Menkes set for ‘Heatstroke’

Experimenter teams with Sperling, Van Sant

Award-winning experimental filmmaker Nina Menkes will team up with producers Andrea Sperling and Gus Van Sant for her next picture, “Heatstroke.”

Set in Los Angeles and Cairo, her original script centers on a long-standing rivalry between two sisters and the mysterious disappearance of one of their husbands, which serves to mend emotional bridges.

“It’s very much in the style of some of my earlier films, but the story’s more widely accessible,” Menkes said. “Gus has been a big booster of my films and said he wanted to be involved after he read the script. His participation has opened up a lot of doors in terms of financing and interest from actors. It’s also opened me up about reaching a larger audience.”

Set to begin filming in August, “Heatstroke” has been set up as a co-production between Menkes and Sperling’s companies and Paris-based Whynot Prods. The Egyptian portion of the filming is being serviced by renowned filmmaker Youssef Chanine. Tinka Menkes, the filmmaker’s real-life sister and frequent onscreen collaborator, will portray one of the leads. Menkes’ earlier work includes “Magdalena Viraga,” which received the L.A. Film Critics experimental award. Sperling will co-exec produce with Van Sant and Narween Otto serves as pic’s producer.