Netflix Original series is one of the best things about the streaming giant’s services, but it’s not available in South Africa, which has lead to many people using “alternate” means of watching them.
Luckily, Showmax has announced that it is currently filming its first original series with none other than YouTube personality, Julia Anastasopoulos aka SuzelleDIY.
In a press release sent out this morning, Showmax says that they have kicked off the first in a series of original productions with the filming of Tali’s Wedding Diary, a mockumentary featuring Julia Anastasopoulos.
Building on the phenomenal success of her SuzelleDIY character, Anastasopoulos stars as Tali, a self-obsessed Sandton princess who’s moved to Cape Town and has hired a documentary crew to film the build-up to her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren.
Since introducing SuzelleDIY to YouTube, more than 70 Suzelle videos have been created, gaining almost 22 million views. One video alone, How To Make A Cinderblock Bench, has clocked up more than 2.5 million views.
Ari Kruger, co-creator and director of Tali’s Wedding Diary, has worked extensively as a director for commercials, music videos and online content. His short films have gained significant attention online and played in film festivals around the world.
In 2014, the creative duo combined their skills and passion for comedy and developed a project outside of their commercial work. The result of this, SuzelleDIY, has now grown into a full-scale brand and business. Julia and Ari have since started a production company called Sketchbook Studios, which produces SuzelleDIY alongside an array of new characters and online content.
Speaking about the decision to work with Showmax, Anastasopoulos said:
“When Ari and I first approached Showmax we knew we had a great concept but weren’t sure if they’d bite – getting backing for a production in South Africa can be tough. To their credit Showmax instantly bought into what we’re trying to do. This is exactly the kind of support the film industry in this country needs. We’ve got world-class acting and production talent so it’s a huge boost to see a local company fund local productions.”
In addition to Tali’s Wedding Diary, work is also underway on iNumber Number, an original co-production with Mzansi Magic. iNumber Number is a crime and corruption drama series based on the award-winning 2013 movie of the same name.
Speaking about plans for original productions, Showmax Africa Head Chris Savides said:
“Supporting African productions is absolutely part of our strategy. There’s incredible talent and expertise on this continent, so why look anywhere else, especially when you’re trying to tell authentic, locally relevant stories?”
Filming for Tali’s Wedding Diary is currently underway in Cape Town. The eight-part series will premiere on Showmax in December. Each episode will be approximately 20 minutes long.