Showmax has released a list of 8 awesome African shows and movies to stream this December, from a new documentary from the Stroop creators to the most nominated film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. Here’s a list of 8 shows and films to stream on Showmax.
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8 African Shows and Movies to Stream on Showmax
Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales | Nature documentary
Missing travel? Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales will transport you to three of earth’s iconic wildernesses: Yellowstone National Park in America; the Black Forest in Germany; and the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. These are lands where waters boil, trees talk and the skies light up as if they are on fire. Lands where bears and wolves rule, where the planet never forgets to remind us of its power. Timeless lands that reveal what life was like a million years ago.
Presenter Bonné de Bod and film director Susan Scott previously collaborated on STROOP – Journey Into The Rhino Horn War, which won over 30 awards around the world. “Bonné and I were absolutely gutted after making STROOP and felt like we needed to find the wonder that is out there in the natural world,” says Susan.
Not that filming Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales turned out to be a holiday for them: they filmed in extremes – from temperatures bordering minus 20º in the Arctic Circle to the scalding thermal vents of Yellowstone’s super-volcano and then onto the immense challenge of bringing trees to life in the densely packed Black Forest.
The result is an awe-inspiring reminder that there is a planet waiting…
KNUCKLE CITY | Boxing movie
At the end of November 2020, Knuckle City was named the most nominated film at the 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), where it’s up for 12 awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (SAFTA winner Bongile Mantsai from Inxeba | The Wound), Best Director (multiple-SAFTA winner Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, who is also making the upcoming Showmax Original Blood Psalms), and Best Supporting Actress (Faniswa Yisa from upcoming Showmax Original Dam).
In South Africa’s powerful 2020 Oscar entry, an ageing, womanising professional boxer (Mantsai) and his career-criminal brother (Thembekile Komani) take one last shot at success and get more than they’ve bargained for. “It is impossible not to be completely consumed by Knuckle City,” wrote The Globe and Mail when the film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, describing it as “Raging Bull meets Rocky, but in South Africa” and praising its navigation of “the painful issues of toxic masculinity, age and the impossible-seeming choices one can be forced to make to ensure the survival of themselves and the people they love… Mantsai’s performance is gripping, electrifying and heart-breaking.”
A rare South African film with a 100% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Knuckle City was the most awarded film at this year’s SAFTAs, taking home six awards, including Best Director and Best Actor for Mantsai, who also won Best Actor at last year’s Durban International Film Festival, where Knuckle City was the opening night film, and at Africa International Film Festival in Nigeria.
THE GHOST AND THE HOUSE OF TRUTH | Crime drama
At the end of November 2020, The Ghost and The House of Truth was named the third most nominated film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), where it’s up for seven awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Akin Omotoso, who previously won the category for Vaya).
Bola Ogun (BAFTA Breakthrough Brit winner Susan Wokoma from Enola Holmes) is a dedicated counsellor who facilitates reconciliation sessions between convicts and the victims of their crimes. But when her own daughter goes missing, her belief in forgiveness is tested.
Shot in Makoko, Nigeria, the crime drama also stars AMAA Best Actress winner Kate Henshaw (Chief Daddy, 4th Republic) as Folashade, a police inspector in the Child Protection Unit, and AMAA Best Young Actor winner Kemi Lala Akindoju (Dazzling Mirage, Banana Island Ghost, Fifty), who also co-produced.
Earlier this year, The Ghost and The House of Truth won Best World Film at UrbanWorld in New York, having opened FilmAfrica in London and closed The Africa International Film Festival, where it won Best Director, Best Actress (Henshaw) and Best Nigerian Film.
THE LETTER READER | Short film
At the end of November 2020, The Letter Reader was nominated for Best Short Film at The Africa Movie Academy Awards. Directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo, The Letter Reader has already won Best Short at Shnit South Africa, The South African Film and Television Awards, and YouTube’s I Am Africa competition.
