2020 Wrap up – Movie-making during lockdown

Movie-making

Perhaps the key phrase to use here is in the heading itself, 2020 Wrap up – Movie-making during lockdown. Yes, wrap it up and throw it away, to the deepest part of the ocean, for it never to return.

Yes, those are the sentiments of many, I am sure, but was it all bad? Was 2020 the plot of the best motion picture ever made or of a failed blockbuster?

How did South Africa manage movie-making during lockdown?

The first South African movie filmed, produced and edited during the lockdown, could be coming to a small screen near you sooner than later! Cabin Fever, produced and directed by a Safta award-winning director, Tim Greene.  It is a movie true to its name and has a storyline everyone can relate to, COVID-19. One of about 19 films produced during the lockdown period, so it seems the South African movie industry worked around all its many challenges and was quietly triumphant.

Movie-making

How did Hollywood manage movie-making during lockdown?

In true American style, they marched on! As was the case worldwide in the movie-making industry. Production slowed dramatically, but scenes were still filmed at the actors’ homes, sent through to producers via technology, the producer would then watch and send back the scene with critique for a retake, and so it went!  Albeit in a different way, movies were still being made!

2020 Wrap Up – Movie-making during lockdown.

The movie industry’s excitement heightens as 2020 comes to an end, as great movies, which were supposed to be released earlier this year, and weren’t due to the worldwide pandemic, will be here soon!

Feature films like The Batman, The Beatles: Get Back, Antlers and The Artists Wife will be releasing in the first half of the new year, and 2021 promises to be more entertaining than the year that was 2020!

Actors and actresses have had to become versatile and learn to do things differently, as has been the case for anyone holding down a job. Our working environments are now ‘business as unusual,’ and that’s the new normal!

Movie-making

And that’s a wrap!

The film industry is arguably one of the most impactful sectors in modern society. Sitcoms and comedy shows make us laugh, psychological thrillers help us see the world from an improved perspective, and historical films help us understand where we’ve come from as a people. A virus certainly won’t stop movie making and bring this multibillion-dollar industry to a standstill!

Head over to our website to see more exciting reads.

The makings of a good Christmas movie!

christmas movie

Every good Christmas movie seems to have a common thread … a happy ending, right?  So, could this ‘happy ending’ be the reason we all inevitably watch at least one Christmas movie during the season?

The Christmas Movie countdown

Every year, from mid-October until just before the new year, all the television channels offer us various Christmas movies. Whether it be old traditional films, like A Charlie Brown Christmas from 1965, or a more recent, not so conventional Christmas movie, like The Holiday from 2006, the common thread seems to be the same, in pursuit of a happy ending. Are we all secretly in need of a ‘happy ending’ moment and hence, love or hate this festive time of the year, we watch a Christmas movie?

Choosing the right movie for the family

Dad wants something with fast-moving cars and action. Mom would prefer romance and perhaps a little drama. And the kids, well, let’s be honest, if it’s not about a cell phone, Fortnight, or a teleporting specialist, you will not get them to pay attention long enough to understand the plot anyway! So, how do you choose the right movie for the family?

As it is with Christmas, it’s all about the children!  Usually, it’s the youngest member of the family who gets to choose, and everyone else sits through the movie, either loving it or hating it, but watching it none the less, all in anticipation of the ‘happy ending.’

Making the Christmas movie night a tradition

In all good Christmas movies, there is usually one thing that keeps you watching.  Sometimes it is the inevitable snowfall at midnight or the return of a long-lost family member; whatever it may be, it keeps us vested and waiting in anticipation.  These emotions displayed in a movie stir up a sentiment we can easily relate to.  A good feeling. A happy ending. We enjoy that feeling and want more of it, and so,  the tradition of watching Christmas movies at Christmas time is born.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So yes, perhaps it’s the big lunch gathering or the corny Christmas jokes every year without fail that makes you enjoy the holiday. But, ultimately, the Christmas movie you choose to watch as a family sets the tone for a memorable fun experience, one you talk about year after year.  The one with the makings of a good Christmas movie.

Head over to our website to see more exciting reads.

Horror Films: Keeping us Scared

Horror

Humans have been telling horror stories and folklore for thousands of years, through oral history, literature, and, finally, film. One film genre that has evolved drastically since being introduced in the 1920s is horror. 

