SOUTH-AFRICAN DIRECTOR SIBS SHONGWE-LA MER WINS ARTE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE AT CANNES FESTIVAL
As part of the Cinéfondation Workshop, of 2018 Cannes Festival, the €6,000 ARTE International Prize was awarded on Wednesday 16 May to the feature film project The Color of the Skull by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer co-produced by Farès Ladjimi (Mille et Une Productions, France), Jean-Raymond Garcia (Uniproduction, France), Gijs Kerbosch (Halal, Netherlands) and Chuanne Blofield (Whitman Pictures, South Africa).
The diversity of artistic perspectives, the search for daring and inventive filmmakers, the openness to young talent, are at the heart of ARTE‘s editorial identity, as shown by their many films presented at Cannes Festival in 2018.
To support emerging directors, ARTE has set up a dozen awards, grants designed to encourage young directors and producers in the development phase of their films. This allows ARTE to spot them at prestigious international events and to situate ourselves at the very beginning of the creative process. This desire to accompany new generations of filmmakers is also at the heart of Cinéfondation’s missions.
This year ARTE has decided to award the ARTE International Prize to a project in post-apartheid South Africa on the eve of Nelson Mandela’s death. The country is plunged into the visceral fear of a devastating war. Located under the great Drakensberg mountain range, the Puritan Afrikaner community is determined to defend its land and culture against the nearby traditional Zulu colony. In this climate of racial hatred, white supremacist militias multiply training camps where teenagers are recruited. Among them, Pieter, a 13-year-old boy. Meanwhile, Thato, a 23-year-old black man flees Johannesburg and his troubled past to join the Zulu colony. He will in turn be caught in a whirlwind of violence. Faced with paranoia and carnage, Pieter and Thao carry for each side the deep wounds of the country.
The ARTE International Prize was awarded to Sibs Shongwe-La Mer’s The Color of the Skull, a young South African director whose second feature film will be made. Shooting is scheduled to begin in June 2019.