Details have emerged in Rotterdam of the four new films chosen in the latest round of Thuthuka, the ambitious new co-development scheme jointly funded by the National Film And Video Foundation in South Africa and the Netherlands Film Fund. Each project will now receive €40,000 toward further script development.
The South African filmmakers involved were in Rotterdam for the festival and several have spoken to Screen about their plans for their projects which will now look to complete their financing.
Leading Dutch production outfit Submarine Film (the outfit behind Emmy award-winning documentary Bellingcat – Truth In A Post-truth World) is to partner with Diprente Films from South Africa on one of the titles, new animated feature Spike, scripted by Julia Smuts Louw and Karabo Lediga.
“We have a few drafts of the script but we are still waiting to get the script into production shape,” producer Isaac Mogajane commented on the project in which Belgian animation outfit Walking The Dog is also involved. The film is a South African/Dutch/Belgian co-production and has also received Creative Europe backing. The film is expected to be delivered by 2026. It tells the story of Spike, a rhino with enormous horns who is alpha to the herd. But after being dehorned, everything he ever knew about being a man is turned on its head.
Writer-director Erica Brumage’s slavery project The Spiral House is another of the titles being fast tracked through Thuthuka. This is adapted from Claire Roberston’s debut novel. It is set in 1794 on a remote estate at the Cape of Good Hope. As a freed slave and her wigmaker employer weave a wig to hide a secret, she discovers that the Master of the house is hiding a bigger and far more sinister secret in a strange building in the forest. Dunya Khayame is co-scripting.
Casting is already underway. Attached to the project are Nicole Fortuin (whose previous credits include A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits) and Lemogang Tsipa (from Eye In The Sky and The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind). The film is produced by Katherine Leach-Lewis at Up A Gum Tree productions in South Africa and Maarten Kuit at Dutch outfit, Hazazah Pictures.
“The core of the story, The Spiral House, is a strange edifice built in a forest. The master of the house fancies himself as a scientist and is very influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment,” Brumage explained a plot that touches on eugenics, racism and gender discrimination. The aim is to shoot in the winter of 2024.
Also being supported through Thuthuka is a disturbing new documentary feature, Karatara, Place of Deep Shadows. This is produced through Muyi Film in the Netherlands and Day Zero Films in South Africa. Survivance in France is also aboard and the doc now has CNC backing.
The writer-director is Teboho Edkins. “It’s about a town with real and imagined ghosts,” Edkins, who is currently immersed in the research process, explained. The project will have some fictional elements. Karatara is a settlement for retired white forestry workers. It is now the most racially mixed town in South Africa but is far from harmonious. There have been 10 unsolved murders in recent years and the town has 15 churches, a huge number for a town with a population of only around 1000.
The fourth film backed through Thuthuka is Pamela, billed as being about a woman’s journey toward liberation. This is produced by Na Aap Productions Pty Ltd in South Africa and Revolver in the Netherlands. It is written by Henna Anyda Renfurm.
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