Tag Archives: Showmax

Showmax organises Perfect Funeral

My Perfect Funeral

African streaming service Showmax has ordered an original Ghanaian reality series focusing on funerals.

Titled My Perfect Funeral, the 10-parter will premiere on December 8 and will be available to Showmax subscribers in the UK and 32 other countries in the African diaspora.

The show follows five families in Ghana as they prepare to bury their loved ones. Each episode will show the different stages of the funeral and will also feature interviews and confessional sessions from key family members.

It will show everything from the planning process to the day of the burial and the aftermath. It will also expose the elaborateness of Ghanaian funerals while exploring unique traditions and fanfare.

In addition, Benjamin Aidoo, Ghana’s most prominent pallbearer, will share his perspective on what a proper Ghanaian funeral entails and will be seen alongside his team of pallbearers.

Deloris Frimpong Manso, executive producer of the series, said: “Even though funerals are a sad and morbid experience, African families – and Ghanaians in particular – go the extra mile to make sure this occasion is done perfectly and, in some cases, flamboyantly and without any holding back. It’s a story that hasn’t been told before on our screens. But then again someone has to tell this story.

“It’s also a way for families to create lasting, tangible moments with their dearly departed. I personally buried both my parents and I don’t have a single picture from their funerals. This production is going to be a place of record-keeping for the five families.”

My Perfect Funeral is the second Ghanaian Showmax original after drama series ENO, which became the most watched show on Showmax in Ghana during its 13-week run.

Busola Tejumola, executive head of content and West Africa channels at MultiChoice, said: “My Perfect Funeral is a reality show like no other. The show forms part of Showmax’s strategy to invest in more authentic and diverse local stories that generate emotions and experiences in our audiences across Africa.

“And after launching ENO earlier this year, we are excited once again to be collaborating with Ghanaian filmmakers to bring this unique concept of My Perfect Funeral to our subscribers in Ghana and across the continent who will identify personally with the stories of the five families featured on the show.”

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The Wife S3 debuts, sets viewing record

The Wife

The third season of South African telenovela The Wife has premiered and has set a new four-day viewing record on SVoD service Showmax.

This breaks the record previously held by the multi-award-winning Showmax original telenovela’s second season.

The Wife follows two star-crossed lovers, a Tswana doctor and Zulu taxi driver. When one goes missing, the Zulu brothers face the heat.

The new season stars Gaisang K Noge with other cast members including SAFTA winner Wiseman Mncube, Lungelo Mpangase and Sipho Ndlovu.

“In my acting journey, I was hoping for something that would challenge me – something that would take me out of my comfort zone because I was tired of playing the timid little girl from rural KZN,” Mpangase said.

Regarding her own personality versus that of her character in the soap, she added: “I’m such a soft girl. If there’s a fight, I will just cry or go home. I don’t want to be part of it. Yet she’s very strong and I love how brave she is. She’s a trigger-happy type of person.”

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MultiChoice reaches 22.1m households

MultiChoice Group achieved solid subscriber growth and steady earnings for the half-year ended September 30, according to the African entertainment company.

Calvo Mawela

The group’s linear pay TV subscriber base (measured on a 90-day active basis) increased by one million (5%) to 22.1 million households, comprising 9.1 million (41%) in South Africa and 13 million (59%) in the rest of Africa (RoA).

The year-on-year (YoY) growth rate for paying subscribers on the company’s streamer Showmax was 50%, while the overall online user base increased by 13%. Actual subs numbers for Showmax were not disclosed.

RoA maintained its growth trajectory on the back of successful local content productions, MultiChoice said. In South Africa, growth rates recovered during the second half of the reporting period despite evidence of rising consumer pressure.

In terms of the local content strategy, the company launched two more local channels in sub-Saharan Africa and produced another 3,084 hours of local content, an increase of 15% YoY. Accounting for 48% of total general entertainment spend, this ongoing investment in local content brought the total content library to around 73,000 hours.

In Nigeria, a new season of Big Brother Naija delivered record viewership, as well as strong growth in advertising revenues. In South Africa, the group produced two coproductions – Blood Psalms and Girl, Taken – with another seven coproductions in the pipeline.

Reyka, an original coproduction from South Africa, was nominated for the Drama Series prize at the International Emmy Awards 2022.

