Local film Santana soars on Netflix worldwide charts

9 September 2020

SANTANA – the latest thrilling blockbuster topping Netflix charts across the world – has Cape Town as its backdrop.

Having premiered late last month, the locally-produced film became the most-watched movie on Netflix worldwide for five straight days.

Film Cape Town caught up with producer Chris Roland about the project’s success and working in the Mother City.

Unexpected success

Also speaking on behalf of co-director and co-writer Maradona Dias Dos Santos, Roland said they were amazed by the success.

“We never really expected to become the top movie on Netflix,” he said.

Santana has topped Netflix charts in 33 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil and France.

When asked what had drawn spectators to Santana, Roland said high-energy action film has a few unique and exciting elements.

“It was probably the fact that audiences are curious to know what’s coming out in terms of truly African action movies – and the African ‘blackmagic’ elements incorporated in the film also resonated with the culture of the continent.”

Without giving much away, the Cape Town-based director said the movie’s high-energy chase scenes have captivated audiences while the interplay between brothers Dias and Matias as they hunt down one of Africa’s biggest drug lords, also makes for memorable watching.

Screengrab from Santana, a Netflix original shot in Cape Town, South Africa and Angola
Screengrab from Santana, a Netflix original shot in Cape Town, South Africa and Angola

Cape Town behind the production

Santana was shot against some incredible scenery and backdrops across the Mother City. Production moved from Constantia and Woodstock to Paarden Eiland and Gugulethu and even up the West Coast.

Roland said the City of Cape Town’s Film Office was great help in terms of making production and business easy.

He went on to highlight the sophisticated the local infrastructure – which he had a lot of first-hand experience with.

Production spent 27 days in the Mother City before finishing with a further 3 days filming in Angola.

With the city being known for its diverse mix of culture, the film boasted a 100% local crew for the Cape Town leg while the cast was a mix of both South African and Angolan talent.

Roland was full of praise for everyone involved in the production.

“Everyone was super professional and always knew exactly what to do,” he said, going on to call out how the crew was always two steps ahead and took a truly pro-active approach.

Film industry ready for work

With the current global pandemic affecting production worldwide, Roland says the local industry remains committed to working back to full production.

But while international travel remains a challenge, local-market support and innovation is key, he added.

Roland took this to heart, continuing to write and polish several screenplays and TV series during the local COVID-19 lockdown.

Two of these projects are with Netflix and we’re sure the industry is relishing the chance to create another blockbuster.