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TV and Movies

Netflix Will Release It’s First African Original Series in 2019 Starring This African Actress

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South African Actress Pearl Thusi

Netflix has ordered its first African original series, “Queen Sono,” a drama about a secret agent who fights crime while dealing with crises in her personal life. The series will launch globally in 2019.

“Queen Sono” stars veteran South African actress Pearl Thusi, who tweeted in an emotional video that she “cannot wait for…every woman on this continent, and actually on this planet, to meet Queen Sono.” Of the deal with Netflix, she added: “It’s going to change the game for every artist on this continent.”

ALSO READ: 5 Must Watch African Centered Movies Streaming on Netflix (January 2019)

The announcement came last month, barely a week after Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president of international originals, told a gathering in London that the company would begin commissioning original series in Africa starting in 2019.

Speaking about “Queen Sono” with South Africa’s Independent Online, Barmack said: “Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in ‘House of Cards’ and Jessica Jones.”

He added: “Over time, our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”

Art

Check Out The Song That Took ‘Song Of The Year’ At The 2019 NAMA

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It was a night of glitz and glamor on Saturday 13th April 2019 at the Harare International Conference Center for the 18th National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA). Celebrities and dignitaries were spotted at the center in scintillating outfits. There were musical performances by music stars like Enzo. However, the climax of the event was the award of plaques in different categories for outstanding works.

The music category always draws the most attention. However, this year had lots of surprise entries. The gospel sensation, Mai Patai was voted the best in the People’s Choice category. Patai recently broke the jinx in the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 50 by becoming the first woman to make it to the top three. Another female gospel musician whose hard work continues to pay off is Janet Manyowa. Manyowa won the Outstanding Female Musician award.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims

A Battle For Experience And Fame

One of the keenly contested categories at NAMA is the Outstanding Male Musician. Three superstars Baba Harare, Enzo Ishall and ExQ contended the award. However, many believe the ‘Nzenza’ crooner ExQ’s longevity and experience set him apart from his competitors. It was double honors for ExQ as his album ‘Tseu Tseu’ won the Outstanding Album. Although losing out of this category, Enzo’s hit track, ‘Kanjiva’ won the ‘Song of the Year’. Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style Enzo said,

“It is such a great honor to receive this award which I dedicate to my son and I would like to thank friends, family, and my fans as well as my producers for supporting me.”

Surprise Name On The Award List

Long John

One of the surprise names on the NAMA Award list was Long John, a rib-cracking comedian. Not many saw this coming. From John’s reactions, it is obvious he did not see it coming too. The vibrant comedian took to his Facebook to share his joy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m in shock. I’ve never won anything in my life. But today I am so happy to announce that I’ve just Won the Outstanding Comedian Award. This is so unreal. I even have a certificate and everything. Thank you so much, everyone, for your support #VillageBoy.”

List OF NAMA Award Winners

Spoken Words Award

  • Outstanding Poet: Likhwa Ncube
  • Outstanding Comedian: Learnmore “Long John” Mwanyenyeka

Literary Arts Awards

  • Outstanding First Creative Published Book: Gather the Children by Batsirai Chigama (Ntombekhaya Poetry)
  • Outstanding Children’s Book: The City Girl by Elisha July and Tendai K. Rudanda (Pass-Point Publishers)
  • Outstanding Fiction: Mazai Emheni by Daniel Mutendi (DanTs Media Publishing)

Theatre Awards

  • Outstanding Actor: Teddy Mangawa in Ukama
  • Actress: Qeqeshiwe M’thembo in The Hostel
  • Outstanding Theatrical Production: Ukama by Savanna Trust
  • Outstanding Director: Lloyd Nyikadzino for Zandezi

Dance Awards

  • Outstanding Female Dancer: Vein N Alfazema in Black Sheep
  • Male Dancer: Martin Chabuka in 100% Afro
  • Outstanding Dance Group: Real Flex Dance Group directed by Martin Chabuka
  • Outstanding Choreographer: Macintosh Jerahuni and Chaleen Chimara – Iwe Neni Tinebasa