The group is currently producing the epic original drama series Shaka Ilembe, which will be broadcast during 2023 and is already receiving significant international interest. It also continues to roll out adaptations of popular telenovelas in different regions, such as 1Magic’s The River, which has been successfully adapted as Kina in Kenya and O Rio in Angola.

Showmax further localised its business with more local content such as Real Housewives of Lagos, Troukoors S2, Uthando Lodumo S2, Diiche and Steinheist.

In terms of financials, MultiChoice Group revenue was up ZAR1.8bn (US$104m) to ZAR28.6bn, and trading profit amounted to ZAR6.1bn – up 6% despite a ZAR700m investment in new decoders ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

“After a slower-than-usual start to the year, with global fuel and food price shocks negatively impacting consumer sentiment, our business regained momentum due to our engaging local content slate and strong local capabilities,” said Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice Group.

“Despite the challenging macro-economic environment, we are well positioned given our exciting content slate. In the second half of the financial year, a core focus will be the broadcasting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and producing more local content that resonates with our customers. Going forward, we will look for more opportunities to grow beyond pay television.”

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MultiChoice, WWE close broadcast deal

Pay TV company MultiChoice and over-the-top streaming service WWE Network have entered into a broadcast deal making the Showmax platform the new home of WWE in Africa.

Matt Drew

All WWE premium live events, including WrestleMania and WWE Network’s vast library of original and archived programming, will be made available to stream on-demand.

The deal also means SuperSport will continue to broadcast live weekly episodes of Raw, SmackDown and NXT, as well as all of WWE’s premium live events.

Matt Drew, WWE’s senior VP for international, said: “Showmax is the market leader and a perfect home for WWE content. By delivering our premium live events, including WrestleMania, we believe this partnership will expand our audience and deliver even more to WWE fans throughout the region.”

“Adding WWE to the Showmax platform is an exciting development that we know our entertainment and sport-loving African subscribers are going to enjoy, making WWE even more accessible and affordable,” said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of MultiChoice Connected Video.

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Showmax renews drama Single Kiasi

Single Kiasi

MultiChoice-backed African streamer Showmax has renewed drama series Single Kiasi for a second season.

Due to air in 2023, the show will continue to follow the lives of three women in Nairobi – Sintamei, Mariah and Rebecca – as they deal with the challenges that marriage, relationships and their careers throw at them.

Picking up a couple of months after the season one finale that threw uncertainty over their love lives, the new season will find the central characters experiencing transformational events that will impact their friendship in unforeseen ways.

Gathoni Mutua, Minne Kariuki and Faith Kibathi are reprising their roles as leads Sintamei, Mariah and Rebecca respectively. Also returning are Michael Munyoki (A Grand Little Lie), Brian Abajah (Sincerely Daisy), Kevin Maina, Walter Bruce Opiyo, Derek Bbanga and Maggie Kiundi.

The show is made by Insignia Productions and Grace Kahaki will direct with company partner Philip Bresson.

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Blood Psalms launches on Showmax

Blood Psalms’ first two episodes launched at the same time

Hotly anticipated African epic fantasy series Blood Psalms has launched on African VoD service Showmax.

With its first two episodes landing simultaneously, the series is set in ancient Africa, 11,000 years ago. It follows Princess Zazi (played by Bokang Phelane) as she battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.

The 10×60’ show “went straight to number one on Showmax and is getting rave reviews and wonderful feedback on Twitter too,” a representative from the streamer told Content Nigeria.

Created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka and produced by Yellowbone Entertainment, the show also stars Bongile Mantsai, Hamilton Dlamini, Hlubi Mboya, Mothusi Magano, S’dumo Mtshali, Siv Ngesi, Thishiwe Ziqubu and Warren Masemola.

“I was always extremely curious about our continent. The question mark around the history of Africa and where we come from has been a great platform for us to be able to build this world,” said Qubeka.

According to Swart, the show’s first season looks at various tribes: the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini and the Great Nziwemabwe as they migrate south from Kemet, which is now Egypt, and form their cultures.

“It’s a pioneering show that attempts to redefine our very perception of our identity as Africans. What we’re trying to do is to reclaim the continent’s history from an African perspective. The goal, for us, is to ensure that the golden thread of Africa’s stunning history really shines,” Swart added.

