South African content making waves across the globe

12 April 2023

South African content making waves across the globe

From upcoming Showmax Original Spinners being picked for Canneseries to The Smeds and the Smoos winning in New York, these local shows are at the top of their game.

Spinners S1 | Showmax Original | Coming later in 2023

Spinners - Showmax Original

The first African series ever selected in competition at Canneseries, Spinners follows Ethan, a 17-year-old driver working for a local gang. Trying to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted with gang life, Ethan discovers a possible way out via spinning, an extreme motorsport where he can put his driving skills to better use. But the looming gang war jeopardises that hope.

A co-production between Showmax and CANAL+, Spinners’ cast includes Arendsvlei’s Cantona James and Chelsea Thomas in leading roles, along with Dillon Windvogel (Blood & Water) and South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Brendon Daniels (Zulu, Skemerdans, Five Fingers for Marseille).  

Directed by Jaco Bouwer (2021 SXSW Best Cinematography winner Gaia, 2022 SAFTA Best TV Drama winner 4 Mure), Spinners is co-created by producer Joachim Landau and showrunner Benjamin Hoffman of Empreinte Digitale. The English/Kaaps/Afrikaans drama is co-produced by Locarno, Amiens and FESPACO winner Ramadan Suleman (Zulu Love Letter, Fools) from Natives at Large, Spinners’ local co-production company. DJ Ready D is the music supervisor and also composing tracks for the series. 

Canneseries starts this Friday, 14 April 2023, with the winners being announced next Wednesday, 19 April 2023. Spinners’ competition includes Dead Ringers, starring Oscar winner Rachel Weisz; Prisoner, starring BAFTA winner Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing); and Childhood Dreams, from Topkapi Films (the Oscar-winning Another Round).  

StudioCanal is handling international sales on Spinners.

The Smeds and the Smoods | First on Showmax | Stream now

Julia Donaldson's The Smeds and the Smoos is on Showmax

South Africans Daniel Snaddon and Samantha Cutler direct The Smeds and the Smoos, which recently won the Audience Award for 3-6-year-olds at New York International Children’s Festival. Snaddon was previously a director on the 2021 Annie Award winner The Snail and the Whale, 2020 International Emmy-winning Zog, and the BAFTA-nominated and Annecy-winning Stick Man

Narrated by Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), The Smeds and The Smoos tells the story of two warring families whose children, Bill and Janet, fall in love and run away together. Hotly pursued by their grandparents, Grandfather Smed (comedian Bill Bailey) and Grandmother Smoo (Adjoa Andoh from Bridgerton), the two young aliens (Ashna Rabheru from Sex Education and Daniel Ezra from All American) lead their families on a chase across space, giving them the opportunity to find out they have more in common than they think. 

The Magic Light Productions short is adapted by South African Julia Smuts Louw from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s bestselling picture-book of the same name. New York International Children’s Festival calls the 27-minute special “hilarious and charming”. 

DAM S1-2 | Showmax Original | Binge now

Leading international film trade Deadline just featured the Showmax Original psychological thriller DAM in their Global Breakouts section, where they “shine a spotlight on the TV shows and films killing it.” 

Created by four-time SAFTA winner Alex Yazbek, DAM was one of the 10 most-watched titles of 2021 on Showmax and the most nominated drama series at the 2022 SAFTAs, earning rave reviews for breaking the mould of South African TV. 

Season 2 is set three months after the Spring Festival. The cult’s ritual sacrifice seems to have worked: rain has come and transformed the land. Yola has no memory of anything since her return for her father’s funeral. Can she put the missing pieces together as diamonds are discovered, a mass grave uncovered and a monster surfaces in the dam? 

Lea Vivier and Pallance Dladla return in their SAFTA-nominated roles as Yola and Themba, with Natasha Loring reprising her SAFTA-winning role as Yola’s sister, Sienna. 

Beast | Stream now

Idris Elba in a scene from Beast (2022) on Showmax

Sometimes the rustle in the bushes actually is a monster… 

Filmed in Limpopo, the Northern Cape, and Cape Town, the pulse-pounding survival thriller Beast stars Emmy nominee Idris Elba (Thor: Love and Thunder, Luther) and South African star Sharlto Copley (District 9’s Wikus and Murdock in The A-Team). 

Beast centres on a father and his two teenage daughters whose journey of healing in the African bush becomes a fearsome fight for survival when a lion begins stalking them. The lion, a survivor of bloodthirsty poachers, now sees all humans as the enemy. 

The 58th biggest film of 2022 globally, Beast has already been nominated at the Annie and Visual Effects Society Awards this year. It’s currently the most popular film on Showmax. 

Gomora S4 | From 24 April

Meet the new cast members on Gomora S3

At the 2023 Royalty Soapie Awards, Katlego Danke was named Outstanding Lead Actress, Connie Chiume took home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Gomora picked up additional awards for Outstanding Casting and Editing. 

The fourth and final season of Mzansi Magic’s hit telenovela sees the young people of Gomora spiral out of control as new vultures circle, hungry for their own piece of the action. A young girl becomes a murderer and a new mother unravels after giving birth – but there is joy too, as the community celebrates a long-awaited wedding. 

Named Most Popular TV Soap at the SAFTAs, this season Gomora adds Sizwe Kubheka (iNkaba, Reyka) as Tumelo, Luxolo Ndabeni (Lockdown) as Mthokozisi and Sabelo Radebe (Lingashoni, 7de Laan) as Lenny.

Showmax is also releasing new episodes weekly of Season 6 of The River, another big winner at The Royalty Soapie Awards, where the 1Magic telenovela won Outstanding Onscreen Couple (Sindi Dlathu and Hlomu Dandala), Supporting Actress (Lunathi Mampofu), Newcomer (Vuyo Biyela) and Directing Team. 

Everything on Showmax in April 2023

To see everything on Showmax in April 2023, including the Showmax x Moja Love collaboration KuRuff, the Showmax Original animation Jay Jay: The Chosen One, Season 9 of the 2022 SAFTA Best TV Soap winner Suidooster, Season 1 of Die Real Housewives Van Pretoria, Season 1 of Entangled, classic Moja Love reality shows Ukungenwa S1 and Umndeni S2, and the documentary War Dogs and I, click here.

More thrillers series and movies to stream online »