Visual Arts

  • Outstanding 2 Dimensional Work: The Demolition by John Kotze
  • 3 Dimensional Work: Zvirimudombo by Shelton Mubayi
  • Outstanding Mix Media Work: The Watchman and the Fence by Greg Shaw
  • Outstanding Exhibition: The Grotesque by Alan Sibanda and Talent Kapadza

Film and Television Awards

  • Outstanding Actor: Eddie Sandifolo as Clive in Bhachi
  • Special Mention: Admire Kuzhangaira – in Death and Other Complications
  • Outstanding Actress: Tendaishe Chitima as Anesu in Cook Off
  • Outstanding Music Video: Dzamutsana ft. Jah Prayzah produced by Vusa Hlatshayo (aka Blaq)
  • Outstanding Screen Production (Television Series): Kuchina The Genesis directed by Blessing Gatsi
  • Special Mention: Gaza directed by Ben Mahaka
  • Outstanding Screen Production – Short Film: Bhachi directed by Shupai Kamunyaru
  • Outstanding Screen Production – Full-Length Film: Cook Off directed by Thomas Brickhill

Media Awards

  • Outstanding Journalist – Print: Fred Zindi – The Standard
  • Television: Patience Nyagato – ZTV
  • Radio: Babongile Sikhonjwa (aka uMrifiti) – Sky Metro FM
  • Outstanding Online Media: Capitalk

Music Awards

  • Outstanding Female Musician: Janet Manyowa
  • Male Musician: Enoch “ExQ” Munhenga
  • Outstanding Album: Tseu Tseu by ExQ
  • Outstanding Song: Kanjiva by Stephen “Enzo Ishall” Mamhere
  • People’s Choice Award Winner: Mai Patai

Special Awards

  • Artist in the Diaspora: Danai J. Gurira
  • Outstanding Promoter: Unplugged Zimbabwe
  • Arts Personality Award of the Year: Mokoomba
  • Arts Service Award: The Standard Newspaper
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Charles Mungoshi

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TV and Movies

Kenyan Short Film Gets Prestigious Hollywood Award Nomination

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The nominations for the New Filmmakers Los Angeles (NFML) was announced on Saturday, April 6, 2019. One of the films that made the nominee list is ‘Shoto’. The prestigious award which is now in its 11th edition comprises of sixteen categories. However, Shoto is the only African film in the Best New Media category. Shoto is a short film and the name of a matatu driver. The story explores Shoto’s experiences as he ferries to and fro Umoja to town. Beyond the daily life buzz, the movie showcases various aspects of matatu culture.

The nomination means a lot to the Kenyan film industry. The country has actors and actresses with super talent but without the support to shine on the world stage. Stories Found, a film production hub sponsored Shoto. However, the short film also got ample support from the United States Embassy in Nairobi.

What Shoto Win will Mean for Kenyan Film Industry

A 14-member jury consisting of professionals in the Hollywood film industry will decide the winner on a yet to be announced date. If Shoto goes all the way to win the award, it will draw international attention to the Kenyan film industry. Consequently, one of Shoto’s filmmakers, Azali Ishmael could not contain his joy. The filmmaker took to Instagram to thank the organizers and the crew.

“Tonight I want to take this opportunity to first thank God…. Not forgetting the AMAZING AMAZING students who took a 3week online course and 1-week Crush Ground/practice course, to make this a ‘successful’ project. [However] we have been privileged to get nominated to the BNFMLA (Best New Film Makers Award) which is arguably one of the Top new ‘filmmakers’ award festivals in LA.”

