Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Friday, 28 June 2024 21:30

Showmax series Spinners bags "Best Foreign TV Series" award at Shanghai TV Festival.

By Kevin Kriedemann.

The first season of Spinners beat the Emmy-winning final season of Succession for Best Foreign TV Series at the 29th Shanghai TV Festival's Magnolia Awards, one of the biggest accolades in Asia. 

Made in Lavender Hill in Cape Town, the local production was first African series selected to be shown at The Cannes International Series Festival, which is also known as CanneSeries.

"Spinners" shines a light on the spinning culture on the Cape Flats.

The South African motorsport which involves driving cars at speed in circles and performing stunts in and out of the car, has often received a bad rap, but the show's spinning coordinator Yaseen Damon, believes that it entails so more than what meets the eye.

It follows the life of Ethan, played by Cantona James, a 17-year-old driving enthusiast who grows up in the gang-riddled and crime-stricken community.

In desperate need to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted with gang life, Ethan discovers a potential escape through spinning.

With a gang war on the horizon, he must navigate dangerous waters to turn his life around in time.

"Spinners" was up against other notable series, including the British Academy Film Awards-nominated "All Creatures Great and Small", "La Storia," which was named as the 2024 Series of the Year by The Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists as well as "Aspergirl," which won Carel Brown the Best Actor award at last year's Series Mania in France.

At the start of this week, the acclaimed Showmax Original was also released on CANAL+ in France, with two episodes every Monday. This follows a CANAL+ release in French Africa in November last year.

French magazine "Allociné" described it as "a gripping thriller" akin to "Fast and Furious" and "Gomorra", with a hint of "Moonlight."

Le Journal DuManche said it combined elements of "City of God," "Fast and Furious," and "Gomorrah,"while, Télé-Loisirs said it surpassed the "Fast and Furious" franchise when it comes to offering viewers a sense of excitement.

"A co-production between Showmax and CANAL+, Spinners is co-created by producer Joachim Landau and showrunner Benjamin Hoffman of Empreinte Digitale, with the story developed by and head written by SAFTA and Silwerskerm winners Sean Steinberg and Matthew Jankes. SAFTA and Silwerskerm winner Jaco Bouwer directs, while the English/Kaaps series is co-produced by Locarno, Amiens and FESPACO winner Ramadan Suleman from Natives at Large, Spinners’ local co-production company."

Spinners' all-star cast includes Albert Pretorius, Braeden Buys, Brendon Daniels, Carel Nel, Chelsea Thomas, Clayton Evertson, Dann Jaques Mouton, Danny Ross, David Isaacs, Dillon Windvogel, Elton Landrew, Ernest St. Clair, Jihaad Otto, Katlego Lebogang, Keeno Lee Hector, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Melanie du Bois, Monique Rockman, Stephren Saayman, Waleed Osman and Zenobia Kloppers, among others.

The opening night film at MIP Africa last year, Spinners also won three awards at the inaugural Dakar Series: Best TV Series, Best Performance (Cantona James), and Best Editing for Andrea Shaw and Matthew Swanepoel. Spinners was also featured on international trade Deadline as part of their Global Breakouts strand.