Part­ner­ship will glob­alise SA film in­dus­try

Cape Argus - - Weather & Leisure - Lance Wit­ten

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL film dis­tri­bu­tion and pro­duc­tion com­pany D Street Me­dia will be­gin pro­duc­tion on the big bud­get The

Blue Mau­ri­tius early next year, and it’s set to bring some top Hollywood ac­tors to Cape Town. New to the cast is An­thony Mackie, of

Avengers fame. “An­thony Mackie, who I con­sider a real movie star, brings such a fresh per­spec­tive to the cast and the char­ac­ter, he’s an in­cred­i­bly tal­ented, ver­sa­tile ac­tor who truly takes the project to the next level,” D Street chief ex­ec­u­tive Dex­ter Davis said.

“I’m also so pleased to be work­ing with Michael Be­naroya and his pres­ti­gious com­pany Be­naroya Pic­tures on The Blue Mau­ri­tius, a project that’s been a labour of love. Michael is su­per smart and well con­nected in Hollywood and after four years of false starts I can fi­nally feel se­cure we’re go­ing to get this done,” Davis said.

The Blue Mau­ri­tius is the first film that will test D Street’s man­date to cre­ate a “star sys­tem” in South Africa. The pro­duc­ers cast South African ac­tors Deon Lotz, Pearl Thusi and Ni­cola Breyten­bach in prin­ci­pal roles along­side in­ter­na­tional stars such as John Rhys-Davies, Ger­ard Depar­dieu, Thomas Kretschmann and now Mackie. With al­most guar­an­teed US and in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion, D Street is bet­ting on its South African tal­ent be­com­ing more recog­nis­able to world­wide au­di­ences. “We be­lieve we can achieve what 12 Years

a Slave did for Lupita Ny­ong’o. Had it not been for her very fa­mous co-stars Michael Fass­ben­der, Chi­we­tel Ejio­for and Brad Pitt, whose fame brought in au­di­ences from all over the world, we may not know who Lupita Ny­ong’o is to­day,” said D Street’s pres­i­dent Ernest Napoleon.

“What we’re propos­ing is not rocket sci­ence; one of the key el­e­ments to creat­ing a star sys­tem is ex­po­sure. The more we cre­ate con­tent like The Blue Mau­ri­tius with South African ac­tors in prom­i­nent roles, the bet­ter our chances are to pro­duce South African films that can be sold world­wide.” D Street isn’t stop­ping with The Blue Mau­ri­tius, the com­pany is team­ing up with South African pro­ducer Greig Buckle and his Enigma Pic­tures to pro­duce the faith­based bas­ket­ball film Ballin: On the Other Side of the World.

The story is about a young South African boy whose tal­ent in bas­ket­ball is dis­cov­ered by an Amer­i­can pri­est dur­ing mis­sion­ary work in Cape Town. The film is yet an­other ex­am­ple of how D Street is de­vel­op­ing con­tent with South African sto­ry­lines, while util­is­ing Amer­i­can and African tal­ent in lead­ing roles. The com­pany’s re­la­tion­ship to Hollywood is im­per­a­tive to the suc­cess of the model.

“The way we see growth hap­pen­ing in the South African film in­dus­try is from the out­side in. In­deed, creat­ing a star sys­tem will be a huge part of that, but more im­por­tantly we think util­is­ing Amer­ica’s more than 40 000 screens as a home for South African films is strate­gic and cen­tral to the plan.”

AC­TION: An­thony Mackie as Fal­con, in Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier.

LO­CAL STAR: Pearl Thusi.

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