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South African Producer Zikona Debese Debuts Film ‘Loving Thokoza’ On Showmax.



EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA, May 28th, 2020/ When producer Zikona Debese left Mthatha to study film at the University of Johannesburg, she had three main objectives in mind — to educate, entertain and fulfil fantasies through storytelling — all of which resonate in her latest offering Loving Thokoza.

Eight years after leaving her home, Debese produced her first blockbuster film and watched it premiere on Showmax last week.

Finally watching Loving Thokoza on Showmax has been rewarding, the 26-year-old said.

“It feels unreal, as if my own life is a movie or a dream that someone is going to wake me up from.

“Putting a [film] together is pure magic!

“There are so many drafts, so many challenges and so many compromises to be made before the viewer watches the story on their screen but the whole journey is amazing and the best feeling is always realising that we did it,” Debese said.

Debese led a team of junior crew members and brought the film to life within a nine-day shooting schedule.

“What has always fascinated me about filmmaking is knowing that there is a team of people behind the scenes working to show us what we see on TV.

“So being a part of that team that takes an idea from paper and brings it to life, will always be exhilarating for me,” Debese said.

Loving Thokoza, a Black Brain Pictures production, follows Charlotte Grootboom (Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa), a young teacher in apartheid-ravaged Thokoza, where she is determined to show her pupils life’s greater possibilities through a debate society.

The opportunity to produce the film fitted in well with Debese’s aim to create stories for the benefit of audiences.

“I love being a creative because not only does creativity entertain but it also educates and fulfils people’s and my own fantasies.

“A lot of films are based on ‘what if’s’ because we all wonder what would happen if life or certain aspects of it were a certain way.

“Film gives you those scenarios.

“In the case of Loving Thokoza, we have been able to educate people not just about the history of SA but some life lessons to be learnt from rejection.

“Moreover, we’ve thrown in an entertaining element to characters such as Mashudu [played by Vele Manenje],” Debese said.

The Cape Town-born filmmaker took an interest in film while still a pupil at Dalindyebo High School in Mthatha.

At the time, neither she nor her family knew any filmmakers, which made it harder to convince her parents to let her pursue a career in film.

“Being from Mthatha and wanting to become a filmmaker wasn’t something that made sense because we weren’t really exposed to people who worked in the industry — all those people were in Johannesburg — so my whole family wasn’t sold on the idea because no-one really knew what you do on TV if you’re not an actor on screen.

“They eventually warmed up to the idea when I was in matric because I explained that if they won’t let me follow my dreams then anything else I do will be depressing for me,” she said.

Debese cut her teeth in film on the set of Inside the Baobab Tree in 2015.

She joined Black Brain pictures as an intern, working behind the scenes on different productions from sitcom Ses’ Top La to prison drama series Lockdown.

Over the years, Debese switched between different roles from production assistance to co-ordinating and casting, before becoming Black Brain Pictures’ in-house producer.

“I have learnt so much about what goes into producing a film.

“At first, I loved the idea because it meant I could take control but I have come to learn what responsibilities that comes with and I’m fortunate to work with such an amazing team of individuals who all bring their A-game.

“When you’re a producer, you have to carry the story from its inception to the final product, while also minding the budget and everything in-between.

“The most important thing is ensuring that the story doesn’t get lost while trying to accommodate things like budgets, schedules and all else,” she said.

Coming Soon

THE CROWN: Netflix’s Biggest Shows Set Wrap Up After Its Fifth Season



Earlier this year, it emerged that The Crown, one of Netflix’s biggest shows, would wrap up after its fifth season. But it has reversed course, as it’s returning to creator and writer Peter Morgan’s initial concept of a six-season run for the Royal Family drama.

“As we started to discuss the storylines for Series 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons,” Morgan told Variety in a statement. “To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”

By the time it ends, The Crown will cover Queen Elizabeth II’s life up to the early 2000s. So, it won’t touch on more recent events, such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the Royal Family.

