Cape Town, South Africa, 22 August 2017
Body-swap dramedy HIGH FANTASY from award-winning writer/director Jenna Bass is to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) between 7 and 17 September 2017; selected in-competition as part of both the festival’s Discovery and Next Wave programmes.
Helmed by award-winning and progressive South African filmmaker Jenna Bass, the film is produced by Bass with Steven Markovitz (Big World Cinema – South Africa) and David Horler (Proper Film – South Africa); alongside co-producers Alexandra Hoesdorff and Dèsirèe Nosbusch (Deal Productions – Luxembourg), South African co-producers Simon Ratcliffe and Tamsin Ranger and executive producer Irshaad Ebrahim.
HIGH FANTASY marks the feature debut for the ensemble cast, Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Francesca Michel and Liza Scholtz; who co-wrote the partially improvised screenplay and lensed the film, shot entirely on the iPhone 7, alongside Bass with production and costume design by Chantell Lungiswa Joe, edited by Kyle Wallace and original music by Jason Sutherland.
A group of young friends on a camping trip, deep in the South African countryside wake up to discover they have all swapped bodies! Their individual cultural heritage and experience of these strange happenings could not be more different; and stranded in the wilderness, they will have to navigate a personal-political labyrinth if their friendship and their lives are ever to be the same again. The stage is set for comedy to turn to tragedy, for the fantasy of South Africa’s “Rainbow Nation” to become a painful awakening.
Bass said of the film’s selection, “It’s an honour for all of us who worked on the film and we are excited to bring the film and its conversation to international and local audiences”. Horler added, “As an experimental project with a powerful commentary on the state of the South African nation, we are humbled and encouraged that the festival recognises the film’s potential and we cannot wait to share our story with the World”.
For its producers, HIGH FANTASY is an experiment in sustainable filmmaking in South Africa. Privately financed on a micro-budget, Bass and the cast spent several weeks workshopping the film as a group, developing the narrative and crafting their characters. Once production started, they were joined by a technical crew of only six people, many of whom were performing their roles for the first time. The team relocated to an isolated farm in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa where they all lived together in the farm’s three-bedroom homestead, which created the necessary isolation, intensity and intimacy for the film’s hyper-realism. The entire process, from its first workshop to delivery of the finished film was completed in just over six months.
Following the release of HIGH FANTASY, Proper Film and Bass begin work on her next film, all-female Western adventure FLATLAND, which recently closed finance and is green-lit for production in early 2018. For more information visit www.properfilm.com/flatland
HIGH FANTASY will premiere on TIFF’s opening weekend 22h00, Friday 8 September at the Scotiabank Theatre. Additional public screenings are on Sunday 10 September at 17h00 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema and Saturday 16 September at 21h30 at the Scotiabank Theatre. For press enquiries, please contact email@example.com and for sales enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the film visit www.properfilm.com/highfantasy.
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