Tilda Swinton c Brigitte Lacombe

Source: Brigitte Lacombe

Tilda Swinton

Berlin-based director Cynthia Beatt’s long-gestated hybrid project Heart Of Light with Tilda Swinton, exploring questions of identity and belonging against the backdrop of the South Pacific island of Fiji, is gearing up to shoot next year. 

“We’ve got some 65% of the finance together,” said producer Christoph Hahnheiser of Berlin-based Black Forest Film, who is co-producing alongside Vincent Wang at Paris-based House on Fire.

The pair who united on the project at Cannes last year have secured the backing of German broadcaster ZDF as well as funding from the Franco-German production fund.

“I first got involved two years ago,” said Hahnheiser. “I was intrigued by this unusual and very unique mix of documentary and fiction.”

Swinton is set to co-star in part-fiction, part-documentary project alongside Peter Knaack, Katharina Lopez and Simon Fisher Turner as four unconnected characters spending time on Fiji, who interact with real-life inhabitants.  

“Tilda will spend four weeks of the island for the project. The shoot date will depend on her availability. We also need to avoid the hurricane season too so nothing before May, June,” added Hahnheiser.

Beatt and Swinton, who have been friends and artistic collaborators since working together on the former’s 1991 debut feature The Party – Nature Morte, have been gestating the project for close to a decade.

Hahnheiser suggested that Berlin-based Beatt, who was born in Jamaica to British parents, and Swinton’s peripatetic lives lay at the heart of the feature’s premise. “At its heart are people who live in different places from where they grew up, belonging to nowhere and everywhere. It’s an increasingly universal theme.”

Heart Of Light is one of 14 projects due to be presented at the upcoming edition of FidLab taking place July 11-12, during the FIDMarseille film festival.

Other projects in the selection, which was unveiled in Cannes on Saturday, include Palestinian director Kamal Aljafari’s Memories Of A Fig Tree and Phillip Warnell’s hybrid work The Open, revolving around the subject of ancient languages on the verge of extinction.