Triggerfish wins again; Lumumba, Death of a Prophet screens at Cannes; Uthando Lodumo tops Showmax charts
Devilsdorp | Binge from 29 July
In 2016, a spate of brutal Appointment Murders gripped the town of Krugersdorp, leaving sales people and consultants terrified to book meetings in case they were the serial killer’s next victims. The investigation led detectives to a series of unsolved cold cases, the so-called Satanic Murders, and to links between 11 Krugersdorp killings between 2012 and 2016. They discovered these were the work of the Electus per Deus (Chosen by God) cult.
“The result of an 18-month research process, Devilsdorp shows again that truth is stranger than fiction, especially in South Africa,” says director David Enright. "This is the story of the events that rocked an entire community and forever changed the lives of those involved, especially the families of the victims. What started as a group of devout Christians trying to help a former satanist escape the satanic church ended in a murderous spree involving a killer mom, her two children, and a cult with more victims than members. It may all sound too far-fetched to be believed, except it really happened - just down the road from us."
Alongside extraordinary footage of exorcisms, church meetings, and trial testimonies and judgments, Devilsdorp features first-hand accounts from the likes of Captain Ben Booysen, the senior investigating officer; deputy director of Public Prosecutions Gerrit Roberts; Discovery claims specialist Shane Chatzkelowitz; and journalist Marizka Coetzer. The family of the victims also share their stories, as do church members who knew the perpetrators. Netwerk24 journalist Jana Marx, author of The Krugersdorp Cult Killings: Inside Cecilia Steyn’s Reign of Terror, narrates the series, which is produced by IdeaCandy.
Uthando Lodumo | Binge now
Uthando Lodumo follows Bongekile Simelane and Mandla Maphumulo, better known as gqom superstars Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha, from Mapintsha’s sensational proposal live on air on Gagasi FM in October 2020, through marriage counselling, lobola negotiations and pregnancy, all the way to their vibrant traditional wedding in April 2021.
Babes burst onto the gqom scene with Wololo, featuring Mampintsha and Distruction Boyz, which racked up over 11 million views on YouTube alone and nabbed nominations as Record of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards and the South African Music Awards, among others. But their relationship hasn’t always been a fairytale, with an incident of gender-based violence trending on social media in 2019. In Uthando Lodumo, West Ink Records founder Mampintsha is still dealing with the aftermath of that controversy, as his initial letter to Babes’s family is rejected, and Babes worries that his apology to her parents may not be enough to keep her family from turning Mampintsha’s family away at the gate.
Produced and directed by Safta winner Thomas Gumede and Safta nominee Lungile Radu, Uthando Lodumo has held the number one position in the SA top 20 on Showmax since its launch. In their four star review, Drum called it “very personal and unfiltered.”
The Snail and The Whale | Binge now
In June 2021, Annecy International Animation Festival awarded Cape Town company Triggerfish the Mifa Animation Industry Award. Previous recipients include Christopher Meledandri, founder of Illumination (Despicable Me); the co-founders of Aardman, Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Grommet); and Marc Bonny, the creator of Gebeka Films (My Life As A Courgette).
Handing over the 2021 award to Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest, Véronique Encrenaz, head of Mifa, highlighted “the pioneering role that the company has played in animation in South Africa, and Africa most widely” and celebrated the studio’s animation, which she says has “already earned a constellation of prizes.”
Watch most of Triggerfish’s animations on Showmax, including Julia Donaldson adaptations like the 2021 Annie Awards winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy winner Zog, Annecy-winning Stick Man, and the Rose d’Or-winning The Highway Rat, all produced by Magic Light Pictures, not to mention their Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes and their multi-award-winning second feature film, Khumba, in English and Afrikaans.
Lumumba, Death of a Prophet | Stream now
Raoul Peck’s 1991 documentary Lumumba, Death of a Prophet is currently screening at Cannes International Film Festival as part of the Cannes Classics selection – and on Showmax.
1961: The first leader of the newly independent Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba was arrested, tortured and executed by a firing squad in Katanga. 1962: Raoul Peck, aged eight, is forced to leave Haiti for the Congo along with his family. Thirty years later, between childhood memories, reports, archives and personal investigations, the filmmaker revisits Lumumba’s long concealed sacrificial disappearance, and its consequences for our present.
Lumumba, Death of a Prophet won the Procirep Award at Cinema du Reel, the Documentary Award at Fribourg and an Honourable Mention at Amiens, among other honours, while Peck’s career has gone from strength to strength, including the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro and this year’s Exterminate All The Brutes, the 12th-best reviewed new series of 2021 so far according to Metacritic.
Address Unknown | Stream now
Address Unknown, winner of the Audience Award at the 2020 Durban International Film Festival and the 2021 South African Film and Television Award for Best Short Film, is now streaming on Showmax.
Set in District Six in 1976, the short film follows postman Joey (Stefan Erasmus from Trackers), who is depressed by the fact that he cannot deliver letters to friends and neighbours who have disappeared without a trace, due to the forced removals by the apartheid government. When Joey receives a letter for his childhood friend, Ebie (Irshaad Ally from Nommer 37), he sets off to look for him, despite the prevailing danger of the 1976 protests. 2020 Fleur du Cap nominee Bianca Flanders (Krotoa: Eva Van De Kaap) co-stars.
