In an extraordinary turn of events, the Showmax Original series Spinners has clinched the award for Best Foreign TV Series at the 29th Shanghai TV Festival‘s Magnolia Awards, triumphing over the Emmy-winning final season of Succession. This marks a historic moment for South African television, as it is the first time a South African series has won this prestigious award.

“It’s the very first time a South African series makes it to Shanghai and wins it, so of course we are very proud. I hope personally it is opening a gate for production from South Africa to travel all around the globe and for new audiences to discover the quality and the specificity of South African productions.”

Co-creator and showrunner Benjamin Hoffman expressed immense pride, stating,

“Wow! Amazing news. It’s always been, ‘World, here we come, but now it’s, ‘World, here we are!’”

Lead actor Cantona James, who portrays Ethan in Spinners, echoed this sentiment with enthusiasm:

“It’s really gratifying that such a prestigious festival recognised the abundant talent of our local industry. Hopefully awards like this allow many other South African shows to take their place on a global stage!”

Matthew Jankes, the head writer on Spinners, emphasized the significance of this recognition, saying,

The series faced strong competition, including the BAFTA-nominated All Creatures Great and Small Season 4, La Storia (named 2024 Series of the Year by The Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists), and Aspergirl (winner of Best Actor for Carel Brown at last year’s Series Mania in the French competition).

Katlego Lebogang, who plays Phumeza, and Keeno Lee Hector, who plays Gary, were thrilled by the win.

“Go Spinners! Spinners to the world, country by country, continent by continent. This is absolutely incredible. Best, best, best news.”

with Lebogang stating,

“So chuffed. It’s crazy how well the show has done. We can’t wait for Season 2, so let’s make that happen! Congratulations to all of the crew, cast, everyone involved. So proud of the work we did. Yay Spinners!”

Hector added,

Braeden Buys, who plays Trevor, simply summed up his excitement with, “Crazzzzzy!!! Well done everyone.”

“Spinners is another affirmation to the quality of our Made in South Africa series, whose nomination was among the top international highly rated series.”

Ramadan Suleman from Natives at Large, co-producer of Spinners, highlighted the show’s international acclaim, noting,

The first season of Spinners also garnered rave reviews in France following its release on CANAL+. Le Figaro praised it for exploring “new fictional territories” and allowing viewers to discover “an astonishing motorsport”. Diverto described it as “absolutely captivating” and “breathtaking”, while Allociné called it “a gripping thriller… somewhere between Fast and Furious and Gomorra with a little hint of Moonlight“. Le Journal DuManche likened it to a mix of City of God, the Fast and Furious franchise, and the Gomorrah series, and Télé-Loisirs stated, “Forget Fast and Furious, the Spinners series has a lot more under the hood than the saga with Vin Diesel and it will make you buzz with pleasure!”

Spinners is the first African series ever selected for CanneSeries and follows Ethan (Cantona James), a 17-year-old driver working for a local gang. Disillusioned with gang life, Ethan discovers a possible escape through spinning, an extreme motorsport where his driving skills can be put to better use. With a gang war looming, Ethan must turn his life around swiftly.

The series is a co-production between Showmax and CANAL+, co-created by producer Joachim Landau and showrunner Benjamin Hoffman of Empreinte Digitale, with the story developed and head written by SAFTA and Silwerskerm winners Sean Steinberg and Matthew Jankes. The English/Kaaps series is co-produced by Locarno, Amiens, and FESPACO winner Ramadan Suleman from Natives at Large.

The all-star cast includes Albert Pretorius, Braeden Buys, Brendon Daniels, Carel Nel, Chelsea Thomas, Clayton Evertson, Dann Jaques Mouton, Danny Ross, David Isaacs, Dillon Windvogel, Elton Landrew, Ernest St. Clair, Jihaad Otto, Katlego Lebogang, Keeno Lee Hector, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Melanie du Bois, Monique Rockman, Stephren Saayman, Waleed Osman, and Zenobia Kloppers, among others.

Spinners previously won three awards at the inaugural Dakar Series, including Best TV Series, Best Performance (Cantona James), and Best Editing (Andrea Shaw and Matthew Swanepoel). It was also featured on Deadline as part of their Global Breakouts strand.

StudioCanal is handling international sales, with Brazilian TV giant Globo being the first to announce a deal. Directed by SAFTA and Silwerskerm winner Jaco Bouwer, Spinners continues to break new ground for South African television.

Binge-watch “Spinners” Season 1 on Showmax here.

Catch “Succession” Seasons 1-4 on Showmax here.