Filming on season four wrapped up just before the onset of COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK. That season is expected to hit Netflix later in 2020, a year or so after season three premiered. It’ll bring an end to Oscar-winner Olivia Colman’s two-season stint as Queen Elizabeth II, as Imelda Staunton is taking over the role for the final two seasons.


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Movie News

Actor Will Smith Praises The Peaceful “Black Lives Matter” Protestors



Many of our favorite celebrities came from humble beginnings. Including Will Smith who’s from West Philadelphia born and raised.

Will opened up about his personal experiences with police during a conversation with Angela Rye on her podcast. “I grew up under, you know, Mayor [Frank] Rizzo. He went from the chief of police to becoming the mayor and he had an iron hand,” said the actor, 51. “I’ve been called n— by the cops in Philly on more than 10 occasions, right? I got stopped frequently.”

Something as simple as Black. Lives. Matter.” Smith said emphasizing each word, “What’s the f**king point of contention?”

They also spoke about his grade school career in a Catholic School and how he couldn’t completely connect with his white classmates. “White kids were happy when the cops showed up, and my heart always started pounding,” Smith said. “There’s a part of this that people who don’t grow up in that you just can’t comprehend. You just can’t comprehend what it feels like to feel like you live in an occupied territory.”

Rye asked the actor about his thoughts on both the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing protests. “For the world to see what we’ve been saying for hundreds of years. My grandmother taught me to be thankful for these opportunities, to be thankful for your pain. The entire globe has stood up and said to the African American people, ‘we see you, we hear you. How can we help?’” Smith said, “We’ve never been there before.”

Will Smith went on to praise the peaceful protests. “Put up a mirror to the demonic imagery of your oppressor. The more still you are in your peaceful protests, the more clear the mirror is to the oppressor for the world to see and for them to see themselves.”


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Coming Soon

Leslie Becomes First Black Actor To Be Batwoman In A Live-action TV or Film Production



The CW was left empty-handed after Ruby Rose left her role as Batwoman. The network has announced that Javicia Leslie will take over for the second season. Leslie will assume the role of Ryan Wilder and will be the first Black actress to be Batwoman in a live-action TV or film production, The Hollywood Reporter details.

“I am extremely proud to be the first Black actress to play the iconic role of Batwoman on television, and as a bisexual woman, I am honored to join this groundbreaking show which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Leslie.

Rose announced her departure from the show in May after the show was renewed for a second season.

“The studio and network are firmly committed to Batwoman’s second season and long-term future, and we — along with the show’s talented creative team — look forward to sharing its new direction, including the casting of a new lead actress and member of the LGBTQ community, in the coming months,” said the CW, Warner Bros. TV, and Berlanti Productions in a joint statement at the time.

Rose issued a message of congratulations to Leslie after the announcement.

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In Theatres

PERFECT PICTURE; TEN YEARS LATER: Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Movie Debuts On Netflix, Inc.



Producer Shirley Frimpong Manso’s 2019 movie ‘The Perfect Picture – 10 Years Later’ – a sequel to ‘The Perfect Picture’ which was first released in 2009 debuts on Netflix, Inc. – an American media-services provider and production company headquartered in Los Gatos, California. ‘The Perfect Picture 10 Years Later’, brings back the original cast in what’s one of the highly anticipated movies of the season.

Now in the sequel, the story of the three beautiful friends, Aseye (Jackie Appiah), Dede (Lydia Forson) and Akese (Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku) continues. The original film was about three women pushing their thirties and making bold attempts to change their lives, but destiny had other plans for them. Now in the sequel, the ladies are back, this time pushing their forties. Even though they are older and wiser, they realise that now they are saddled with more issues including their not so fairy-tale relationships.

It’s been 10 years since Sparrow Productions (now Sparrow Pictures) released its critically acclaimed romantic-comedy, ‘The Perfect Picture.’ Produced by Shirley Frimpong-Manso, the film became one of the most popular fan favourites in the Ghanaian film industry. Now, a decade on, the film is back for part two, ‘The Perfect Picture, 10 Years Later.’

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