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Tonight I want to take this opportunity to first thank God,thank the stories found Team : @iamjamesmartin @accidentallybudsimpson Simpson and @eviemaina in conjunction with the US Embassy Nairobi,not forgetting the AMAZING AMAZING students who took a 3week online course and 1 week Crush Ground/practical course, to make this a success project together with our main cast SHOTO-As written by @firulmaithya @mwarstep We have been privileged to get nominated to the BNFMLA(Best New Film Makers Awards) which are arguably one of the Top new film makers award festivals in LA.Not forgetting,to say a BIG BIG thank you to the organizers who had sleepless nights to make this a success.Look Out for Stories Found II coming up in July and hope it brings out stories from young film makers 🙏🙏🙏.Was an Amazing Experience in Hollywood. Dressed by : @_dappermanke #Godspeed #Godsfavour #Sonoftheuniverse

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List of Nominees in the Best New Media Category

A total of ten short films are in the Best New Media category. However, the category which is dominated by films from the USA has Shoto as the only African entry. The films in the category range from 2 minutes to 14 minutes. The complete list of films in this category are;

  • Camisa Al Reves (Produced by Andrew Vasquez)
  • Night Owl (Produced by Rebekah Miskin and Miriam Levin Gold)
  • Poison (Produced by Erica Eng)
  • Have No Fear (Produced by Christopher Allen)
  • Shoto (Produced by Firul Maithya and Stories Found Nairobi Team, Kenya)
  • RWF (Produced by Julien Sauvalle)
  • Everlasting MOM (Produced by Elinor Nechemya)
  • Commercial For The Queen Of Meatloaf (Produced by Melodie Sisk)
  • My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes (Directed by Charlie Tyrell)
  • Steve Kinkoes (Directed by Emma Debany)

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Celebrities

Mo Abudu Is First African To Receive Prestigious Médailles d’Honneur

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Mo Abudu

On 8th of April 2019, celebrities across the globe gathered in Cannes, France for the MIPTV ceremony. MIPTV recognizes and honors senior executives for their impact on the global television industry. Among those honored at the event is Mosunmola ‘Mo’ Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Media. This makes Mo Abudu the first African to receive the prestigious Médailles d’Honneur award.

Mo Abudu is one of the most prolific producers in the continent. However, she launched EbonyLife TV in 2013. The TV network became the first global network for black entertainment and lifestyle. However, EbonyLife TV is notable for a slew of original features and series including ‘The Governor’, ‘Sons of the Caliphate’ and ‘Castle & Castle’.

Recipients of the MIPTV Award

Mo Abudu is not the only media executive to receive the award. She shared the stage with Jane Millichip (managing director of Sky Vision), Ilene Chaiken (producer, writer, and showrunner), and Stephane Courbit (chairperson of the Banijay Group). While on stage to receive the award, the obviously emotional Abudu said,

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIPTV for this incredible award. My big dream was and still is, to change the narrative about my continent. As a continent, Africa has remained creatively silent for centuries. Our stories seldom told outside of our families and villages and often from the perspective of ‘someone’ looking in. It is therefore with great pride that we, at EbonyLife Media, bring our stories to the world with our TV series and our films.”

Mo Abudu’s Previous Recognitions

Mo Abudu is not a stranger to accolades and awards. CNN described her as “Africa’s Queen of Media who conquered the continent”. Forbes, on the other hand, labels her “Africa’s Most Successful Woman”. Consequently, she also featured on the 2018 Powerlist, a selection of the most influential people of Caribbean and African heritage.

Mo Abudu

In 2018, the convener of the Emmy Awards, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, named Mo Abudu as a director. However, in the same year, she was honored with the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts by the University of Westminster. The honorary degree was in recognition of her contributions to the Nigerian broadcasting industry.

Achievements and Future Projects

Mo Abudu currently heads five divisions of the EbonyLife Media which encompass EbonyLife Productions Limited (UK), EbonyLife Studios, EbonyLife ON, EbonyLife Films, and EbonyLife TV. Consequently, she has produced Nigeria’s highest grossing movie including Chief Daddy (2018), The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai (2017), The Wedding Party (2016), and Fifty (2015).

Mo Abudu has international collaboration with Netflix. However, she recently entered a 3-project deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT). The deal is the first of its kind in the continent. A movie based on the women soldiers that served in present-day Benin over 200 years ago.

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