×

South African Thriller ‘Five Fingers’ Launches Production With All-Star Cast

Production is set to begin on “Five Fingers for Marseilles,” a South African thriller set in the rugged badlands of the Eastern Cape. After seven years and 5,000 miles of research and development across the countryside, writer Sean Drummond and helmer Michael Matthews have attracted an all-star cast of local talent for their Western-inspired tale of an outlaw who returns home after years on the run, and finding a chance at redemption.

By putting a contemporary spin on Western themes, Drummond says, “The time is more right than ever before for this film.

“Socially and politically, a lot of the themes we explore are resonating now,” he says, noting that “the good Westerns always had socio-political undercurrents running through them.”

Thesp Vuyo Dabula heads an ensemble cast that includes Thishiwe Ziqubu, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Lizwi Vilakazi, Kenneth Fok, Anthony Oseyemi, Dean Fourie, and Jerry Mofokeng.  Cast by acclaimed casting director Moonyeenn Lee, pic will also use members of the local Eastern Cape communities for supporting roles.

The film was awarded Best South African Film in Development at the Durban FilmMart’s finance forum in 2013. Produced by Drummond and Matthews’ Be Phat Motel Film Company and Yaron Schwartzman and Asger Hussain of Game 7 Films (Academy Award-winner “Precious”), in association with Stage 5 Films (DIFF 2016 opener “The Journeymen”) and Above the Clouds, it was also made possible with the support of South Africa’s National Film & Video Foundation and the Dept. of Trade and Industry, with additional services from Dupa Films.

“Five Fingers” is slated for an early 2017 release in South Africa. Indigenous Film Distribution will release in South Africa, and XYZ Films represents North American sales.

Game 7’s Schwartzman says, “‘Five Fingers’ is a testament to the power, freshness and ingenuity of new narratives coming from across the world. Stories that need to be told and whose time has most definitely come. We’re proud to be associated with it.”

According to Drummond, the collaboration with foreign partners has been integral to the production from the early stages. “We’re carving a new model here in many senses: a fully local film in local language, with fully local cast, financed through a combination of S.A. and international funding, for a world audience,” he says.

“We’ve been conscious from the start of developing this film for an international audience as much as a South African one, and we were lucky to meet Game 7 Films early in development,” he adds. “The advice, experience and expertise of XYZ Films, too, when it comes to taking international genre films to the U.S. market, has been invaluable.”

Drummond notes that as the South African industry has grown bolder, audience tastes have evolved, allowing filmmakers to take more risks. Despite tough times for the local economy, he says, “it’s exciting to be making films here now. The S.A. new wave we’ve all talked up for years is really in its stride, and we’re honored to be part of it at this time.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aqute Media Takes North America on

    Aqute Media Takes North America on Helen Reddy Biopic 'I Am Woman'

    London-based sales agent WestEnd Films has closed a North American deal with Jeff Sackman and Berry Meyerowitz’s company Aqute Media for “I Am Woman,” the biopic about Australian singer Helen Reddy. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival as the opening film of the Special Presentations section. The film also recently [...]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sheffield Doc/Fest Rejigs With Fall Programming, Virtual Forums in Lieu of Festival

    The Sheffield Doc/Fest pitching forums, MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market are to take place virtually in June, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The rest of the June festival is being replaced by a series of programs that will take place on weekends through the fall. The planned programming will include film screenings, talks, panels, [...]

  • Southland Tales

    Streamer Mubi Partners With Prada Foundation on 'Perfect Failures' Film Series

    Specialist streaming service Mubi has teamed up with fashion label Prada’s Fondazione Prada foundation on “Perfect Failures,” a curated selection of movies deemed to have been “widely misunderstood” upon their release. The joint project will launch on both the Mubi platform and the Fondazione Prada’s website on April 5 with U.S. director Richard Kelly’s 2006 flop [...]

  • Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in

    'Morbius,' 'Ghostbusters' Sequel and More Sony Movies Pushed Back to 2021

    Sony Pictures has pushed back many of its major tentpoles — including “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Uncharted” and “Peter Rabbit 2” — to next year, the studio announced on Monday. Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” has moved from July 10, 2020, to March 5, 2021; Jared Leto’s “Morbius” has been pushed back from July 31, 2020, to [...]

  • Anne Hathaway to Star in 'French

    Film News Roundup: Anne Hathaway Stars in 'French Children Don't Throw Food'

    In today’s film news roundup, Anne Hathaway will portray an American journalist in Paris, blockbuster director Michael Bay signs with Sony Pictures, and “Extra Ordinary” and “The Etruscan Smile” are added to arthouse streaming services. CASTING Anne Hathaway is starring in the movie “French Children Don’t Throw Food,” based on Pamela Druckerman’s autobiographical book, “Bringing [...]

  • Empty movie theater

    Cinemark Cuts Employee Wages Temporarily After Coronavirus Closes Theaters

    Cinemark is temporarily reducing wages for all U.S. employees while its theaters remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With these measures, workers salaries will be cut by around 50%. All employees are working reduced hours and will still maintain full benefits. Cinemark’s CEO Mark Zoradi and the board of directors are voluntarily forgoing their [...]

  • Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Layoffs Hit Feature Film Marketing and Distribution Department

    Lionsgate has laid off nearly 20 employees, primarily in its feature film marketing and distribution department, sources tell Variety. The cuts had been in the works for months as part of a restructuring and were not influenced by the coronavirus outbreak, Lionsgate said. No other layoffs are currently planned, and most, but not all, were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content