Come with us on a little trip down memory lane, and find out why we love horror films so much

At the start of the genre, in the 1920s and 30s, literary classics brought us the first horror films, like FrankensteinDr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Werewolf. As they started to develop beyond that many viewers became unnerved and heavy censoring took place. 

Frankenstein

Then came the slasher genre in the 1940s, thanks to Alfred Hitchcock with Psycho closely followed by the theme of radioactive mutation. As war was ravaging Europe and fears of nuclear fallout were high, horror introduced us to Godzilla, The War of the Worlds, and The Incredible Shrinking Man.

The 1950s and 60s were seen as the ‘gimmicky’ years, with 3D glasses, electric buzzers, and paid stooges performing in the audience. These gimmicks, unfortunately, cost a lot of money and led the movies themselves being low budget. 

The late 1960s saw an American appetite for gore and the arrival of zombie movies, the most popular one to note being Night of the Living Dead.

The 1970s and 80s took a turn towards the occult, most particularly featuring houses and children possessed by the devil, think The Exorcist and The Omen. This is also when supernatural horror films based on literature makes a comeback – with Stephen King novels entering with Carrie and The Shining

The Exorcist

The slasher genre reared its head again in the 1980s. If you were a bunch of kids, a relentless antagonist was hunting you down. Most popular, at the time, was The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The 1990s was a particularly poor time for horror; computer-generated special effects were making an appearance and brought with it uninspiring monster movies such as Anaconda and Deep Rising. Luckily there were a few comedy horrors in this time that were enjoyable such as Scream and Braindead

The 2000s too were quite disappointing, only with the zombie subgenre bringing some intrigue with 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, and I Am Legend

We are now seeing extremely original horror films emerging, giving us hope that the genre will continue to offer new intrigue for those who love a little fright with their Friday night movies. With releases like Insidious, Cabin in the Woods, and It Follows it seems as though the genre is moving into a very creative space. 

It Follows

Fear on Demand

If you’re looking to find the best genre titles the world has to offer, head off to frightfan.tv. This is a progressive website application which means that you can watch films on your pc, laptop or mobile device (Android and Apple devices running iOS9.3 or higher) without having to download an app. 

Each film is available on the service for 60 days, with new additions every week. If you can’t find it here, request it, and we will do our best to get it. R25,00 / US$1,70 per rental. Watch the film as many times as you like in 48 hours. 

Enjoy our other blogs about cinema, South African filmmakers, movies and retro vibes from Retro Afrika Bioscope.

South African Filmmaker making it big

South African filmmaker

South African Filmmaker making it big

We all enjoy a ‘rags to riches’ story. And, a South African making it big in Hollywood is just about the biggest story you can get. South Africa has had its small share of glory as a country in Hollywood – with Charlize Theron winning an Oscar for Monster back in 2004, and more recently (2015) Trevor Noah taking the lead at The Daily Show.

But the story we want to share is of Gavin Hood filmmaker, who is less in the limelight, more in the background. How much do you know about this South African filmmaker success story?

Where does this South African filmmaker come from?

Gavin Hood didn’t believe a successful career in filmmaking was on the cards for him, as a South African, so he studied law. It was while practising law that he found his way into film anyway. He was cast in the South African television series The Game in 1989 and, after that, decided to leave law behind and pursue his love for film. In 1991, he went to LA to study screenwriting and directing at the University of California and, as it turned out, found his true calling behind the camera.

Gavin Hood’s Filmmaker Career

South African filmmaker

After studying in California, Gavin Hood filmmaker returned to SA where he won an Artes Award for his work in an educational drama for the Department of Health. In 1998, he made a short film called The Storekeeper which won 13 awards at international film festivals. This success led him to be able to co-produce and direct a feature film based on a screenplay he wrote and won an award for while studying in California, called A Reasonable Man. This movie too won many international awards. After this success, Gavin worked on a Polish film set in Africa called In Desert and Wilderness, which went on to become the highest-grossing film in Poland in 2001, also winning international awards.

In 2003, Gavin wrote and directed a screenplay based on the novel Tsotsi by SA writer, Athol Fugard … and the rest, as they say, is history. Tsotsi won the People’s Choice award at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, was nominated for a Screen International Award at the European Film Awards, and won an Academy Award – amongst others.

