South African upcoming series Spinners is the third co-production between African streaming service Showmax and CANAL+, and is also the first African series ever selected in competition at Canneseries.
Spinners follows Ethan, a 17-year-old driver working for a local gang. Needing to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted with gang life, Ethan discovers a possible way out via spinning, an extreme motorsport where he can put his driving skills to better use. With a gang war looming, can he turn his life around fast enough?
The African film industry is revving up to watch the first episode of Spinners on Monday, 4 September 2023, the opening night of MIP Africa, part of FAME Week Africa. The eight-part drama series will then premiere across Sub-Saharan Africa on Showmax on 8 November 2023, with new episodes on Wednesdays for the rest of the year, and on CANAL+ in Africa on 13 November 2023. STUDIOCANAL is handling international sales.
Spinners’ cast includes Arendsvlei’s Cantona James and Chelsea Thomas in leading roles, along with Dillon Windvogel (Blood & Water) and Elton Landrew (Recipes for Love & Murder). The trailer also gives us first glimpses of South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winners Brendon Daniels (Zulu, Skemerdans, Five Fingers for Marseille) and Dann Jaques Mouton (Arendsvlei, Noem My Skollie), not to mention SAFTA nominee David Isaacs (co-creator of Joe Barber) and rising star Katlego Lebogang (Wounds) as the cops closing in.
Spinners is helmed by Jaco Bouwer, director of the 2022 SAFTA Best TV Drama winner 4 Mure and the 2021 SXSW Cinematography winner Gaia, the most nominated film at the upcoming 2023 SAFTAs.
In May 2023, Cantona won Best Performance at the inaugural Dakar Series, where Spinners also took home Best TV Series and Best Editing for 2023 SAFTA nominee Andrea Shaw (Recipes for Love and Murder) and SAFTA winner Matthew Swanepoel (iEmmy nominee Reyka, Oscar-shortlisted Inxeba | The Wound).
If you’ve never left your jaw on the floor watching spinning, Cantona explains what you’ve been missing. “Spinning is making art with your car,” he says. “Going in a donut, making an eight, people hanging outside a car while it’s spinning, standing on top of a car… it’s just thrilling.”
For Chelsea, spinning was a central part of her childhood. “Spinning has always been a big part of culture in Cape Town, in the Cape Flats,” says Chelsea, who plays Amber, the spinner who first inspires Ethan. “I grew up in Kraaifontein, and for all my childhood I would go to the pitch on a Sunday. That would be where all the cars gathered to spin. And I’ve only ever seen men spin. So when I started the job on Spinners, then only I learned that females are actually dominating the sport now. Spinners shows a different side to it: it shows the passion, the drive, the adrenaline. So I’m excited for the rest of the world to see what our people are all about.”
Spinners is co-created by producer Joachim Landau and showrunner Benjamin Hoffman of Empreinte Digitale. The 16LVPD-rated English/Kaaps/Afrikaans series is co-produced by Locarno, Amiens and FESPACO winner Ramadan Suleman (Zulu Love Letter, Fools) from Natives at Large, Spinners’ local co-production company.