What Was Happening When

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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.

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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

20 Fast Facts About Us

Framegrab from "Zero for Zep"

Framegrab from “Zero for Zep”

+ We work out of the Waterfront Film Studios in Cape Town

+ We have the only restoration facility in the Southern Hemisphere

+ We are a label of Gravel Road Entertainment Group in South Africa. See our Google+ pages here and here

+ It takes about 4-6 weeks to restore a film

+ All our films are from the 70’s/80’s in South Africa

+ Lots of films were made during this time because the government created a film subsidy that promoted the production of film. There were two subsidies: one that was geared toward white films being produced for white audiences and there was one for black audiences. The idea behind that was to create entertainment for the majority of the population to keep their minds off of any form of political unrest

+ We acquire distribution rights by tracking down these films and tracking down the owners. We then approach the owners and buy over the rights of the film

+ We identify restoration projects once we scan the films. We make the call then on whether or not there’s a commercial life on the film

+ We are trying to track down the actors from the movies to show you where they are now

+ Our most popular films so far have been “Joe Bullet” and “Trompie

+ “Joe Bullet” has been coined South Africa’s first Blaxploitation film. It’s based off of the American Blaxploitation film “Shaft,” which was made in 1973. It was banned in South Africa when it came out in 1973. It has its own IMDB page

+ We’ve appeared on CNBC, SABC, DSTV for interviews. See all our videos here

+ We’re on Twitter here and Facebook here

+ We have our very first DVD coming out in stores across South Africa. It’s our restored version of “Trompie”. “Trompie” is so popular it has its own Facebook page here

+ We have just come back from France for the “Lumiere 2014” Film Festival where we showed our restored version of “Joe Bullet”. “Joe Bullet” is so popular it has its own Facebook page here

+ We appeared recently in Variety magazine

+ We’ve just joined Pinterest! Check out our awesome board here

+ We love YouTube. We have a channel here

+ The producer of a number of the films, Tonie van der Merwe, came with us to the Durban International Film Festival this year where he won an award

+ The first time these films were ever seen on TV was during the Mayibuye Film Festival on SABC1 earlier this year

Framegrab from "Fishy Stones" which showed in Johannesburg recently

Framegrab from “Fishy Stones” which showed in Johannesburg recently

Silwerskerm Film Festival Screens “Trompie”

Trompie South African Cinema 1975 RetroAfrika Bioscope

The Silwerskerm Film Festival is an annual gathering for mostly Afrikaans filmmakers. It’s a 4-day marathon which showcases the best new South African films at the kykNET Silwerskermfees. The festival is predominantly Afrikaans, but English stand-outs like the Durban International Film Festival award-winning “Durban Poison” was also screened.

In addition to the feature films, the end results of a competition that develops script ideas from first-time filmmakers of all ages were screened. This isn’t just a film festival that showcases the best of the best. It nurtures new talent and gives it a valuable platform.

One of our more recently restored films, “Trompie”, was also screened at the venue. Directed by legendary Tonie van der Merwe in the 70’s, about 15-30 people in the room watched as a digitally remastered version of a South African classic was screened. “Trompie” is a compact, highly enjoyable and kinetic comedy feature.

“Trompie” also has some well-crafted English subtitles for non-Afrikaans audience.

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Lennox Mncedisi Gxasheka – Data Lab

Lennox Mncedisi Gxasheka

Photos by: Patrick Ryan

Shot on location at Waterfront Film Studios, Cape Town

Lennox has been intrigued by film from a young age. When he became a working professional, he jumped at the opportunity to work in the duplication of movies onto video format at the “Six Street Post Production” facility in Johannesburg, now known as “The Refinery“.

His training included all aspects; working on tape decks and ultimately producing the master copies for various television stations.

When the industry made the transition to digital, Lennox began training on the Final Cut program in order to work in the data lab facility. Using these abilities has been working on the restoration process whereby master copies can now be duplicated onto DVD’s.

Lennox Mncedisi Gxasheka

Jonathon Joubert – Picture Restoration

Jonathon Joubert

Photos by: Patrick Ryan

Shot on location at Waterfront Film Studios, Cape Town

Jono started his career in post production as an editor working on Final Cut and Avid, before becoming involved as a data lab operator doing digital deliveries, tape play-outs and mastering for feature films.

With a passion and love for film, along with a technical mind-set, film restoration became an obvious choice for Jono. He happily spends countless hours at a time painstakingly painting each and every frame of film. The aim is to bring it as close to its original and perfect form as possible.

This attention to detail might not always be noticed by audiences, but the opportunity to restore a piece of South Africa’s history- and the knowledge that it has been done right- is what brings him satisfaction.

Jonathon Joubert

 

Kyle Stroebel – Colourist

Kyle Stroebel

Photos by: Patrick Ryan

Shot on location at Waterfront Film Studios, Cape Town

Forged in the fiery cauldrons of a film school far, far away….. Kyle served under some of the greatest mentors Table Mountain’s shadow has ever witnessed. Over the years he has finely tuned his eyes with the help of these Masters’ gifts (and a staple diet of chicken nuggets and protein shakes), into a force to be reckoned with.

Accustomed to darkness, with only the light of his monitors to keep him company, his pale complexion is a testament to his acute attention to detail, colour gradients and ravishingly pale good looks. After emerging from the cut-throat realm of commercials into the light of long-form post-production work, Kyle has numerous international feature film notches on his belt. Many have been screened at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals.

Having mastered his craft on the digital platform, he has a refined touch for film restoration and has partnered with his Telecine in a somewhat twisted matrimony.

Rest assured that upon emerging from Kyle’s editing suite you’re guaranteed of leaving with a pretty picture, both on-screen and off.

Kyle Stroebel

 

Isiboshwa

Isiboshwa South African Films

This 70 minute adventure film was shot in 1989. Produced by Steve Hand and Directed by Tonie vd Merwe, it stars Sizwe Dlamini, Popo Gumede and Hector Mathanda. Catch it on SABC1 this Sunday at 8:30pm as part of the Mayibuye Film Festival!

TAGLINE

While on a camping trip, three teenage brothers go from being the hunted to the hunters in an effort to snare and catch a dangerous thief.

SYNOPSIS

The summer holidays finally arrive, and the three teenage brothers head out into the wilderness for a camping trip together. Their days are spent fishing, swimming and relaxing by their small tent on the banks of the river.

But unbeknownst to the boys, they are being watched. When things start going missing from their camp, and other strange events begin to occur, the three brothers begin to worry, unsure and unaware of who or what is stalking them.

Eventually they manage to discover what is really happening, and together they set out on a path fraught with danger, action and drama in order to bring the culprit to justice.

 DIGITALLY REMASTERED BY:

Gravel Road Entertainment