Since then he has directed Rendition (2007) starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) starring Hugh Jackman, Ender’s Game (2013) starring Harrison Ford, and Eye in the Sky (2015) starring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul.

What is Gavin doing now?

South African filmmaker, Gavin Hood, bounces back and forth between London and Joburg, and he says it’s his legal background that draws him towards stories – he favours ones that offer a moral or ethical dilemma. The Storekeeper, for example, examined how far you can go in defence of your property.

His latest project, Official Secrets (2019) starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, premiered at Sundance and earned a standing ovation from the audience – and IFC Films acquired the US rights. With a strong woman at the helm of this movie, Gavin explores the theme of loyalty, and it looks as if he has another box officer winner on his hands.

Enjoy our other blogs about cinema, South African filmmakers, movies and retro vibes from Retro Afrika Bioscope.

And, please do follow us on social media.

The rise of the drive-in cinemas

drive-in cinemas

Remember the days of bundling into the backseat to make your way to the drive-in cinema?  Or, meeting friends to watch the latest movie, with popcorn and a drink too large? These seem to be distant memories for most of us now. While the reopening of cinemas in South Africa is now allowed, these spaces will not be back to ‘business as usual’ for a while. Cinemas need to open in compliance with measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

What does this mean? To comply with social distancing protocols, cinemas will only allow 50 people or less in at one time. There are also limitations on operating hours, service, and contact. For places such as Ster-Kinekor, limiting contact is easy, with movies tickets and snacks being available for purchase through their app or website. But for smaller, private cinemas this can be tricky.

If the idea of being in a cinema with 49 other people still makes you nervous, we may have the answer to your movie cravings. It seems that the pandemic has seen a rise in the return of the drive-in cinema. Now there’s a distant, and fond, memory.

Drive-in cinemas around the world

It makes sense that as the pandemic continues and moviegoers are hesitant to venture out, that cinemas will see a decline in attendance. In contrast, drive-in or open-air cinemas may see an increase in popularity.

Here are just three examples of the return of the drive-in cinema.

Galileo Open Air Cinema

drive-in cinemas

Already bringing cinema to the outdoors, Galileo holds open-air cinema options throughout South Africa, in beautiful settings too. But now they are offering a drive-in cinema experience to keep things COVID-friendly. You can buy tickets and food online, and when you arrive, you park, cuddle and enjoy the film from the comfort of your own car.

Walmart Pop-up Drive-in Cinemas

drive-in cinemas

For the summer, Walmart will transform 160 parking lots into drive-in cinemas. The movies featured will be programmed by Tribeca Enterprises, which also brings music and sporting events to other drive-ins throughout the US. Walmart will also offer concessions that are ordered online for curbside pick-up ahead of the movie screening.

Floating Cinema in Paris

drive-in cinemas

Okay, so this one was just a one-off but is still worth mentioning. The city of Paris made a big event out of the announcement that cinemas were reopening. They arranged an organised screening of the French movie ‘Le grand bain’ on the banks of the Seine. Moviegoers attended on boats and deck chairs on the bank of the river. Now that’s style.

With many movie-lovers still quite apprehensive at the thought of going back into the cinemas, we hope to see many more open-air or drive-in cinema options open throughout South Africa over the summer. We are desperate to have our favourite past-time back, in one form or another.

Enjoy our other blogs about cinema, movies and retro vibes from Retro Afrika Bioscope.

And, please do follow us on social media.

What Was Happening When

TreasureHunter-framegrabs-13

1989 – Treasure Hunters

After hearing a tale of a mysterious lost treasure, an old man’s family heads off on a perilous journey only to suffer the same fate as the shipwrecked survivors from sixty years ago.

+ Jan 8 The African National Congress announces that it will start dismantling its guerrilla camps in Angola in support of the peace process.

+ Jan 18 State President of South Africa P.W. Botha has a mild stroke.

+ Feb 2 An ailing State President Pieter Willem Botha steps down from the leadership of the National Party, but remains state president.

+ Feb 2 Trevor Manuel is released from detention under stringent restriction orders.

+ March 15–21 A conference of African National Congress chief representatives and regional treasurers takes place in Gran, Norway.

+ Date Unknown An explosion occurs outside the Natal Command HQ on Durban‘s beachfront.

