Cape Town, South Africa, 25 May 2017
Proper Film has green-lit for production all-female Western adventure FLATLAND penned and to be directed by Jenna Bass; following completion of its multi-year development cycle and closing of finance for the film.
Casting, location scouting, rehearsals, production design and crew recruitment are complete as the team readies for principal photography in early 2018 in the city of Cape Town and surrounding towns in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
FLATLAND is being produced by Proper Film’s David Horler, alongside co-producers Roshanak Behesht Nedjad (In Good Company – Germany), Alexandra Hoesdorff and Dèsirèe Nosbusch (Deal Productions – Luxembourg), Titus Kreyenberg (Una Film – Germany), German/French broadcaster ZDF/Arte and associate producer Anna Telford (Butterfly Films – South Africa); and is represented for World sales by leading agency The Match Factory.
FLATLAND is supported by the South African Department of Arts and Culture’s National Film & Video Foundation, ZDF’s Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, Film Fund Luxembourg, Berlinale World Cinema Fund, Hubert Bals Fund, the Public Media Alliance’s Worldview Broadcast Media Scheme and the South African Department of Trade Industry’s Film Production Incentive.
Director of Photography Sarah Cunningham is attached to lens the film; with production design by Sara Hartinger, costume design by Ayesha Khatieb and to be edited by Jacques de Villiers. Proper Film is also proud to report that over 70% of the key creative team, cast, crew and third-party technicians are female; out of respect to the subject matter of the film and the need for balanced gender representation in the film-industry.
Three different but equally desperate South African women embark on a journey of self-discovery in the Karoo semi-desert. The barren heartland will bring out the best and worst in them. But will their search throw them together or tear them apart?
FLATLAND was one of Bass’s first-ever fiction-feature concepts developed after completing her BA in film from AFDA in Cape Town. What started out as a calling to create a story set in the other-worldly frontier-land of the Karoo semi-desert, paying homage to some of the great spaghetti westerns of old, like many projects, has undergone fundamental change and growth to find what lies beneath the concept that compelled Bass to write this story in the first place. Today, this journey of self-discovery, for three completely different but equally desperate South African women paints a vivid and unique portrait of femininity against a hostile frontier-land and questions what it means to be a woman in South African today and the world at large.
FLATLAND was first introduced to the market at the 2012 Durban FilmMart; the project-market arm of the Durban International Film Festival, Africa’s longest running festival. Successful pitching of the project (at treatment stage at the time) by Bass alongside producer David Horler, culminated in securing three of the five development awards on offer during the market, which helped kick-start active development of the project.
In late 2012, development funding support for the project was secured from the National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa alongside a grant from the Worldview Broadcast Media Scheme.
Horler later went on to participate at various workshops and networking forums with the project throughout 2013, including film festivals and networking initiatives such as the Rotterdam Producers Lab, Paris Projects and the sought-after EAVE European Producers Workshop; where FLATLAND and Horler were its first-ever South African participants in its 25+ year history.
In 2014, following a successful market-promotion of the project at the Cannes Film Festival, Horler concluded a co-production deal with multi-award-winning Iranian/German producer Roshanak Behesht Nedjad. Later that year, the project was the recipient of a commitment to financing from Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund; and secured intent for world-sales from highly-respected sales agency The Match Factory.
Between 2012 and 2015 while finance was being raised, the team also benefitted from several research and scouting trips to the Karoo semi-desert, the principal shooting location for the film, which resulted in multiple script revisions and a deeper, more authentic and nuanced understanding of the narrative universe in which the film is set.
2016 saw additional production support from the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa and the commencement of final casting and location scouting. In early 2017, intent was secured from the ZDF Das Kleine Fernsehspiel Co-production and Licensing scheme and a World sales agreement was concluded with The Match Factory. 2017 also saw the attachment of the key crew and full cast for the film as well as further support from the Hubert Bals Fund and Film Fund Luxembourg and the attachment of Una Film and Deal Productions as co-producers.
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