’s Royal Agricultural Show concerts.

Music plays a major part in the event, which runs at the Agricultural Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg from May 26 to June 4.

First up is the East Coast Radio Royal Rock Concert, featuring The Black Lapels, Mathews, Patlansky and Locnville, which will take place on May 27 in the main arena.

The Vuma FM Concert will feature the talents of Msizi Shembe, Makhosi Khozi, Linda ‘The Game’ and Siphokazi on May 28.

For those who love Bollywood music and dancing, then make sure you head to the Royal on the evening of June 3 for the Hindvani FM Extravaganza.

For those who prefer classical music, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will be in town from 10h00 on June 4 for the Royal Symphony Concert. The 90-minute performance will be conducted by Richard Cock and will feature a mix of light classics and medleys of music by the likes of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. The soloists are Andrew Butler, Shelley MacLean and Hayley Hounsom-Heyns.

The final musical offering of the weekend will be delivered by Radio Sonde Grense (RSG) who are hosting an afternoon of tunes from Lee Vaughn, Wynand and Cheree Strydom, Anton Goosen and Robbie Wessels on June 4.

However, there is more for show-goers to enjoy with more than 400 commercial, industrial and service sector exhibits, and The Mercury Hall of Fine Living, which will host a food and culinary display, focused on the food chain from production to consumption. 

Entry to the Royal Show costs R65 (R40 for children under 12 and pensioners) Entry is R40 for everyone on May 31 and R50 on June 2. Tagged as Super Friday, the halls will remain open until 20h30 and the funfair will provide unlimited rides between 17h00 and 19h00 for R150.


(Shades of Blue)

M-Net’s extended Prime Time (18h00 to midnight, seven days a week) is closing off May with a bang. With a diverse range of shows- there’s drama, there’s comedy and there’s a little bit of romance- this month’s Golden Globe and Emmy® Award nominated line-up is definitely a must-see.

What makes the following bunch of new mind-blowing shows great, is their diversity. Not only do the shows below have rave reviews or the coveted awards above, they are trending all over the television scene.

May 24 at 20h00: New family comedy Kevin Can Wait stars Emmy Award-nominated actor Kevin James as Kevin Gable. Funnyman Kevin James is known for his extensive and successful career, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes as a writer and producer. His same-name character in the series, finds that his much-anticipated retirement from the police force is grounded when his daughter returns home from college with a big surprise. The family comedy’s cast includes Erinn Hayes (Transparent), Taylor Spreitler (Melissa & Joey) and Ryan Cartwright (Mom).
Available on the following platforms: PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA

May 27 at 18h30: From Eric Kripke (Revolution, Supernatural), Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and the producers of The Blacklist comes the thrilling action-adventure Timeless in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America by changing the past. A history professor, a soldier and an engineer are recruited to travel through time to capture this bad guy- without altering the past while doing it. The historical sci-fi mashup stars: Abigail Spencer (Suits) as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter (90210), as Wyatt Logan, Malcolm Barrett aka Verbal the Rapper (The Hurt Locker), as Rufus Carlin, Goran Visnjic (ER) as Garcia Flynn. Additional cast includes Paterson Joseph as Connor Maso, Sakina Jaffrey as Agent Denise Christopher and Claudia Doumit as Jiya.
Available on the following platforms: PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA

May 29 at 19h30: Golden Globe and Emmy® Award nominated This is Us season 1, explores the heart-warming story of a unique ensemble whose paths and life stories intertwine in curious ways. A smart and modern dramedy with a stellar cast, this series promises to challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know. The show received rave reviews for its first season. This is Us stars: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate, Justin Hartley as Kevin, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Chris Sullivan as Toby and Ron Cephas Jones as William.
Available on the following platforms: PC, PVR, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA

May 29 at 20h30: The Good Fight picks up one year after the events of the final broadcast episode of The Good Wife. In this new series, an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of a young lawyer, Maia, while simultaneously wiping out her mentor Diane Lockhart’s savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee, they join Lucca Quinn at one of Chicago’s prominent law firms. The Good Fight’s first season is executive produced by Robert and Michelle King, original creators of The Good Wife.
Emmy, two-time Tony, Screen Actors Guild, Drama Desk and American Comedy Award winner Christine Baranski reprises her role as the fierce Diane Lockhart. Also returning from The Good Wife is Cush Jumbo as Lucca Quinn and Sarah Steel as Marissa Gold. New cast members include Game of Thrones alumnus Rose Leslie and Justin Bartha of The New Normal.
A Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award-nominated writing team, Robert and Michelle King have been creative collaborators for 15 years and married for nearly 30. In addition to The Good Wife, in 2016 they created the sci-fi parody BrainDead starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Tveit and Danny Pino.
Available on the following platforms: PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA

May 29 at 22h00: Author Neil Gaiman’s best-selling book finally comes to television with American Gods. The epic fantasy drama follows a recently released ex-convict named Shadow Moon who crosses paths with a mysterious man named Mr Wednesday. From here, a storm begins to brew: hired to be a bodyguard by Mr Wednesday, Shadow finds a world of old gods and new gods unfolding before him - a dark, mythical experience that will change him forever.
American Gods stars: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Bruce Langley, Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Badaki, Gillian Anderson, Peter Stormare, Crispin Glover, Kristin Chenoweth and Orlando Jones.
Available on the following platforms: PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA
NB: American Gods has a very high age restriction (18VSNL), parental guidance and the use of parental control is advised.

May 30 at 20h30: Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta are back for the explosive second season of the hit police drama Shades of Blue. Detective Harlee Santos (Lopez) is as committed as ever to raising her teenage daughter while continuing to defend her tight-knit squad of corrupt cops, who never hesitate to bypass the law to safeguard their precinct and each other. Having killed her daughter’s father, Harlee must go to great lengths to cover up her tracks in the anticipated second season premiere.
The series also stars: Drea de Matteo as Detective Tess Nazario, Warren Kole as Special Agent Robert Stahl, Dayo Okeniyi as Detective Michael Loman, Hampton Flukeras Detective Marcus Tufo, Vincent Laresca as Detective Carlos Espada, Sarah Jeffery as Cristina Santosand Gino Anthony Pesi as Assistant District Attorney James Nava.
Available on the following platforms: PC, IPAD, IPHONE, ANDROID PHONE, ANDROID TABLET, PRODEA and EXPLORA