Qubeka said: “It’s a sweeping epic adventure that doesn’t hold back. It is definitely a large canvas, one that I personally have not seen from this continent. This thing is big. I’m very excited to see how audiences engage with this world.

“There are a lot of things that people are going to look at and be like, ‘What are you talking about? Did they have guns in that time? Do they have electricity?’ There are all sorts of things we challenge in terms of conventions of what people understand of our glorious past.”

New episodes of Blood Psalms will debut on MultiChoice-owned streamer Showmax every Wednesday until the end of November.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation, the National Film & Video Foundation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

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Showmax takes Real Housewives of Nairobi

The Real Housewives of Nairobi

African streaming service Showmax will premiere reality show The Real Housewives of Nairobi next year, in collaboration with NBCUniversal Formats.

The Real Housewives of Nairobi begins production this month and is the 22nd international version of The Real Housewives format. It is also the sixth to be adapted in Africa, the format having successfully been produced in Johannesburg, Durban, Lagos, Cape Town and – currently being filmed – Pretoria.

The Nairobi series is being produced by Eugene Mbugua’s D&R Studios and it follows a group of powerful and affluent women in the Kenyan city.

Denise Mwende, Showmax’s content specialist in East Africa, said: “As an African streaming platform, Showmax is dedicated to telling diverse African stories, and celebrity reality TV remains a genre that excites our viewers across Africa. We love to watch other people’s lives, and The Real Housewives of Nairobi is a chance to get a much closer look at Nairobi’s elite.

“D&R Studios already has a portfolio of celebrity reality content like Sol Family, This Love and Kyallo Kulture under their belt. They understand the structure, and are willing to work hand-in-hand with our local teams and NBCUniversal to bring the Nairobi franchise to life.”

Mbugua added: “The team at D&R Studios is very stoked about the opportunity to produce The Real Housewives of Nairobi. We’ve had a long and good relationship with Showmax and are very excited to now be working together on an international format. We’ve gone through a very rigorous process of being shortlisted and are now geared up and ready to start production.

“There’s quite a bit of pressure from the audience to deliver a stellar show but if what we’ve seen in the casting process is anything to go by, Nairobi promises to hold its own. Fans can expect surprises in everything, from the choice of the cast to the storylines.”

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Canal+ ups its stake in MultiChoice

Blood Psalms

France’s Canal+ Group has increased its stake in African pay TV company MultiChoice Group to more than 26%, having almost doubled its interest in the company over the past year.

Canal+ has gradually upped its stake in the South African company behind the DStv and GOtv pay TV platforms since it first acquired a 6.5% interest in October 2020.

A year ago, the Paris-based broadcasting giant announced that it owned 15% stake in MultiChoice; this rose to 18.44% in June this year, then 20.12% a month later.

A statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this week revealed that Canal+ has further increased this to 26.26%. Canal+ is owned by Vivendi, a mass media holding company that also owns Gameloft, Havas and Prisma Media.

As required by South Africa’s Companies Act, MultiChoice has filed the required notice with the JSE’s Takeover Regulation Panel. If Canal+ acquires a 35% interest in MutliChoice, it would trigger a mandatory offer to shareholders.

However, whether or not Canal+ and Vivendi owner Vincent Bollore intends to make an offer to acquire MultiChoice, it would face some major hurdles, given South Africa’s tight restrictions over the foreign ownership of broadcasters.

“While the group regularly engages investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders, nor on its interactions with them,” said MultiChoice this week.

Canal+ and MultiChoice have worked together in recent years, coproducing shows such as the South African action-drama series Spinners (8×50’) and gritty Kenyan police procedural Crime & Justice, both made with MultiChoice’s streamer Showmax.

Showmax and Canal+’s African OTT platform MyCanal also coproduced 10-episode South African drama Blood Psalms, based on a pre-colonial Xhosa legend. Canal+ also operates Canal+ Afrique, an African version of Canal+ available mainly in the francophone countries of Central and West Africa.

MultiChoice is backed by African internet company Naspers.

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Showmax appoints Filani as GM

African streaming service Showmax has named Opeoluwa Filani as the new general manager for its Nigeria operations.

Opeoluwa Filani

Filani has over 16 years of senior management experience. In his new role, he will provide strategic direction and implement plans aimed at growing Showmax’s business in Nigeria and achieving its profit objectives.

