International Women’s Day: Empowering Women in Film

In honor of Women’s month, it is important to reflect on the importance of women’s empowerment and to acknowledge some of the many struggles that women were faced with. There are a wide variety of films which depict this theme, and we encourage everyone to watch, learn and enjoy!

“Thelma and Louise” [1991] – one of the world’s “must see” women-empowerment films, is an ultimate classic about two women who decide to break out of their societal roles as women by hitting the road and embarking on a new journey. Their adventure, however, turns into a flight when Louise kills a man who threatens to rape Thelma. They decide to go to Mexico, but soon they are hunted by American police.

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Thelma and Louise [1991]

The film has many themes: Laughter, sadness, fear, and endurance. But overall, it gives viewers a feeling of happiness and comfort. It reflects on the importance of a strong bond between two women, and their efforts to help and love one another at their darkest of times. Women’s month reminds us to love, value, and respect all women, no matter their race, ethnicity or social class.

“Yesterday” [2004] is a South African film which captures a Zulu woman’s journey as she discovers that she is HIV positive. She must deal with consequences of her illness, but her singular motivation is to see that Beauty, her five year old daughter, enrolls in school the next fall. This is a significant and inspiring film, which portrays a woman in distress as she struggles to balance her relationship with her daughter and husband, and of course her newly diagnosed illness. Despite this, she chooses to remain positive and strong for her family. Even in the worst situation, her prime goal is to live long enough to see her daughter go to school.

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Yesterday [2004]

The film portrays a woman’s strength, courage, and bravery, and is a role model to all mothers and wives.

International Women’s Month reminds us to lead by example as strong women and the importance of women empowerment.

 

What Was Happening When

Umbango

The RetroAfrika “What Was Happening When” series is now in its 7th week! Here’s this week’s instalment – what was happening in South Africa when “Umbango” was produced.

1986 – Umbango

+ 7 Jan  A grenade is thrown at a Railways policeman in Soweto.

+ 8 Jan  A Pretoria sub-station is damaged by an explosion.

+ 9 Jan  A limpet mine explodes at 21h15 and damages a substation in Jacobs, Durban. Later a second limpet explodes, killing a policeman and injuring other policemen and two electrical workers who arrive at the scene.

+ 4 Feb Four South African Army soldiers are injured when a cadre throws a grenade into their military vehicle at Gugulethu.

+ 9 Feb A limpet mine destroys two police vehicles at Umlazi police station near Durban when parked after returning from riot patrol.

+ 21 March Four mines explode at an Escom sub-station in Durban.

+ 8 April The home of the former Labour Party secretary in Natal, Kevin Leaf, is attacked.

+ 12 June The Government declares a nationwide state of emergency.

+ 1 July An explosion outside the Carlton Hotel in Johannesburg injures eight civilians.

+ 15 August Trevor Manuel is detained for the second time, this time only to be released in 1988.

+ 4 November A landmine kills a soldier on horseback in the eastern Transvaal.

+ 19 Dec A grenade attack is executed on the home of a Soweto councillor and two policemen are injured.

Revenge

Revenge South African Cinema

KEY CREW & CAST
Director Coenie Dippenaar Cast Alex Ngubane
Producer Coenie Dippenaar Roy Dlamini
Writer N/A Fikile Majola
DOP Tonie van der Merwe Vusi Gudazi
Editor Robert Thorpe Emmanuel Shangasi
Sound Foxy Hand Peter Bengu
Y.O.P approx. 1986 Fikile Majozi
Running Time 55 min Temba Shamba
Language isiZulu Abraham Foot
Genre Western
SYNOPSIS

In the old African Wild West, a peace-loving family man moves to a vacant farm in search of a new life. His hopes are shattered when his son is badly beaten and his wife is murdered by a gang of ruthless thugs.

He is left bloody in the dirt until fate finally intervenes. Rescued and nursed back to health by a good samaritan living alone in the hills, something is amiss. The hermit is soon revealed to be a reformed gangster – a deadly gunslinger who eventually trains the man and sets him on a path of preparation to exact his revenge upon his wife’s murderers.

Revenge South African Cinema

Revenge 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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Philip Olckers – Audio Restoration

Philip Olckers

Photos by: Patrick Ryan

Shot on location at Waterfront Film Studios, Cape Town

Philip is an award winning audio engineer and sound designer, specializing in the final mix of sound tracks for feature films. This includes all aspects of post-production sound recording and mixing. He is also an accomplished score composer, having focused this aspect of his skill set on short films to date. Philip has worked on numerous international feature films, including “Fast and Furious 6” and “The Last Stand”. He was an assisting Sound Engineer and Foley Mixer for “Die Wonderwerker” which was nominated for a SAFTA for “Best Sound” (South African Film and Television Awards). He has assisted and worked alongside Barry Donnelly on a number of SA’s biggest feature films, and has final mixed a number of TV series and local feature films.  Philip currently works out of the Waterfront Studios, where his knowledge of sound restoration & mixing is being applied to the Retro Afrika Bioscope project.

Philip Olckers

Joe Bullet

Joe Bullet South African Films

Made in 1971, this action film directed by Louis de Wit and produced by Tonie vd Merwe was shot on 16mm in Johannesburg. Banned in South Africa by the government when it originally came out, it stars Ken Gampu, Abigail Kubeka, Jimmy Sabie and Joe Lopez.

TAGLINE

In the criminal underworld of soccer, one man will have to save the championship!

SYNOPSIS

When local soccer team The Eagles fall prey to a series of onslaughts from a mysterious gangster only a week before the championship final, the team turns to the one man that can help save their chances at victory – Joe Bullet (Ken Gampu).

Joe will have to battle against villainous henchmen, escape booby-trap bombs and bring his martial arts expertise to the fore in order to survive an attack from a deadly assassin.

In the end he will have to infiltrate the mysterious gangster’s hide-out in a dangerous cat-and-mouse rescue mission to save not only The Eagles’ two kidnapped star players, but that of his beautiful love interest, Beauty (Abigail Kubeka).

The odds will be stacked against him, but he’s the man that fights crime, the man that no one can tie down! Joe Bullet!

Joe Bullet