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Nicky Greenwall talks The Big Picture

Nicky Greenwall’s new show, The Big Picture,  is one that movie lovers will enjoy. Buhle Mbonambi chatted to her

It’s unbelievable that Nicky Greenwall has a new show so soon after giving birth to her second baby, a son, Riley. But for those who know her work ethic and drive, it’s not much of a surprise. The Big Picture, airing on Tuesdays on e.tv at 9.30pm, is Nicky’s latest show for the channel under Greenwall Productions. I asked her about The Big Picture, her old show, The Showbiz Report, motherhood and what her thoughts are on the local film industry. 

What is The Big Picture all about?
The Big Picture is a show about movies “of the moment”. The show features all the latest red carpet premieres of local and international releases in the week before they make their debut at South African cinemas. 
Why did you believe that South Africa needs a movie preview type show?
We want the show to put all these releases into a local context for our audiences. These days there is so much out there to choose from – people need to really be convinced that a movie is for them before they buy a ticket or hit that “download” button.
How different is it from The Showbiz Report?
I guess you could call it an update of The Showbiz Report. The major difference being this show deals only with movie releases, not entertainment news in general. 
There are similarities, especially in presenting style. When you began planning the show, was it in some way a replacement for The Showbiz Report?
I can see that audiences might see a similarity – mainly because of my voiceovers. The truth is there are hundreds of these shows out there. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. The idea is to give audiences the information they want in the most entertaining way possible – hopefully we have achieved that.
How different is The Big Picture from all the other movie preview type shows we’ve had in South Africa?
Well, hopefully we offer viewers the same tone and perspective they’ve come to expect from Greenwall Productions. We’re not about fluff – we’re about information and entertainment and we like to get to the point quickly.
If you could compare it to any international movie preview show, which one would it be?
There are literally hundreds of them out there. Ours just contextualises local releases. Like I said – we’re not trying to be “clever” or “different”. We just want to do things with class – hopefully that’s what we’ve achieved.
What is the source of your inspiration?
I’m inspired by mediocrity. When I see something that I think I could do better, it inspires me to give it a try.
How are you going to ensure that viewers stay tuned to the show?
For me these types of shows are all about pace. Each episode features up to 15 different films in a 22-minute slot. The idea is to give audiences a bird’s-eye-view of what’s on offer. It’s an education in pop culture if nothing else.
This year has been a good year for local films and next year could be even better – are you excited at the amount of content this will give The Big Picture?
For sure. It’s great to see local films competing for audiences alongside international releases. The box office never lies.
What do you think about the growth of the local film industry?
I think we’re still a service industry for the most part. We offer a great location and great crews – it’ll take a while for us to get to the level of, say, New Zealand or Australia. 

Should we expect round-table type discussions on the show, where you have the cast talking about their film?
It’s always great to have a star comment on the film they’re in. Star power is still a major deciding factor when it comes to audience’s choices. It’s something that can never be ignored. That and the closely watched “red carpet dress”.
And come local awards season – which is soon – can we expect you to have previews on the nominated films and actors?
Yes, we have two full shows dedicated to awards season at the start of next year. These will premiere on January 7 and 14. Here audiences will be able to get a closer look at the nominated films and meet the actors and actresses who star in them.
What do you think needs to happen for the local film industry to be taken seriously?
I think we need to be prolific to become competitive. We need to make more movies, more often, to really ascertain what works and what doesn’t. There’s often a lot of talk and not enough action.
What are your thoughts on the film industry right now – are our films being made for the South African audience or the international audience in mind?
It’s always a challenge to find audiences for films. Visit any international film festival and you’ll see it’s not just South Africa that struggles with this. Honestly, I don’t think we have developed a real “South African voice” yet. At the moment it’s every film maker for himself. If you can do well locally and make back the budget of your film, well done. If you can do that and find an audience overseas – then you’ve really done something special. If you do it the other way around, like the Gavin Hoods or Neill Blomkamps of this world, then you’ve really made a career for yourself.
Which local film did you enjoy watching this year and which one are you looking forward to?
To be honest, nothing stands out for me. I’m looking forward to Louw Venter’s Konfetti releasing in April. I saw the one-man show it’s based on a few years ago. Hopefully it captures the same spirit. 
How’s the little one, Riley? Are he and Georgina getting along well?
Yes. They had an instant connection. I’m relieved and worried at the same time. I hope they don’t gang up on me. (Laughs)
Any other major changes in your life – after having a new baby, a new show?
Yes,  we have new studios too. We opened our new Greenwall Productions offices in Woodstock in Cape Town earlier this year. It’s a really creative space and we’re very happy there.
What’s next for Nicky Greenwall?
For now, we’re just trying to cope with our current projects. We have three due to air next year (The Close Up, Screentime With Nicky Greenwall and The Big Picture) so that’s keeping us pretty busy.
Why should we make sure that on Tuesdays at 9.30pm we are on our couches, ready for the next episode of The Big Picture? 
If you love movies and you’re struggling to get a handle on what opens when, what’s still showing and what might offer the escape you’re looking for – watch The Big Picture.

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