Prior to joining Showmax, Filani was the country sales director for Nigeria at JCDecaux, a multinational out-of-home advertising company, where he led the sales and marketing department.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of connected video at MultiChoice, said: “We’ve witnessed 68% growth in our paying subscriber base over the past year, and it’s become even more important to have a dedicated team at the helm of affairs of Showmax in one of our most important markets.

“Opeoluwa brings almost two decades of relevant experience and a refreshing perspective to business development. His appointment couldn’t be more timely as this is a defining period for our business in Nigeria. I am confident that with his experience and vision, Opeoluwa will drive Showmax Nigeria to even greater heights.”

Filani added: “These are exciting times for the SVoD industry in Africa and Showmax is right at the centre of this emerging sector. I believe Showmax’s commitment to developing a local Nigerian strategy is right for this fast-changing environment and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Filani holds an executive MBA from the Warwick Business School in the UK and an MSc in international marketing management from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, with certifications in sales and distribution from Harvard Business School in the US.

Showmax has continued to expand its presence and investment in Nigeria, having released more than 40 original African series and movies in the last year.

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Blood Psalms set for September release

Blood Psalms is a coproduction with France’s Canal+

African VoD service Showmax will debut epic African fantasy series Blood Psalms on September 28.

Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms “draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies” and looks at various tribes. It follows the story of a young princess who must navigate primordial curses, ancestral vendettas and her role as the harbinger of a damning prophecy.

Blood Psalms was created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment. The cast is led by Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo), Mothusi Magano and Zolisa Xaluva.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at Showmax parent MultiChoice, said: “Blood Psalms is the biggest and most ambitious series we’ve ever made, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Phelane added: “This show was specifically created as a reimagining of ourselves as Africans, as an answer to ‘Who are we?’ It’s done in a very entertaining way, with a lot of drama and action. I got to witness the greats at work. The cast is filled with actors who have inspired me from quite early in my life to pursue acting.”

Blood Psalms will also have its world premiere in Cape Town on August 24 as the opening-night screening at MipAfrica, part of FAME Week Africa.

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Showmax lines up third Tali’s Diary

African VoD service Showmax has greenlit the third season of its original comedy following the adventures of the character Tali, which will debut in November.

Julia Anastasopoulos

The new season, Tali’s Joburg Diary, has already gone into production and will see Tali, played once again by Julia Anastasopoulos, move back to Johannesburg, determined to get her son Jayden into premium preschool and reclaim her crown as Class Mom.

Tali’s Joburg Diary is the latest in the franchise that began with Tali’s Wedding Diary in 2017, following the eponymous ‘Joburg princess’ who moved to Cape Town and got married.

Tali’s Baby Diary premiered in 2021 and saw an unexpected pregnancy force our heroine into a desperate pivot from Insta-influencer to wholesome ‘momfluencer.’

Produced by Sketchbook Studios for the MultiChoice-owned streamer, the new season will feature a returning cast including Anton Taylor, Kate Pinchuck, Kate Normington, Glen Biderman-Pam and Sharon Spiegel Wagner.

“That’s right guys, season three is coming. I am so excited for you guys to follow us on our next adventure. I’m actually finished, and I love you guys so much,” Anastasopoulos said on Instagram.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at MultiChoice, said: “We all need a laugh after the past few years, so we can’t wait to have Tali back on Showmax in November. It’s going to be the same Tali, with a very different bank balance, in a very different Joburg. Tighten your belt and sharpen those nails. Let the battle for Class Mom begin.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary took home five prizes at the 2019 SAFTAs while Tali’s Baby Diary had 11 nominations, including Best TV Comedy at this year’s awards.

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Showmax, Canal+ link for SA drama

Spinners was co-created by Joachim Landau, who also produces

African streamer Showmax and France’s Canal+ are coproducing an action-drama series set in South Africa called Spinners.

Filming on the series, produced by Empreinte Digitale and coproduced by Ramadan Suleman’s South African outfit Natives at Large, has commenced in Cape Town.

The narrative of Spinners (8×50’) revolves around the popular and dangerous South African motor sport spinning, which sees cars driven at high speed with drivers performing stunts in and out of the vehicle.

The series centres on a 17-year-old driver working for a local gang. Trying to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted with this life and constantly on the edge, he discovers a possible way out via spinning.

