South Africa at the Oscars

Searching for SugarmanTwo films that were filmed on location in the Western Cape are in with a chance at the Oscars next month; one of which has been an international music sensation and the other a short film that hasn’t yet made waves but which has been very well received at international festivals.

Searching for Sugarman is a documentary with the feel of a movie – the story is so well told, such a human drama that whether you love the music or not you are drawn in. It’s the story of Rodriguez, the Seventies singer whose two albums never made it at home in the United States but who was a huge hit and a mysterious legend here in South Africa. Continue reading

Go Up Table Mountain This Christmas!

Father_Christmas_and_the_Christmas_Fairy_on_Table_MountainTable Mountain is a happening place this summer! My favourite natural style icon is getting into the Christmas spirit with a few extra activities, as if we need any more persuasion to be whisked up in the cable-car for sundowners at the end of a long hot summer’s day.

Kids will be excited to know that Father Christmas and a Christmas fairy helper will be visiting the top of the mountain before setting out on their delivery round on Christmas Eve! They’ll be taking a break there on Christmas morning too, before heading back home to the North Pole. Continue reading

Louis Vuitton Shoot by Annie Leibovitz Features Bono in Africa

Louis Vuitton ad with Bono and Annie Leibovitz in AfricaBono isn’t known for lending himself to advertising campaigns and he doesn’t usually take part in shoots without the band members of U2, but made an exception for this shoot which promotes something close to his heart. In 2005 he and his wife, Ali Hewson, started an ethical fashion label Edun, which Vuitton parent company LVMH have supported since 2009 with a 49% share in it, in their bid to promote a more sustainable fashion ethic. Continue reading

Film Locations – Around the World in South Africa Part 2

Tennents-lager-commercialAnyone who lives in Cape Town already knows how varied the landscapes are with our famous beaches, mountains and world class vineyards. But did you know that you can take a trip around the world without even leaving the Western Cape?

This is what the new Tennent’s Lager campaign demanded for their latest production. A three day shoot was all the time scheduled to put together a Victorian explorer style round the world adventure using pristine, uninhabited locations. All the locations are within 200km of Cape Town and some even within the city, as minimising travel time was key to fitting in the grand tour.

So next time you feel inspired to do a bit of globetrotting, perhaps you can save yourself the airfare and explore the varied scenery right in our own backyard?!

Tennent’s Lager used Stanford River, Atlantis Dunes, Kraalbaai beach, Silvermine Nature Reserve and Constantia Greenbelt for their locations in this commercial.

Get more inspiration for your travels from these beautiful  locations in South Africa.

See Part 1 of our Around the World in South Africa film locations posts for other film productions that make the most of the incredibly varied landscapes of South Africa.

Film Locations – Around the World in Southern Africa

on location near Cape TownSouth African ex-pats living in Canada may get a sense of déjà vu when the next Canadian ILC Lotto Max lottery campaign is released.

The commercial shows an idealistic world tour that a lottery winner might dream of, with picturesque scenes depicting  India, Japan, New York and Mexico among other destinations, and yet the whole production was shot on location in Southern Africa. Have fun spotting which scenes were shot in Namibia, which around Cape Town and which Mexican ruins were actually shot in Zanzibar!

It seems that Southern Africa’s diversity of film locations together with the fact that it is English speaking with first class film production infrastructure made it the top choice for this wide-ranging production, as it has been for many other top commercial productions before it. Guaranteed to make South Africa ex-pats nostalgic for home whenever a commercial break comes on!

Johannesburg Steals the Location Limelight

Johannesburg-location-film-productionCape Town is everyone’s favourite South African location for film production, so much so that Jo’burg often gets left out in the cold, but the very fact that it is less in the limelight made it the top choice for two recent film shoots that couldn’t be more different from each other.

A new thriller set in Syria, for obvious reasons, could not be filmed for real on the streets of Damascus, so Johannesburg has proved to be the perfect double – a varied cityscape that isn’t instantly recognisable as itself and yet has the smooth operating infrastructure that South Africa is renowned for in the film industry. The movie Inescapable is the story of a father searching for his missing daughter in the middle of Damascus.