Address Unknown marks the first venture into fiction by director Nadine Cloete, who won the 2016 Audience Award at Encounters for Action Kommandant, a documentary about the late freedom fighter Ashley Kriel, and had her first short documentary, Miseducation, featured on The New York Times.
Life With Kelly Khumalo S2 | Binge the first nine episodes now; new episodes every Thursday
The second season of Life With Kelly Khumalo is currently at number two on the SA top 20 on Showmax, after season one became the fastest Showmax original to top one million views and won the 2021 South African Film and Television Award for Best Soapie Structured Reality Show. “Fans have been asking for season two since it first aired last year, so it was an easy decision to make,” Showmax’s head of content, Candice Fangueiro, said on the show’s renewal.
Since her last public break-up, Kelly has shied away from matters of the heart and channelled all her energy into being a mother, musician and businesswoman. But in the season two trailer, Kelly admits, among other things: “I’m not in a relationship; I am playing with someone.”
The sudden disappearance of Kelly’s mom in season one left her heart-broken and confused. After Kelly asked about her biological father, Ntombi abruptly left for KwaZulu-Natal. They drifted even further apart over Kelly’s ongoing feud with her younger sister, Zandile. But in the season two trailer, we see that Ntombi has returned, and Kelly suggests a visit to a psychologist. “She is the only family member I have left; I feel like I owe it to myself and my children to try and make this work,” says Kelly.
Skemerdans | Binge now
Cape Flats neo-noir murder mystery Skemerdans is a whodunnit set at the Oasis jazz club, the centre of a power struggle between two brothers, a scorned widow and an organised crime syndicate. An organic, hyper-local mix of both Afrikaans and English, the half-hour series was filmed along Voortrekker Road and at Club Galaxy, Cape Town’s oldest club, which opened in Rylands in 1978. Galaxy is doubling as both The Oasis and the Adams brothers’ strip club, The Velvet Room.
Skemerdans revolves around the Fortune family, whose eldest son Glenn (Safta-winner Kevin Smith from Isidingo and Arendsvlei) owns The Oasis with his wife, Shireen (Safta-winner Ilse Klink from Stroomop and Isidingo). Other members of the Fortune family are played by Safta winner Brendon Daniels (Four Corners, Sara se Geheim, Arendsvlei); Safta nominee Vinette Ebrahim (7de Laan, Binnelanders); Carmen Maarman (Arendsvlei, Lui Maar Op, Belinda); rising star Trudy van Rooy (Die Byl, Sara se Geheim); and Ceagan Arendse (Suidooster,Arendsvlei), who tragically passed away in February 2021. The first episode is dedicated to Arendse.
Reviews have been glowing. As Africa is a Country says: “Every moment is loaded with tensionWhile it feels like you’re walking into an old-time noir novel, the show is also viscerally relatable and immediate because we know these spaces… This noir series makes the familiar iconic... It is a mal interpretation of Cape Flats nightlife.”
Power Rangers | Stream now
There’s no shortage of South African-born directors in Hollywood, from Neill Blomkamp (District 9) to Gavin Hood (Ender’s Game), Roger Michell (Notting Hill) to Wayne Kramer (The Cooler), Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to Michael Matthews (Love and Monsters).
Johannesburg-born Dean Israelite, who directed Power Rangers, is another to add to that ever-growing list. Power Rangers grossed over $142m – the 60th biggest film of 2017 – and was nominated for six Teen Choice awards, including Choice Film, Actor (Dace Montgomery from Stranger Things), Actress (Becky G from Empire and Naomi Scott from Aladdin), Villain (Elizabeth Banks from The Hunger Games) and Scene Stealer (RJ Cyler from Black Lightning).
A reboot of the ‘90s series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that became a pop culture phenomenon, Power Rangers follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and, before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.
Jungle Beat: The Movie (Zulu Version) | Stream now
Produced in Cape Town by Sunrise, Jungle Beat’s adorable animations have become a YouTube phenomenon, racking up over six million subscribers and nearly three billion views, as well as a host of awards. Now the animation’s stars, Munki and Trunk, have their own movie, which screened in competition at Annecy International Film Festival last year.
When a homesick alien crash-lands his spaceship near their jungle home, Munki, Trunk and their animal friends need to get him back to his ship and teach him about friendship and fun - before his father can take over Earth.
Screen International hailed it as “sweet, wholesome family fare that should win the approval of parents and hold the attention of younger viewers… Its cheery message of friendship, tolerance and acceptance does seem particularly timely and can only help endear it to viewers.”
But wait, there’s more
Showmax also brings you the best local content after it airs, including Mzansi Magic’s new dramas Nqobile and The Station and season two of kykNET’s popular comedy series Lui Maar Op, Belinda, with S14 of kykNET’s Boer Soek ‘n Vrou starting on 11 July and season six of Mzansi Magic’s popular telenovela The Queen starting 26 July 2021.
Everything on Showmax in July
To see everything on Showmax in July 2021, including the Oscar-winning films Parasite and Joker and Bafta-winning series Normal People, click here. Please note this release schedule is subject to change.
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