– a first for Africa.
Acclaimed local film and television director Thabang Moleya (Happiness is a Four Letter Word), actor Stevel Marc (The Mauritanian) and a host of South African actors are set to become household names in American primetime TV as PROFESSIONALS, an official South African/ Irish Co-production, created by Michael Colleary (Face-Off, Tomb-Raider) and Jeff Most (The Crow) and led by Tom Welling (Smallville) and Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), has recently been acquired by The CW (a Warner Brothers/CBS Viacom television network),which first launched “Smallville” and has other hit shows like “The Flash”, “Dynasty” and “The Outpost”.
This comes after acquisitions by Disney Asia Pacific, as well as presales to Germany’s RTL2 and TNT, Scandinavia’s leading Streamer, Viaplay and to eTV in South Africa.
PROFESSIONALS, a ten-part, one-hour blue skies action series, boasts an impressively diverse presence both on camera and behind the scenes, with Spier Films as the South African partner company. Michael Auret is the South African executive producer while Dr Lwazi Manzi, (currently AU Secretariat on Africa’s COVID-19 Response) co-produced the show and wil be the first African woman to have produced a prime time US Network TV show.
Moleya joined the directors team and took on three episodes of the 10 part series while Marc joined the leading cast as a sharp thinking military expert “Trig.” Acclaimed South African director, Oliver Schmidtz (Mapantsula) also directed and Rohan Dickson (Reyka) wrote 4 episodes.
Professionals not only achieved a healthy diversity balance of cast and crew but achieved a 35% spend on black owned businesses- far exceeding the 20% required by the DTI Incentive Scheme. 80% of principal photography occurred on South African soil in 2019, using the country’s breathtaking locations to depict scenes around the world.
Says Michael Auret of Spier Films, “We have made history by co-producing, co-financing and cocreating a major television series for primetime networks in territories around the world. This would not have been possible without the commitment of the Industrial Development Corporation and all of the partners who have ensured that Professionals ends up on the silver screen, showcasing South African talent both in front of and behind the cameras. We are especially grateful to the dealmakers at the IDC, who are fellow executive producers, and who supported us throughout. As a company we have always set out to make content here at home for the international stage, so we are very proud of the acquisitions and how they will position the country as a premier production destination.”
Says Dr Manzi, “We have made history with this production. I am particularly proud that the series is partly owned by us. We set out to not only produce content but also own the intellectual property as South Africans. I was most gratified to have led a mostly female South African production team and to see our stars shine on the international stage. A special thanks and congratulations goes out to the cast and crew who made magic happen.”