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The Dark Tower unveils the versatility of South African film locations

The Dark Tower unveils the versatility of South African film locations

With the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower soon to be released in local cinemas, audiences from around the world will get another opportunity to see some of South Africa’s unique and captivating film locations. The Dark Tower is a science-fiction film that depicts gunslinger Idris Elba going head-to-head with Matthew McConaughey, the infamous Man in Black. The film presents two contrasting environments, present-day New York, and a barren wasteland that forms part of another dimension, called the Mid-World. The South African leg of production was based in Cape Town, with the filmmakers making use of its surrounding areas to create the Mid-World. The production made use of the arid, semi-desert areas of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, the mesmerising rock formations of the Cederberg mountain range, and the beautiful Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga. Other locations included Athlone Stadium and Rawsonville, a small farming and wine growing community 120km outside of Cape Town, in which the set for the Manni Village was built. Production Designer, Christopher Glass, described some of South Africa’s desert locations as “almost like being on Mars. The horizon just kept going; I’ve never seen anything like that before. I think that there’s a romance and a certain sense of adventure that goes into filming in Africa.” The film is not the first science-fiction or action film to utilise our shores, as previous examples include The Giver, Dredd, Safe House, Eye in the Sky, Chronicle, District 9 and 10,000 BC. Recent productions such as Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as the reboots of The Mummy and Tomb Raider, have made use of...
Amazon Studios Moves into Self-Distribution

Amazon Studios Moves into Self-Distribution

In recent years the world of theatrical distribution has been challenged by the colossal presence of online platforms such as Amazon Studios and Netflix. But after a number of successful acquisitions, including Amazon’s Academy Award-winning Manchester by the Sea, there has been a much-anticipated move to in-house production from Amazon Studios and Netflix. Woody Allen, who has already partnered with Amazon Studios on his previous two films for distribution, has now partnered solely with the streaming giant for his upcoming film, Wonder Wheel, starring Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet. Previously, Amazon Studios partnered with recognised distributors Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures and Roadside Attractions, but Allen’s film signifies the intent of Amazon Studios to become an entirely self-sufficient production company. Amazon Studios has been particularly welcoming to the maverick director, who demands total creative freedom on his projects, stating, “when I make a film, I like the people backing the film, sometimes the studios, to put the money in a brown paper bag and then go away. And then six months later I give them the film. That’s the way I’ve always been able to work, having complete control of every aspect of the film.” Allen’s sentiments echo that of director Bong-Joon Ho, who lauded the merits of releasing his latest film, Okja, on Netflix at the end of June. “Netflix guaranteed my complete freedom in terms of putting together my team and the final cut privilege, which only godlike filmmakers such as Spielberg get,” he said. The creative license, along with the reduced pressure of not having to worry about opening weekend box office receipts, has resulted in both streaming...