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“Christmas in South Africa”
The aptly titled “Christmas in South Africa” combines all the elements fans of the popular Italian series have come to expect: Exotic locations, a recurring troupe of actors and plenty of comedy based on misunderstandings and partner-swapping. After previous installments were set in India, Rio de Janeiro, New York and Beverly Hills, producers Aurelio and Luigi de Laurentiis spent eight weeks shooting in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg with additional shooting in Rome. The film will hit Italian theaters Dec. 17.
Although in postproduction and months away from its international release, “Dark Tide” has already generated buzz in the tabloids as its star Halle Berry sparked a well-publicized romance with co-star Olivier Martinez, bringing the paparazzi to Cape Town in droves. Directed by John Stockwell (“Blue Crush”), “Tide” stars Berry as a former dive instructor attempting to return to the ocean after a traumatizing Great White Shark attack.
Recently released in South Africa by Stepping Stone Pictures — the production company formed by Jann Turner, Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana Seiphemo, the team behind the last year’s foreign-language Oscar submission “White Wedding” — “Paradise Stop” opened to strong regional box office this year. Directed by Turner and produced by famed novelist Ken Follett, “Paradise” tags itself as “a smart, tightly paced romantic road movie” similar in tone to “White Wedding.”
“State of Violence”
After opening the 2010 Durban International Film Festival, this Johannesburg-based political thriller and revenge drama continues to make the film festival rounds. Directed by Khalo Matabane, winner of the best South African film award at the Durban festival in 2006 for “Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon,” the movie stars Fana Mokoena as an executive looking to avenge the death of his wife against the backdrop of Apartheid’s legacy.
“Blue Crush II”
In its ongoing effort to transform previous titles into direct-to-DVD franchises, Universal Studios Home Entertainment shot a follow-up to the 2002 youth surfing drama in June in the seaside city of Durban. The German/South African co-production tells the story of a young woman looking to honor the memory of her dead mother by traveling to South Africa and surfing the legendary Jeffreys Bay. Starring Sasha Jackson (CW’s “One Tree Hill”) and helmed by producer-turned-director Mike Elliott, the film includes several real world surfing stars and is set for release in the spring.
Released throughout South Africa in September and awaiting international distribution, the intimate drama deals with the relationship between a recovering drug addict and her mother. Directed by Revel Fox and starring the director’s wife Roberta and daughter Sannie, the film recounts the real life struggles of the Fox family. Both Sannie and Roberta Fox earned recent nominations for best actress and best supporting actress, respectively, from the South African Film and Television Academy.
The big-screen relaunch of the U.K.’s “Judge Dredd” comic franchise will be the first foreign production shot entirely at the new Cape Town Studios. It will also be the first film produced in South Africa to be shot entirely in 3D. Currently in preproduction, the U.K. co-production from DNA Films will star Karl Urban (“Star Trek”) as the vengeful post-apocalyptic dispenser of justice.
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