Los Angeles-based Hoplite Entertainment has opened an office in Johannesburg, the commercial hub of southern Africa and home of a new generation of film and TV making talent in the region.

And Hoplite is wasting no time in harnessing this talent, having already signed a co-production and talent deal with actress, presenter and producer Khanyi Mbau.

The Emmy award-winning company is the producer of diverse TV, film, over-the-top and live content, including over 200 hours of original unscripted/factual content, along with successful formats currently moving through Asia.

Hoplite has entered South Africa through a partnership with Joburg-based, majority black-owned AAA Entertainment. The co-founders of AAA Entertainment and now shareholding partners at Hoplite Entertainment, Mayenzeke Baza and Pascal Schmitz, have 23 years of producing experience in the region and were looking for an opportunity to move into the global unscripted television space.

Hoplite CEO Jon Smith said in a statement that the Johannesburg branch would enable Hoplite to continue "not only to grow, but to find stories focusing on unique characters globally".

The company will be bringing between two and four shows a year into the region, shooting both localized as well as global versions of each show, with its first series due to come into South Africa in the first quarter of 2017.

Acting CCO Jonathan Perkins commented: "A partnership in South Africa allows us to bring more great stories to life, as well as significantly reduce the input cost of some of these shows through South Africa's favourable exchange rate."

For Baza and Schmitz, the partnership's combined investment strength and expertise, both locally and abroad, "will allow us to stimulate the local television industry while creating new, exciting content from Africa designed for the global marketplace".

Hoplite's South African branch has signed a co-production and talent deal with actress, presenter and producer Khanyi Mbau, which will see several localized shows being packaged around her highly successful brand.

According to Hoplite South Africa, plans are in place to produce the first Hoplite TV series on the continent in the upcoming months, with Mbau taking to the red carpet at major events like the Oscars to interview celebrities for the show.

"As a South African, it's always been my dream to bridge the gap between Africa and the world and become a global citizen," Mbau said in the statement. "My goal has always been to become the portal to the world for South Africa. Hoplite Entertainment have made my dream come true by making this possible."

Source: staff reporter

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