LA-based The Little Film Company has boarded worldwide rights to the South African kids film Spud and will commence pre-sales at the EFM.

John Cleese has joined South African-born youngster Troye Sivan (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) in the coming-of-age tale set in a boys’ boarding school populated by eccentric personalities.

Sivan plays the eponymous character in what the producers have billed as South Africa’s Harry Potter. Cleese will play Spud’s English teacher.

Director Donovan Marsh is set to begin principal photography in March on the Rogue Star Films project, based on John van de Ruit’s all-time South African bestseller.

Rogue Star Films’ Ross Garland, whose credits include the 2005 Golden Bear winner U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha, is producing with Brad Logan of BLM Productions.

Robbie Little’s The Little Film Company has also lined up market premiere screenings for two dramas – Marc Evans’ Patagonia and Conor McDermottroe’s Swansong.

The slate includes Jann Turner’s road movie and South African foreign language Oscar submission White Wedding, which also screens in Berlin and features the acting debut of Jodie Whittaker.