The new Showmax series “Spinners” is making its debut on November 8 and is set to have motorsport enthusiasts glued to their screens.
The series, which was made in Lavender Hill in Cape Town, shines a light on the spinning culture of the Cape Flats.
Spinning has often received a bad rap, but the spinning co-ordinator of the series “Spinners”, Yaseen Damon, says there is more to the motorsport than meets the eye.
“Spinners” follows the life of Ethan, 17, a young driving enthusiast who grows up in a gang-riddled and crime-stricken community on the Cape Flats.
Cantona James, who plays the role of Ethan, says the spinning aspect of the film was an adventure.
Damon said: “Back in the day, spinning was seen as a hooliganism sport. Spinning has evolved a lot since back in the day. It was never recognised as a legal sport and today its growing rapidly as a motorsport in South Africa.”
Damon was originally roped in to provide cars for the film and then later, producers asked him and his spinner friends to do the spinning themselves.
In the award-winning series, Ethan is used as a driver for a local gang.
But his passion for driving leads to him meeting a group of friends who are avid spinning enthusiasts, and also his love interest, Amber, played by Chelsea Thomas.
A co-production between Showmax and CANAL+, Spinners became the first African series selected in competition at Canneseries; won three awards at Dakar Series, including best TV series; and received standing ovations in Paris and at its sold-out South African premiere at Silwerskerm.
The film was praised by members of the local entertainment and motorsport industry, including Cape Town DJ Ready D who makes a cameo appearance and was responsible for the musical score.
“I was approached by Ben Hoffman and his team. Ben spent time in South Africa, doing research for this film so he was aware of who the people were in the culture and he approached me to get on board from a musical side of things and then asked me to supervise the music.
“We submitted music for the different scenes within the series and reached out to various artists we felt who would do the scenes justice.
“There is a big amount of hip hop artists from the Cape Flats as that is the narrative that the story is about. Their music represents what happens in the communities.”
DJ Ready D, who has a huge influence on the Cape Town spinning industry, says he is happy to be part of a series that challenges the stereotypical views of communities on the Cape Flats.
DJ Ready D says South African spinning culture began in Johannesburg and spilled over to Cape Town.
“It’s extremely powerful to master the art of spinning. It doesn’t sit well with a lot of people and it can be dangerous if is not properly secured.
“Back in the day in Johannesburg, when a gang member passed away, guys from Soweto and other areas up north in Joburg would spin their cars at these gangster’s funerals and that’s how it became popular.
“Others then took it to the next level where drivers would incorporate stunts, the driver would jump out of the car as it was spinning in circles, jump on the roof, jump on the bonnet, go through the window and do all these crazy stunts,” he said.
“All of those elements combined created a lot of hype and media exposure for the spinning culture in South Africa.”