Spinners is produced and co-created by Empreinte Digitale’s MD Joachim Landau, with the company’s co-founder Raphaël Rocher also producing.

Jaco Bouwer is directing, while series co-creator Benjamin Hoffman is showrunner. Writing the series are Matthew Jankes, Sean Steinberg, Gillian Breslin, Daniel Zimbler, Byron Abrahams and Zoë Laband.

StudioCanal is handling international distribution.

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Showmax unveils Kenyan political series

County 49 comes from Kibanda Pictures

African streaming service Showmax will debut Kenyan political drama series County 49 on August 25.

In the show, a disgraced security officer is compelled to save the governor and her chief of staff – his estranged wife – after they are kidnapped by a local terror group.

The cast includes Wakio Mzenge, Nyokabi Macharia, Ainea Ojiambo, Maqbul Mohammed, Martin Githinji, Peter Kawa, Benson Ojuwa, Nick Kwach, Emmanuel Mugo, Angela Mwandanda and Sam Psenjen.

County 49 is produced by Kibanda Pictures, directed by Likarion Wainaina and co-directed by Brian Munene.

It is Showmax’s fifth original title in Kenya, following the debuts of Crime & Justice, Baba Twins, Single Kiasi and Igiza.

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Khanyi Mbau set for Comedy Central roast

South African actress Khanyi Mbau is set to become the first African woman ‘roasted’ on Comedy Central Africa and on streaming platform Showmax.

Khanyi Mbau

She will be subjected to thought-provoking jokes and comments by the Roastmaster, comedian Mpho Popps, and other African personalities.

“So this year, I am switching up the roast. I need a room the size of a football field, they can change under a tree, the carpet must have their names so I can step on them. You can’t master a queen so we do not have a master this year,” stated Mbau.

Popps said: “This is just one of those career milestones that I couldn’t have imagined happening. Khanyi Mbau is a legend and an entertainment icon. For me to be the chosen one to throw her on to the flames to be roasted is not only historical but legendary as well. As the Roastmaster I say, may the thickest skin win!”

Dillon Khan, VP of Comedy Central Africa, said: “Mpho Popps is no stranger to our channel. He was first introduced to our audiences on Comedy Central Live at Parkers and we, at Comedy Central Africa, have enjoyed collaborating with him on various other projects.

“He did the opening set for the Roast of Somizi and had a very amazing performance. So being the Roastmaster is a natural fit – a bit like the chemistry between him and Khanyi that is guaranteed to be electrifying.”

“We’re huge fans of Mpho Popps from Strictly Come Dancing and his work on classics on Showmax like Ayeye, Thina Sobalili and the Roast of Somizi, so we can’t wait to watch him dance circles around anyone who steps out of line,” added Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content.

The Comedy Central Roast of Khanyi Mbau will debut on Comedy Central (DStv 122) and Showmax on August 8 at 21.00.

The Comedy Central Roast is a South African version of the international format of one-off specials that originated on US cable network Comedy Central, in which a celeb is subjected to jokes at their expense.

Comedy Central Africa has so far roasted celebs including singer Steve Hofmeyr in 2012, businessman Kenny Kunene in 2014, actor Somizi Mhlongo in 2018 and rapper AKA in 2019.

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Uti Nwachukwu to host RHOL reunion

Uti Nwachukwu

Nigerian media personality Uti Nwachukwu will host a reunion show featuring the stars of reality series The Real Housewives of Lagos, to be carried by African streamer Showmax.

The reunion show will be made available on Showmax on July 1 and 8, shortly after the conclusion of the The Real Housewives’ first season.

The series follows the opulent lives of six of the most glamorous women in Lagos: Carolyna Hutchings, Laura Ikeji-Kanu, Chioma Ikokwu, Toyin Lawani-Adebayo, Iyabo Ojo and Mariam Timmer.

The reunion will see the women sit down with the Big Brother Africa 5 winner to discuss issues raised by the series and situations that happened off-camera.

Nwachukwu said: “The Real Housewives of Lagos has been a huge part of my Fridays since it premiered and I’m so excited to be able to sit down with the amazing cast to talk about the show.

“Being a lover of reality TV and also an ex-participant of a reality show myself, this feels like home and I will definitely be having a good time speaking to the ladies at this reunion.”

