Talent poised for breakout
Broom will go down in history as the director of South Africa’s first stereoscopic 3D feature film, “The Lion of Judah,” which is also the country’s first computer-generated animated movie. Retelling the Easter story from the perspective of the animals, “Lion of Judah” is set for a 2010 release in both the States and South Africa. He’s written the first draft of the Christmas-themed prequel “Bethlehem or Bust” for Animated Family Films, which looks set to start production this year. He’s also prepping an animated series for toddlers that he’ll take to Mipcom later this year. Look out for two more South African animated features this year: Duncan MacNeillie’s “Jock of the Bushveld” and Wayne Thornley’s “Zambezia.”
Hofmeyr, from the shingle Moonlighting, is one of South Africa’s most respected producers, with a track record that runs from bringing in “Invictus” ahead of schedule and under budget to line producing “Amelia,” “Catch a Fire” and “Racing Stripes” and producing “Skin,” “24: Redemption,” “10,000 B.C.” and “Blood Diamond.” She’s currently in production on “Death Race 3” for Universal, with a number of other projects in the pipeline. Hofmeyr’s positive about 2010: “The global industry is depressed, but as a result of that it’s even more important for producers to look for better value destinations like South Africa.”
Turner’s bio reads like a movie plot. She’s the daughter of antiapartheid activist Rick Turner, who was assassinated in 1978, and Barbara Follett, whose second husband Ken is the bestselling novelist. A novelist herself, Turner returned to South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where she testified with her family, but no one confessed to her father’s murder. Her first film, “White Wedding,” is a playful multicultural romantic comedy and a hit in South Africa. The Little Film Co. is handling sales on the pic at the European Film Market. Her second film, comedy thriller “Paradise Stop,” is in post-production.
Production shingle Out of Africa, founded by Samuels, has racked up an impressive portfolio that includes the Emmy-winning “Generation Kill,” Sophie Okonedo starrer “Mrs. Mandela” and “The Prisoner.” This year, watch out for the releases of four South African films he produced: “The Bang Bang Club,” with Ryan Phillippe and Malin Akerman; “Africa United,” a South Africa/Rwanda/U.K. co-production; “Lucky,” an extension of Avie Luthra’s BATFA nominated short film; and “Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa 2010,” with South African box office phenomenon Leon Schuster.
Dekker leads Cape Town Film Studios, a $56 million Hollywood-style soundstage complex on the outskirts of Cape Town, which will open its first phase in the first half of this year. That will see four large soundstages, with gantries up to 49 feet high, support buildings, production offices and film manufacturing workshops, covering 183,000 square feet. “Seventy percent will be finished by June,” says studio CEO Dekker, “with the balance completed before the end of next year. It will be the first of its kind in Africa.”
In “Invictus,” Mofokeng played Nelson Mandela’s taller bodyguard, Linga Moonsamy, but watch out for him this year in “Master Harold … and the Boys,” where he’s in almost every scene as a foil to Freddie Highmore and Ving Rhames. Director Loni Price raves about the performance: “In a weird way he is the heart of the movie; he’s an undeniable talent.” Mofokeng, who won the 2007 South African Film and Television Award for best actor, will also appear in Stefanie Sycholt’s soccer-themed “Themba.”
As the fiery Jason Tshabalala in “Invictus,” Kgoroge made an impression, and now his career is revving up, with co-starring roles in “Skin” and “The First Grader,” just wrapped in Kenya and directed by Justin Chadwick (“The Other Boleyn Girl”). He’s represented by Moonyeen Lee & Associates in South Africa.