Berlin-based sales outfit Pluto Film Distribution has picked up rights to South African debut feature The Tree.
The film is from producers Elias Ribeiro and Cait Pansegrouw of Urucu Media, whose previous feature The Wound premiered at Sundance 2017 in the World Competition strand and also played as the opening film of Berlinale Panorama that year. The film was South Africa’s foreign language Oscar entry for 2018 and made the shortlist.
The Tree marks the debut of writer-director Louw Venter. Production is now underway in South Africa and is scheduled to wrap imminently.
Inge Beckmann, Gideon Lombard, Tarryn Wyngaard, Niza Jay and newcomer Neil Heyns star in the film, which is a Cape Town-set story featuring four interlinked narratives.
The stories follow four characters from the South African city: a fugitive addict who loses track of her child when she leaves him behind alone to turn one final trick; a frustrated cop who faces up to the demons from a traumatic childhood that threaten his quest for a meaningful life; a young nurse who clings to a disintegrating bubble of fantasy that shields her from facing life on life’s terms; and a designer in a crumbling relationship who is confronted by his fear of connection as he looks for salvation beyond his uncomfortable personal boundaries.