“The first season of The Real Housewives of Lagos has been really exciting. The decision to have Uti host the reunion was just perfect as he is a product and lover of reality TV and has the right energy to anchor the show,” said Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax Africa.

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BBNaija S7 online auditions begin

Reality TV show Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) has begun online auditions for its seventh season.

Nigerian men and women aged over 21 year on July 1 need to record a two-minute video of themselves stating why they should be picked to be part of the show. The videos can be uploaded here. Applications close on May 30.

John Ugbe, CEO of MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “We are set to make history once again with the seventh season of a show that is widely regarded as Africa’s biggest entertainment showcase and a major socio-economic driver in Nigeria. This season promises to top previous seasons in terms of production values, entertainment content, and economic impact.

“The BBNaija reality show remains one of our core investments in bringing quality TV entertainment to millions of our subscribers across the continent on our DStv and GOtv platforms and beyond through our online streaming service, Showmax. We are ramping up efforts to deliver another BBNaija experience to our customers, partner brands and fans of the show.”

The headline sponsor for BBNaija S7 is Abeg while the associate sponsor is Flutterwave.

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Africa & I, Ayinla win at PAFF

Africa & I

African films Africa & I and Ayinla have emerged winners at the recent Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles.

South African documentary Africa & I (1×90’), directed by Othmane Zolati and Chris Green (Chasing the Sun), follows 20-year-old adventurer Zolati who spent four years walking, cycling and skateboarding his way south through Africa, from Morocco to Cape Town.

The film is produced by Cape Town prodco Both Worlds Pictures (Puppet Nation ZA, Recipes for Love & Murder), in partnership with MultiChoice-owned African streamer Showmax and the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa. Worldwide sales of Africa & I are handled by Big Media (US) and Paradoxal (France).

Ayinla, directed by Nigerian filmmaker Tunde Kelani, tells the story of Nigerian musician Ayinla Omowura, who used Apala music to address issues in contemporary society, commending and criticising various governmental and individual acts.

Sponsored by the First Bank of Nigeria and distributed by FilmOne (Nigeria), Ayinla will debut soon on Netflix.

At PAFF, the 30th edition of which concluded on May 2, Africa & I won in the Best First Feature Documentary category, while Ayinla took home the Programmers’ Award: Narrative Feature.

On Instagram, Kelani said: “Congratulations to our talents, crew, executive producers, producers, and our rep team in Los Angeles and Pakistan. Thanks and God’s blessings.”

PAFF is a non-profit corporation in Los Angeles that states its goal is to promote cultural understanding among peoples of African descent through exhibiting art and film.

The full list of PAFF 2022 award winner can be found here.

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Showmax orders four Kenyan originals

Igiza is about twin sisters at war with each other

MultiChoice-owned African SVoD platform Showmax has commissioned a slate of four original Kenyan productions, set to launch later this year, as it expands its investment in the country.

Its 2022 slate includes crime drama Pepeta, which follows the intertwined lives of an aspiring 17-year-old footballer, an unforgiving cop and an ambitious football coach.

Produced by CJ3 Entertainment’s James Kombo, Mwangi Rurengo and Wanja Mworia, the show is set to go into production this month. Damaris Irungu (Crime and Justice), Charles Ouda (Waiting Room, Makutano Junction) and Abigail Arunga (How to Find a Husband) are writing.

Showmax has also ordered a 13-part thriller called Igiza, about twin sisters who are at war after a betrayal that changes their lives forever. The project is helmed by Abdi Shuria (Nafsi), King Muriuki (The XYZ Show) and Abu Melita under their company Yare Productions. Serah Ndanu (Sumu la Penzi, Pieces of Us) plays both sisters in the series, which is currently in production.

Also on the docket for 2022 is County 49, a political thriller about the citizens of a fictional county who are suffering from the high cost of living and scarce resources, despite the county’s wealth. It is produced by Likarion Wainaina, Brian Munene and Millicent Ogutu of Kibanda Pictures and Bruce Makau. Munene also writes alongside Voline Ogutu (Crime and Justice), Mercy Mutisya (Too Early for Birds) and Martin Kingondu.

In addition, Showmax has commissioned Kenya’s first-ever Christmas movie. The as-yet-untitled project is produced by Reuben Odanga, who is writing the film alongside Natasha Likimani.

