A Short (Cool) History of South African Cinema

African Cinema

+ During the 1910s and 1920s, many South African films were made in or around Durban. These films often made use of the dramatic scenery available in rural KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the Drakensberg region.

+ KwaZulu-Natal was also served as the appropriate location for historical films such as De Voortrekkers (1916) and The Symbol of Sacrifice (1918)

African Cinema

Sarie Marais, the first Afrikaans-language sound film, was released in 1931. Subsequent sound releases such as Die Wildsboudjie(1948), a 1949 Sarie Marais remake, and Daar doer in die bosveld (1950) continued to cater primarily to white, Afrikaans-speaking audiences.

+ The 1950s saw an increased use of South African locations and talent by international filmmakers. British co-productions like Coast of Skeletons (1956) and American co-productions like The Cape Town Affair (1957) reflected the a growing trend of shooting in real locations, rather than using backlots.

African Cinema

Our Best Posts of 2014

Our Best Posts Roundup

Over the past 12 months we’ve used ourselves as guinea pigs in a new realm. We’ve worked to see whether it’s the old or new films from South African history which inspire you, we’ve learned how to debut our films abroad, and we’ve found better ways to work, write and create.

The process has been enlightening, productive and ultimately just a lot of fun.

With the new year now in full swing, we’ve put away our holiday overindulgences to take time to reflect on some of our favourite (and most popular) articles of 2014:

Framegrabs of “Trompie”

Silwerskerm Film Festival

Isiboshwa

Interview with Tonie Van Der Merwe

On CNBC

Uthemba

Uthemba South African Cinema
KEY CREW & CAST
Director Rudi Mayer Cast Lucas Tsiane
Producer Rudi Mayer Muntu Ndebele
Writer Rudi Mayer Aaron Mbuli
DOP Rudi Mayer Danney Maphalala
Editor N/A Anton Sibanda
Sound Frank Muller Jerry Ndabukelwayo
Y.O.P 1980’s Patrick Ntuli
Running Time 93 min Josef Mualefe
Language isiZulu Mandy Kunene
Genre Crime / Drama Patricia Mothibedi
SYNOPSIS

Themba is released from serving two years in prison for his best friend, Vusi. Upon his release, he discovers that Vusi, the car thief, has been sleeping with his girlfriend, Thandi. Themba decides to change his fate and become a snitch – helping the police put an end to Vusi’s on-going crime spree. Vusi has Thandi executed, blaming her for his current misfortunes. Themba moves the final chess piece into place, resulting in Vusi’s ultimate demise and capture.

Uthemba South African Cinema

Uthemba South African Cinema

Joe Bullet at Carthage International Film Festival!

Carthage Film Festival Tunisia

Joe Bullet is having it’s North African premier at the Carthage International Film Festival this week.

Screenings are:

2 Dec 3:30pm at “Rio Cinema”

5 Dec 8:30pm at “Mondial Cinema”

In other news, our Trompie DVD is available at selected Musica stores and from our website www.gravelroadafrica.com. For only R99.99, own your own personal copy of this South African film from 1975.

Join our community on Facebook and on Twitter.

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Joe Bullet screens in Tunisia #Retroafrika

Trompie DVD

Mandla

Mandla South African Cinema

KEY CREW & CAST
Director Tonie Van Der Merwe Cast Hector Mathanda
Producer Mary-Ann Spangenberg Innocent “Popo” Gumede
Writer Ilza Oosthuizen Kay Magubane
DOP Tony Cunningham Dumi Shongwe
Editor N/A Cleopatra Nyide
Sound Philip Kershaw Mandla Ngcoya
Y.O.P 1980’s Phumlani Phewa
Running Time 69 min
Language isiZulu
Genre Comedy
SYNOPSIS

When two dim-witted thieves escape from prison and ransack Mandla’s house, the young boy’s parents believe he and his friend are to blame. Determined to prove their innocence, Mandla and his pal set off in search of the true culprits.

After a few close calls and a daring escape, Mandla and his friend manage to capture the escaped convicts.

Mandla South African Cinema

Mandla South African Cinema

“Trompie” – An Interview on Kyknet

Trompie South African Film

Our restored Afrikaans film will be available in Musica nationwide across South Africa in November. We are very proud of this and hope you will enjoy this restored South African classic from 1975. More on Trompie here. This is the digitally remastered version of the original 1975 feature film about Trompie, based on the Topsy Smith books. It’s about the mischievous young Trompie and the misadventures he and his gang of friends embark upon. Follow its Facebook page here.

CEO of Gravel Road Entertainment Group, who bring you the film, spoke recently on “Kyknet” in South Africa on DSTV.

The Mini RetroAfrika Film Festival JHB 24th Oct

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

Coming up we have The Mini RetroAfrika Film Festival in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema in Johannesburg 24th – 26th October. 4 Films will be showcased as part of a mini festival – “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Trompie” and “Umbango”. Here’s a few stills from them. More details on this event to follow. Enjoy!

"Fishy Stones" Screen Grab

“Fishy Stones” Screen Grab

"Fishy Stones" Screen Grab

“Fishy Stones” Screen Grab

"Umbango" Screen Grab

“Umbango” Screen Grab

"Umbango" Screen Grab

“Umbango” Screen Grab

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

"Trompie" Screen Grab

“Trompie” Screen Grab

"Joe Bullet" Screen Grab

“Joe Bullet” Screen Grab

"Joe Bullet" Screen Grab

“Joe Bullet” Screen Grab

The Retro Afrika Team on “Film SA” DSTV 404!

Zero for Zep screen grab Retro Afrika

Screen grab from “Zero for Zep”

Retro Afrika Bioscope will be featured in a new series for Film SA on SABC News DSTV Channel 404. Starting tonight at 5:30pm and repeating tomorrow at 12:30pm, the series will run for the next 6 weeks every Friday at 5:30pm. Each episode will highlight one of the team members behind the magic of the Retro Afrika label. Tune in! Tonight’s feature will be on Reginald Pillay.

Watch our coverage on CNBC Africa which also goes behind the scenes at Gravel Road Entertainment’s offices. See the magic of restoring these vintage classics for yourself!

Reginald Pillay Lab Technician

Reginald Pillay Lab Technician