A boost for local films as two local film producers Joel Phiri and Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri clinch Amazon distribution deal

More than 20 local films including  Klip Anker Baai (directed by Zane Meas), Tickets (directed by Marvin-Lee Beukes), You Are My Favourite Place (directed by Jahmil Qubeka), Gereza (directed by Dick d’vLz Reubïn), and Piet’s Sake 2 (directed by Norman Maake), will benefit from this mega distribution  deal.

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

This should rate as one of the greatest news on the local film industry. Two film role players filmmaker Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri and well known financier and film producer Joel Phiri have clinched this major distribution deal with dominant global film distribution company Amazon.

Clearly with distribution having been long identified as an obstacle for local films to reach the markets, this deal between Prime Video, Amazon’s global streaming service, will smooth the way for local films to reach the market. Already a number of films have been listed to be part of this this distribution deal, some of them award winning movies which however due to the teething problem of distribution, are yet to reach their potential with regards to market access.

“Prime Video, Amazon’s global streaming service, has closed a multi-picture licensing agreement with Known Associates, the parent company of both Johannesburg-based Known Associates Entertainment (KAE), and Cape Town–based Moonlighting Films (Moonlighting),” said a statement released jointly by the partners.

Joel Phiri

The deal, which begins from 2023, grants Prime Video exclusive SVOD access to over 20 South African feature movies from local filmmakers. Some of the films included in the slate are Klip Anker Baai (directed by Zane Meas), Tickets (directed by Marvin-Lee Beukes), You Are My Favourite Place (directed by Jahmil Qubeka), Gereza (directed by Dick d’vLz Reubïn), and Piet’s Sake 2 (directed by Norman Maake). The slate also includes at least eight newly produced films in 2023.

“We’re delighted to be bringing Prime Video customers this diverse and compelling slate of South African movies from the dynamic team at Known Associates,” said Ayanna Lonian, director of Content Acquisition and head of Worldwide Major Studio Licensing Strategy, Prime Video.

 “We expect these films will delight our customers in South Africa and around the world.”

Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri

“I am very pleased to announce that we will make films this year with directors such as Ian Gabriel, Alastair Orr, Meg Rickards and John Barker. In addition, John Barker is returning with the sequel to The Umbrella Men (Umbrella Men 2). The deal also includes the option to pick up additional, to be determined titles, which gives us an opportunity to work with emerging young directors,” said Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri, KA Group Owner and CEO.

 “We are fortunate that, jointly through KAE and Moonlighting, we have the entire value chain of production development, financing, and production servicing under one roof. This enables our creative team at KAE to focus on what they do best – developing and financing films – while the manufacturing will be overseen by Moonlighting.”

The new slate of South African movies will join Prime Video’s selection of global Amazon Original series, like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Peripheral, The Boys, Reacher, The Terminal List, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as popular Amazon Original movies, like Coming 2 America and The Tomorrow War.

About Prime Video – South Africa

Prime Video offers customers a vast collection of TV shows and movies—all available to watch on practically any device:

. Included with Prime Video: Watch thousands of popular movies and TV shows, award-winning Amazon Originals and other exclusives, and more. Think global Amazon Original series such as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Boys, The Terminal List, The Wheel of Time, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Grand Tour, as well as critically acclaimed Amazon Original movies like Coming 2 America, and The Tomorrow War. All available at no additional cost as part of Prime Video, which is available in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

. Instant Access: Watch at home or on the go with your choice of hundreds of compatible devices. Stream from the web or using the Prime Video app on compatible smartphones, tablets, game consoles, or select smart TVs.

. Enhanced Experiences: Control how much data you use when streaming and downloading video by choosing between Good, Better and Best visual quality settings, all of which utilise Prime Video’s state of the art video compression technology to use less data without reducing visual quality. Save it for later with select mobile downloads for offline viewing. Make the most of every viewing with High Dynamic Range (HDR) compatible content. Go behind the scenes of your favourite movies and TV shows with exclusive X-Ray access, powered by IMDb.

About Known Associates Entertainment

Known Associates Entertainment (KAE) is a Television and Film Production company committed to making African content for global audiences. Known Associates Entertainment forms part of the Known Associates Group (KAG), founded by Entrepreneur and Producer, Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri in 2014. KAE was established in 2018 as part of KAG’s expansion strategy in a partnership between Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri and Emmy Award winning Producer/Director, as of Jan 2023, KAE it is wholly owned by Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri and renowned film financier and Executive Producer, Joel Phiri, continues his role as the company’s chairperson. Part of the Known Associates Group includes Moonlighting Films, South Africa’s leading film and television productions service company.

Feature films on the Known Associates slate include “Wild is the Wind,” a Coen Brothers-style thriller set in a small town in the Eastern Cape, directed by newcomer Fabian Medea, can be seen on Netflix; and “The Umbrella Men,” a heist comedy set in the historic Bo Kaap section of Cape Town, directed by John Barker (“Wonder Boy for President,” “Bunny Chow”) available on both EVOD and Amazon Prime, You are my Favourite Place produced by renowned filmmaker Jahmil QT Khubeka (Knuckle City / Of Good Report) complete a duo of new films which can be viewed on eTV’s EVOD and Amazon Prime streaming platforms. Four other feature films that have been greenlit for production in partnership with EVOD and

Amazon Prime namely Hunting Jessica Brok to be directed by Alastair Orr, The Umbrella Men2 (a sequel to The Umbrella Men) and Death of a Whistle Blower, to be directed by Forgiveness (2004) and Four Seasons (2013), Director Ian Gabriel and The Drop in production by Director Jonathan Parkinson.

Other productions currently in the final stages of development include Ambre an Afro-futuristic drama series co-produced with Ivory Coast public -broadcaster RTI and SABC and Victoria Island an eight-part drama series set in Lagos and written by New York Times bestselling author Taiye Selasi and those serviced by KAE Sony Pictures The Woman King starring Viola Davis and South Africa’s Thuso Mbedu and Beast starring Idris Elba.

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