Five Awesome Trailers To Start Your Week!

Our team at Gravel Road is working very hard at restoring old films from South Africa. These films were once last but have  now been found + are being digitally remastered. We’re pleased to showcase five trailers of our latest restored films. Enjoy!

Awesome Shots From Around South Africa!

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We live in a country rich with beauty + vibrant with culture. Our people are from all walks of life + they are the ones our films are for. We’re restoring vintage films from the 70’s + 80’s. The films were a way of escape during the harsh Apartheid years. Our current blog series – “What Was Happening When” – delves more into what was going on in the country during the years the films were made. You can clearly see the contrast between reality + escapism. These movies were a way to show a lighter side of life for viewers. Now, thanks to Gravel Road, we are bringing them back to the public. We have showed at some of the biggest film festivals in the world, including The Berlin Film Festival, The Carthage Film Festival, The Lumiere Film Festival, as well as at museums such as New York’s world-famous MoMA. We have also been at art screenings around South Africa, on South Africa’s Broadcasting Network (SABC) + on CNBC Africa. We have been written about in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Filmmaker Africa + more publications. People are sitting up + paying attention. Read more on our journeys around the world here on our blog: the category drop down menu on the right sidebar is easy to use. Subscribe to our newsletter by signing up to follow the blog. You will receive exclusive content such as news about specials, film screenings, DVD releases + behind-the-scenes photos of our team at work in our studios at Cape Town’s Waterfront. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from around South Africa, sourced from Pinterest + Google. Follow our story on Facebook here.

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Interview with Bela Sobottke

Bela Sobottke

German artist Bela Sobottke recently did some fan art of Joe Bullet after seeing the film at the Berlin Film Festival. We interviewed him for our readers.

+ Where do you live?
I live in Berlin, Germany.

+ What work do you do?
I work as a freelance comic-strip artist and graphic designer.

+ What do you like to draw/what inspires you?
I draw various stuff to pay my bills… But what I really love to draw is weird and fun genre comics. My current release KEINER KILLT SO SCHÖN WIE ROCCO is a weird western with lots of misfit characters, monsters, mutants and Apache zombies. You can catch a glimpse at https://vimeo.com/channels/2werk.
A lot of my inspiration comes from the movies, especially Exploitation and Grindhouse: Horror, Spaghetti Western, Blaxploitation… Which leads us to JOE BULLET!

+ What made you fall in love with Joe Bullet?
I saw JOE BULLET at the Berlinale (along with UMBANGO). I was instantly hooked by the cool characters, the tough action, the charismatic lead actor Ken Gampu, the groovy music (If you release the Soundtrack I’m the first to buy it) and the Blaxploitation feeling paired with that specific african vibe. Plus there is the special background story about JOE BULLET, the inhuman Apartheid circumstances, the ban, the myth… and finally the rediscovery. When Benjamin Cowley mentioned the sequel BULLET ON THE RUN after the screening, I immediately had this movie poster on my mind…

+ What is a quote you live by?
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Hunter S. Thompson

Joe Bullet fan art

10 Reasons RetroAfrika Inspires Filmmakers Today

Retro afrika bioscope

Benjamin Cowley, Tonie van der Merwe, Darryl Els

1. These films are from a crucial part of South African history

2. These films show the extraordinary talent, drive + imagination South Africans had despite hardship occurring during the Apartheid era

3. Tonie van der Merwe is an award-winning Director + Producer who has become a role model to young South African filmmakers today

4. They provided a way for people to escape during harsh times + their inspiration element has not been lost on audiences today. See CEO Benjamin Cowley’s interview here

5. They are unique + touching

6. They instigate important dialogue around issues from the past to prevent them happening again today

7. They connect people across cultures, nations + background

8. They are a preservation of our past

9. They are iconic viz. Joe Bullet was coined South Africa’s first ever Blaxploitation film

10. They provided work for artists (actors, film producers, crew members) who would otherwise have had no work

See award-winning Director Tonie van der Merwe’s interview in the News recently, See us in old press from the 70’s here.

Dorothee Wenner, Tonie van der Merwe, Benjamin Cowley

Dorothee Wenner, Tonie van der Merwe, Benjamin Cowley