Singapore-France-Germany co-production set to shoot in September.

Singapore-based Zhao Wei Films and Peanut Pictures have announced Boo Junfeng, director of the 2010 Cannes Critics Week entry Sandcastle, will start shooting his Singapore/France/Germany co-production Apprentice this September with locations in Singapore and Sydney, Australia.

Produced by Singapore’s Zhao Wei Films, Peanut Pictures and Akanga Film Asia, the project previously confirmed Germany’s augenschein Filmproduktion and France’s Cinéma Defacto as co-producers at the European Film Market (EFM).

Attached as associate producer, Rachel Higgins’ Birdcage Films will coordinate the Australian shoot.

Described as “a tense psychological drama”, Apprentice takes place in the territory’s top prison where Aiman, a newly transferred correctional officer happens to befriend Koon, who turns out to be the chief executioner there. When Koon’s assistant suddenly quits, he asks Aiman to work under him with implications that he might succeed him.

Singapore’s Eric Khoo (My Magic) is attached as executive producer with Zhao Wei Films’s Tan Fong Cheng, Akanga Film Asia’s Fran Borgia and Peanut Pictures’ Raymond Phathanavirangoon as producers.

Malaysian film and stage veteran Wan Hanafi Su (Bunohan) and Singaporean newcomer Firdaus Rahman are attached to star.

French cinematographer Benoit Soler (Ilo Ilo) and British production designer James Page (Canopy, Earth) are also attached.

“We are delighted to have the various international partners come together to support this very talented Singaporean filmmaker. Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice script is such a page turner that I can’t wait to watch it unfold on screen,” said Khoo.

Boo early on won Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) Script Development Support from the Busan International Film Festival and the Media Development Authority (MDA) Development Fund from Singapore for Apprentice.

The project has also won World Cinema Support from the CNC and financial support in Germany from television broadcaster ZDF’s Das kleine Fernsehspiel unit as well as from regional public fund Film und Medienstiftung NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia).

The co-production deals were brokered between Peanut Pictures producer Raymond Phathanavirangoon and augenschein Filmproduktion’s Maximilian Leo and Jonas Katzenstein in Germany and Cinéma Defacto’s Tom Dercourt and Sophie Erbs in France.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to find such committed, passionate and talented partners in both augenschein Filmproduktion and Cinema Defacto,” added Peanut Pictures’ Raymond Phathanavirangoon.”

“I have previously worked with Cinema Defacto’s Tom Dercourt and Sophie Erbs before and also know of their great reputation as producers. So Apprentice is an opportunity for us to collaborate once again.

“As for augenschein, we were immediately impressed by their enthusiasm on our first meeting for this project. They have been very communicative with us since the beginning, which proved invaluable

In a joint statement, Cinéma Defacto’s Tom Dercourt and Sophie Erbs said: “For us, Apprentice is not just another co-production – it is a long-term collaboration between committed producers from different parts of the world in order to serve the artistic vision of a talented upcoming director.

“Singaporean cinema has been undergoing a renewal in recent years, and Boo Junfeng is definitely someone we will count on in the near future.”

Augenschein Filmproduktion’s Maximilian Leo added: “Boo Junfeng’s clear vision for Apprentice convinced us ever since we first met at Cinemart 2012. We are very happy to work together with such renowned producers on a film with a very strong international potential.”