At the other end of spectrum is the latest dramatic commercial for Opel. The producers needed city streets that were wide enough for several cars, streets that could easily be closed to regular traffic during the filming and where they could use dramatic smoke effects. Johannesburg proved to be the perfect location with a co-operative municipality and film office providing the extensive lock-offs needed. Look out for the final cut in the next Opel Corsa ad.

So don’t forget about Johannesburg for both gritty and beautiful cityscapes when you are searching out locations in South Africa.

South African Movies Latest Top 3

Safe House - on location in Cape TownSouth African movie fans were delighted to find three new movies filmed at home to choose from this weekend. The top three box office draws in South Africa this weekend were all filmed here, on location in and around Cape Town and Johannesburg.

First place was taken by Safe House with Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds  – an international production filmed both on location in and around Cape Town and at Cape Town Film Studios. It opened in SA this weekend to gross R4.1million. It did pretty well in the US as well, grossing $40m in its first weekend when it opened there on 10th February.

Next on the SA top 3 list is Afrikaans romantic comedy Semi-Soet, filmed on location in the Cape Winelands and in Jo-burg.

And only just beaten into third place is South African comedy, Material – The Movie, a story of a Muslim boy in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, who discovers a talent for stand up comedy, which received rave reviews.

For more details of all three movies read here.

We’re loving the fact that we can go to the cinema and see our own streets and landscapes on screen, as well as the fact that the South African movie industry is thriving so well. Looking forward to seeing many more movies filmed at locations in South Africa over the coming years.

Bond Film Production Not In Cape Town … Yet!

James BondCape Town may have to wait to see 007 in a cable car shoot out on Table Mountain. The persuasive rumours circulating the industry and the internet that had the next Bond movie filmed on location in Cape Town, with a script from the latest Bond novel Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver, have proved to be unfounded.

The details of Bond 23 were finally announced in a November press conference – the movie is titled Skyfall and is based on one of Ian Fleming’s novels. Daniel Craig will star as Bond with Judi Dench continuing as M, and Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney in undisclosed roles.

Some of the speculation on a South African James Bond movie started when director Sam Mendes and Barbara Broccoli came to South Africa on a location scout in April 2011. While it is not entirely ruled out that there may be scenes set here, it now sounds unlikely with shooting scheduled in Shanghai and other parts of China and opening scenes set in Istanbul.

However the summer season of film production in Cape Town is already off to a busy start, so 007 may not even be missed, there’s plenty of shaken not stirred glamour to be found on location in and around the city as it is – and who knows, maybe he will get around to visiting South Africa in a year or two, when Carte Blanche eventually does get made into a movie.

Table Mountain – Icon of Natural Style

Table MountainAs anyone who lives in Cape Town will tell you, Table Mountain is the ultimate style icon, presiding protectively over the city, its unforgettable silhouette visible from many miles away up the West Coast. So we are all thrilled that Table Mountain has made it into the final list of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World.

While the New 7 Wonders is a private initiative, criticised by many as unscientific in its voting processes, it has certainly caught the popular imagination here in South Africa, where a chance to get recognition for our most recognisable landmark was seized with enthusiasm.

It’s not that Cape Town needs any publicity. Already a popular destination for travellers on all budgets, from luxury to backpacking, it has also been a top favourite location for film productions for many years. It has also been named design capital for 2014, so there is no shortage of headlines or visitors.

But we have yet to see Table Mountain featuring as itself in a blockbuster movie. Too often our beaches stand-in for other countries, our versatile landscape locations of mountain, rolling wheatfields, wine estates, even desert, double for other places, other times.

We’re hoping to see Table Mountain feature prominently in a movie some time soon – who knows maybe the next James Bond will do the trick – Carte Blanche is rumoured to be considering Cape Town as a possible location, seeing as the book is set here. Just imagine 007 on a mission dangling from the cable car ascending the side of the Mountain in a shoot out with the latest villain…!

And if you have seen a movie that features Table Mountain as a location, please do let me know in the comments – I’d be thrilled to be wrong!

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