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Netflix Orders South African Teen Series ‘Blood & Water’

Christopher Vourlias

Netflix is continuing its push into African originals with its latest order, the South African teen series “Blood & Water.”

The series, which is directed by Nosipho Dumisa, the helmer behind the buzzy SXSW title “Number 37,” follows a local teen who discovers her family’s secret past while navigating the complicated world of a South African high school.

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The news comes two months after Netflix announced its first African original, “Queen Sono,” starring veteran South African thesp Pearl Thusi (“Quantico”) as a secret agent fighting crime while dealing with her messy personal life. Last week the streamer also announced its acquisition of South African drama “Shadow,” about an ex-cop with superpowers, which will be released globally as a Netflix Original March 8.

“Blood & Water” features an up-and-coming local cast and will be produced by the Gambit Films team behind “Number 37.” Daryne Joshua and Travis Taute will be writing and co-directing with Dumisa, with Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer on board as producers and Simon Beesley as lead editor.

The series is set to start production later this year and is expected to launch globally in 190 countries in 2020.

“Gambit Films and I are so excited to be working with Netflix on this explosive young-adult drama, with not only a cool look at strong female leads but also a powerful mystery at its core,” said Dumisa. “As a director who loves genre, this series combines the best of so many and isn’t shy to delve into the real issues of youth culture, whilst jam-packing it with twists that will keep viewers guessing.”

“We are delighted to be investing further in African content and to partner with Nosipho and the team at Gambit Films to bring our second original series from South Africa to Netflix. Great stories are universal, so we expect this gripping teen drama, with its view on contemporary high-school life, to appeal to young adults from South Africa, as well as the rest of the world,” added Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix’s vice president of international originals for Europe, Turkey and Africa.

She continued: “Following on the heels of ‘Queen Sono,’ ‘Blood & Water’ is the next step in our further investment in original African content, and we’re excited to explore more projects across the region.”

As well as co-producing these two series, the streamer has also acquired South African series “Shadow,” a superhero drama about an ex-cop who can’t feel pain. This is another vote of confidence in local talent, according to Motion Story’s Gareth Crocker, the show’s producer.

“It’s a major endorsement of our studio. We hope this will help to open international doors, not just for Motion Story, but for other emerging film studios in Africa,” Crocker said.

He described “Shadow” as “a fast-paced emotional thrill-ride, which, thanks to its exotic locations and international storylines, will appeal not only to African viewers but viewers all over the world.”

Netflix will release “Shadow” worldwide on March 8.

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