Inspired by Thabo Mbeki’s biography, A Dream Deferred, The Letter Reader tells the story of Siyabonga, a 12-year-old boy from Johannesburg who is sent to a village in KwaZulu-Natal to live with his grandmother while his parents are sorting out their marital problems. As a city boy who is not accustomed to doing household chores, Siyabonga struggles to adapt. He discovers the power of words as he reads letters that put a smile on people’s faces, until one day, a letter with bad news lands in his hands…
The late Andile Gumbi, best known for playing Simba in The Lion King musical, leads the cast, while multiple-SAFTA winner Lance Gewer (Tsotsi, Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word) DoPs.
MEISIES WAT FLUIT | Romance
Henk and Sofia fell in love too soon, got married too soon, and now they’re getting divorced too soon. As soon as their divorce is over, they end up in bed together – for the first time in over a year. They couldn’t make the marriage work, but maybe a new type of relationship could? As long as they follow the rules…
From SAFTA- and Silwerskerm-winning writer-director Johan Cronjé (Wonderlus), Meisies Wat Fluit stars SAFTA winner Stiaan Smith (Hotel, Wonderlus and Vuil Wasgoed) as Henk and Leandie du Randt (Vuil Wasgoed, Jagveld and Thys en Trix) as Sofia. SAFTA and Silwerskerm winner Bennie Fourie (Vuil Wasgoed, Hotel) also features.
ROGUE | Action
In Rogue, Teen Choice winner and People’s Choice nominee Megan Fox (Transformers) stars as Samantha O’Hara, who leads a team of mercenaries on a mission to rescue a group of kidnapped girls. When their plan goes south, the mercenaries find themselves out of ammo and lost in the bush, having to defend themselves against both the kidnappers and an angry lion.
MJ Bassett (Power, Strike Back, Ash vs Evil Dead) directs the action-adventure film, which also stars BAFTA Rising Star winner Adam Deacon (Casualty), Philip Winchester (Strike Back, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), and South African stars Jessica Sutton (Motherland: Fort Salem, The Kissing Booth), Sisanda Henna (Trackers, Inconceivable, Griekwastad), Brandon Auret (District 9, Elysium, Still Breathing), Kenneth Fok (Warrior) and Greg Kriek (The Recce, Black Mirror).
This Showmax Original SA-UK film is a co-production between MultiChoice, Capstone and Mannequin, with Lionsgate Home Entertainment handling distribution in North America. As The Guardian wrote about Rogue, “If hit Netflix documentary Tiger King had you championing the big cat cause, here’s the animal rights-respecting action-thriller you should watch next…” They called it “an energetic action thriller” where “the action rattles along.”
HER MASK | Horror
As the lead in Darrell Roodt’s horror Siembamba, Reine Swart was nominated as Best Actress at both the SAFTAs and the Africa Movie Academy Awards, among other festivals. Now she steps into the director’s chair for a horror of her own: Her Mask (aka Heks), an edge-of-your-seat film about a grieving British girl who travels to South Africa to unravel her murdered mother’s secrets. “We thought about the concept ‘everyone wears a mask’ in 2019,” says Swart. “Little did we know that everyone was literally going to wear masks in 2020.”
Her Mask stars Mari Molefe van Heerden (7de Laan, Phil 101), Coco Lloyd (X Factor), Hungani Ndlovu (Scandal), Christopher Jaftha (Top Billing, Table Manners), Stephanie Sandows (Isidingo), Mary-Anne Barlow (Legacy), Juanita de Villiers (Getroud met Rugby), Andre Velts (Knysna) and Christel van den Bergh (Vuil Wasgoed, Konfetti, Getroud met Rugby).
The horror has been acquired for international distribution by Paris-based sales agents Reel Suspects, who also repped award-winning South African films Nommer 37 and Five Fingers for Marseilles. Additionally, Her Mask has been acquired by Cleopatra Entertainment for release in the US.
SKEEF | Documentary
In Skeef, TV presenter and radio host Renaldo Schwarp looks at what it means to be gay in South Africa today, seen through the eyes of a diverse group of LGBTI+ locals.
The 40m documentary is an honest and unflinching examination of queer identity, told through the day-to-day experiences and moving personal stories of people across the country, from comedian Marc Lottering to singer Joe Foster, Kanarie co-writer Charl-Johan Lingenfelder to Syrian refugee Adnan Al Mouselli, who was forced to flee his country because of his sexuality.
Image Courtesy: Supplied