+ May 5 Three South African Embassy staff are ordered to leave Britain within 7 days because of the attempted smuggling of a Blowpipe missile.

+ May 17 Tumelo Faith Sindane is born at Zebediela.

+ July 5 PW Botha, State President of South Africa, and Nelson Mandela, in prison at the time, meet for the first time.

+ August 10 The Cabinet prevails on P.W. Botha to resign as state president and FW de Klerk becomes acting State President of South Africa.

+ Date Unknown A grenade is thrown into a Labour Party polling station in Bishop Lavis.

+ September 12 Anton Lubowski, advocate and secretary-general of the South West Africa People’s Organization, is shot dead outside his home in Windhoek, South West Africa.

+ November 27 The Hex River Tunnels system is officially opened. The system’s longest tunnel is 13.5 kilometres (8.4 miles) long, the longest railway tunnel in Africa.

TreasureHunter-framegrabs-19

TreasureHunter-framegrabs-16

TreasureHunter-framegrabs-11

What Was Happening When

Hostage RetroAfrika

1980 – Hostage

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed

+ 26 March A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23

+ 12 March In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training

+ 4 April Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s

+ 21 April More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes

+ 29 April In Johannesburg hundreds of coloured school children are arrested in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act during a student-police confrontation

+ 1 June Bombs explode at Sasol One and Two and Natref Eight at Sasolburg and Secunda, with no injuries and RM58 damage. The attack was organised by Solomon Mahlangu of the Umkhonto weSizwe Special Operations

+ 29 Oct Umkhonto we Sizwe insurgents throw two grenades into the government buildings of the West Rand Administration Board and injure a security guard and his friend.

Hostage-16

Hostage RetroAfrika

Hostage RetroAfrika

Hostage RetroAfrika

What Was Happening When

Rich Girl Stills

1980 – Rich Girl

+ 25 Jan Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed

+ 26 March A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23

+ 12 March In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training

+ 4 April Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s

+ 21 April More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes

+ 29 April In Johannesburg hundreds of coloured school children are arrested in terms of the Riotous Assemblies Act during a student-police confrontation

+ 1 June Bombs explode at Sasol One and Two and Natref Eight at Sasolburg and Secunda, with no injuries and RM58 damage. The attack was organised by Solomon Mahlangu of the Umkhonto weSizwe Special Operations

+ 29 Oct Umkhonto we Sizwe insurgents throw two grenades into the government buildings of the West Rand Administration Board and injure a security guard and his friend.

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

Rich Girl Stills

What Was Happening When

Hostage Waterfront Film Studios

1980 – Hostage 

+ Jan 14 The local community at Soekmekaar resists forced removal and damages the police station.

+ Jan 25 Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed.

+ March 12 In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training.

+ March 26 A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23.

+ April 4 Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s.

+ April 21 More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes.

+ Oct 14 The Soweto community calls for a stayaway to protest against rent increases.

+ Oct 15 A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene.

+ Nov 21 A terrorist is killed in Chiawelo and a child is injured by police in the process.

What Was Happening When

Gone Crazy Screen Grab Retro Afrika

1980 – Gone Crazy 

+ Jan 14 The local community at Soekmekaar resists forced removal and damages the police station.

+ Jan 25 Three Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists, Stephen Mafoko, Humphrey Makhubo and Wilfred Madela, kill two civilians and hold the staff and customers in a bank in Silverton in Pretoria hostage. The siege ends in a shoot-out with the police in which all three terrorists are killed.

+ March 12 In Pretoria nine people are sentenced to five to seven years imprisonment for training as guerrillas outside South Africa and recruiting others to undergo training.

+ March 26 A mine lift cage at the Vaal Reefs gold mine in South Africa falls 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles), killing 23.

+ April 4 Umkhonto we Sizwe attacks the Booysens Police Station in Johannesburg with grenades, rocket launchers and AK47s.

+ April 21 More than sixty coloured high schools, teacher training colleges and the University of the Western Cape start boycotting classes.

+ Oct 14 The Soweto community calls for a stayaway to protest against rent increases.

+ Oct 15 A bomb damages a railway line in Dube, Soweto and Piet Koornhof, minister of co-operation and development, visits the scene.

+ Nov 21 A terrorist is killed in Chiawelo and a child is injured by police in the process.

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