The greenlights come on the heels of the release of Showmax’s first Kenyan original, Crime & Justice, which is now in its second season, in addition to drama series Single Kiasi and feature film Baba Twins.

Timothy Okwaro, MultiChoice channel director for East and Southern Africa, said: “We have worked with new production houses to expand our genre offering to ensure our viewers get to see the very best of Kenyan stories told in different facets of life, from thrillers to crime dramas to political thrillers.

“This slate speaks to our localisation strategy and the keen focus on working with local producers, both established and upcoming, to ensure we give our viewers what they want.”

Outside of Kenya, Showmax’s original productions include ENO, which is the company’s first Ghanaian original, soon-to-launch reality show The Real Housewives of Lagos, South African telenovela The Wife, The Real Housewives of Durban and upcoming fantasy epic Blood Psalms, set in ancient Africa.

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Showmax lines up new African titles


African streaming service Showmax has lined up a number of African titles that will air on its platform this month.

They include the new drama series Umbuso, which will premiere on April 3; season two of MnaKwethu Happily Ever After on April 7; The Real Housewives of Lagos on April 8; new South African drama series Umkhokha on 11 April; and S3 of Gomora on April 25.

Umbuso follows a street-smart businessman and a politician, two old comrades determined to secure a post-struggle legacy for themselves and their families. The show stars Sphamandla Dhludhlu, Bathabile Mashigo and Bahumi Mhlongo.

MnaKwethu Happily Ever After is a reality show hosted by Musa Mseleku about polygamy. In this new season, viewers will learn of family rejection and unexpected break-ups. The show features Qondanisa, Ngiga, Dulas and Bheki Cele.

The Real Housewives of Lagos is the first Nigerian instalment and 16th international version of the award-winning Real Housewives franchise from the US, and follows the success of The Real Housewives of Johannesburg and The Real Housewives of Durban.

The Real Housewives of Lagos follows the opulent lives of six of the most glamorous women in Nigeria’s capital city, namely businesswoman Carolyna Hutchings, influencer Laura Ikeji-Kanu, lawyer and luxury hair brand owner Chioma Ikokwu, celebrity stylist Toyin Lawani-Adebayo, Nollywood actress Iyabo Ojo and PR expert Mariam Timmer.

The show will be available exclusively on Showmax in more than 40 African countries.

Umkhokha, meanwhile, revolves around the bitter feud between two families vying for control of a church after the untimely death of its leader. It stars casts including Deli Malinga, S’Thandiwe Kgoroge, Linda Sokhulu, Nay Maps, Sibongile Ngubane and Kwezi Ndlovu. It is directed by Menga Nhlabathi and executive produced by Mandla KaNozulu and Nathi Ngwane.

Lastly, Gomora traces the inequality between rich and poor, following the lives of two families and how their worlds collide. It stars Connie Chiume, Katlego Danke and Zolisa Xaluva.

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Banijay takes format rights to Still Got It!

Banijay has acquired the exclusive format rights to Still Got It!, an original factual entertainment series from South Africa-based creative studio Rebelintown.

Still Got It!

Created by Jimmy Muteba, the format, which is known in South Africa as The Coolest OGs, sees people aged between 60 and 80 competing in a series of challenges with the help of the Gen Z crowd to see which of them has “still got it.” A cash prize is up for grabs for the person who impresses a panel of influential young judges.

The show debuted in June last year on free-to-air channel SABC and was licensed to SVoD platform Showmax in September.

Banijay is exclusively responsible for format sales outside of Africa. Rebelintown has retained the rights to distribute the format in Africa and will work in partnership with Banijay on a non-exclusive basis in North Africa.

“With a burgeoning creative industry in South Africa, it’s an exciting time to bring Rebelintown’s Still Got It! to the international market,” said Carlotta Rossi Spencer, head of format acquisitions at Banijay.

Jimmy Muteba, CEO of Rebelintown, added: “There is a growing movement which sees African creativity having its moment in the spotlight. This format cuts across generations and, with its universal nature, Still Got It! holds great potential to be adapted across the globe.”

Rebelintown’s other credits include Trace Music Star, a music talent search competition where the public can enter simply by recording their song on a phone call. The show was licensed to South Africa-based music channel Trace and later launched across 14 African countries over three seasons. The series, which features judges Wyclef Jean, Akon, Keri Hilson and Dawala, was also picked up in France.

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