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
Interview with Tonie Van Der Merwe
Gravel Road CEO was recently up in New York for the screening of “Joe Bullet” – our restored South African film which was banned in the 70’s. Here are some photos of his time here and how he rocked New York an L.A. in proudly South African style!
framegrab from “Fishy Stones” airing Saturday night
The Mini Retro Afrika Film Festival in association with The Bioscope Independent Cinema is happening next week in Johannesburg 24th – 26th October. 4 Films will be showcased as part of a mini festival – “Joe Bullet”, “Fishy Stones”, “Trompie” and “Umbango”. We are giving away some FREE tickets to the screenings, take part in our giveaway on our Facebook page here.
286 Fox Street, Johannesburg
24th – 26th October
Friday 24 October 7:30pm JOE BULLET
Saturday 25 October 6pm FISHY STONES
Saturday 25 October 8pm UMBANGO
Sunday 26 October 5pm TROMPIE
Sunday 26 October 7pm JOE BULLET
Our CEO Ben Cowley is currently in France for the “Lumiere Film Festival & Classic Film Market” in Lyon! Retro Afrika will be exhibiting some retro titles at the Classic Film Market as well as its restoration services. Think of him from October 15th-18th! We wish him all the best!
When a mysterious gangster starts sabotaging soccer team The Eagles’ chance at winning the upcoming championship final, there is only one man who can save the day…Joe Bullet.
FRI 24 OCT 7:30PM BUY TICKETS
SUN 26 OCT 7PM BUY TICKETS
After a well-executed jewellery store heist, two amateur thugs go on the run.
But the police are not too far behind, and after a chase through the countryside, the thugs are apprehended – but only after they stash their loot in a clump of nearby bushes.
When two best friends head off into the wilderness on a camping expedition together, luck seems to be on their side when they discover the hidden stash of diamonds.
But life is never that easy, and the two thugs, after a daring escape from prison, pick up the trail of the friends, hunting them down in order to reclaim their loot.
In the end, the boys’ parents come to their rescue, and the two dim-witted criminals are sent back to jail once more – hopefully for good this time!
SAT 25 OCT 6PM. BUY TICKETS
When Kay Kay, a powerful, ruthless businessman sets out on a mission of revenge against two men accused of killing his brother, he strong-arms the local sheriff into forming a posse of thugs to aid in his vendetta. But when Jet and Owen, the two easy going friends, learn of the gang out for their blood, they prepare to stand their ground and fight back. It all comes to a head in a final gun-fight, a showdown in the small western town where blood will have to be spilt if the friends wish to come out of this alive.
SAT 25 OCT 8PM. BUY TICKETS
The original feature film produced in 1975, based on the books by Topsy Smith that ultimately led to the renowned and well-loved television show, introduces Trompie as a freckle-faced eleven year old boy, and the Big Chief of the Boksom Gang.
Together with his mates Rooie, Blikkies and little Dawie, the young boys embark on a series of mischievous adventures that often land them in hot soup with the townsfolk of their hometown of Kwaggaberg.
Their cajoling with the Reverend’s pet baboon gets completely out of hand and Trompie’s innocent attempts at fixing his sister, Anna, up with a boyfriend goes terribly wrong.
Not only does Trompie and his gang of friends almost ruin the annual school concert, but their shenanigans leads to a bet that Trompie will be able to crash the show and appear on stage that evening. Throughout all these misadventures, Trompie befriends a playful mongrel who belongs to an old man about to leave the town. As the story comes to a close, Trompie will have to watch on as the mangy dog has to choose between staying with the impish young boy or leaving with it’s old master.
SUN 26 OCT 5PM. BUY TICKETS
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.