Golden Bearwinner Mark Dornford-May (U-Carmen eKhayelitsha) and Oscar-nominated director StephenDaldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot) are to partner on a series of three new films in South Africa.
The firstfeature, already in post-production, is tentatively titled Son of Man (aka Jezile). This is an extension of award winningglobal theatre success Yiimimangaliso - The Mysteries, in which Dornford-Yates reworks TheMedieval Mystery plays. SonOf Man comes billed as"a gripping journey of love, betrayal and deception in a conflictedsociety." Daldry co-directed parts of the film.
"We willcarry on working literally together as directors. One of the films I maydirect, one Stephen may direct. One I may produce, one Stephen mayproduce," Dornford-May told ScreenDaily.com. Their plan, he elaborated, is to takethe collective ideals of fringe theatre and to apply them to cinema. Like Carmen, the new features will all be set in thetownship of Khayeltisha on the outskirts of Cape Town and will be performed inXhosa.
To make thethree films, UK based production company Film and Music Entertainment(F&ME), founded by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor in 2000, is joining forceswith Dimpho Di Kophane (DDK), the South African theatre outfit behind U-CarmeneKhayelitsha. F&MEwill partner with DDK and their film production banner Spier Films on theprojects. Daldry has close ties with F&ME and is currently chairman of thecompany's advisory board.
The secondproject will be announced at the end of November but will be another adaptationof a major European piece of music theatre given the DDK treatment under themusical directorship of Charles Hazlewood. Shooting is planned for March 2006.
"SouthAfrica is a new emerging force in world cinema, and we are delighted to be ableto make a contribution, not only to this phenomenon, but to provide DDK with astrong international production base," said F&ME's Mike Downey in astatement.
U-CarmeneKhayelitsha, whichscreened to some acclaim at the London Film Festival this weekend, is beingreleased in the UK early next year by Tartan.