“The Wound”

An International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) selection, currently in production is “The Wound” from South African filmmaker John Trengove.

The project has also now been selected for the Venice Film Festival’s 2016 film market, newly renamed the Venice Production Bridge, which runs from Sept 1 – 5.

The Production Bridge, a 2-day financing event (September 2-3, 2016) will host 40 selected European and International projects looking to close their international financing.

The market’s Final Cut strand will award prizes to selected in-the-works projects from continental Africa, as well as from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, while the inaugural Book Adaptation Rights Area will see publishers pitch books for film or TV adaptation.

Selected for the Final Cut section, “The Wound” – a South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, France co-production – tells the story of Kwanda – a precocious gay teen – who travels from the city to the rural settlement of his family’s origin to be circumcised in a traditional rites-of-passage into manhood. For three weeks, Kwanda and his fellow initiates live in isolation, recuperating in mountain huts. He forms an intimate bond with his caregiver – Xolani – a mysterious man who helps him endure his first week on the mountain. Kwanda’s curiosity is piqued when he begins to suspect that Xolani is involved in a closeted sexual relationship with Vija, a charismatic and volatile alpha male from the village. Kwanda is drawn to Vija and seeks out his approval as a father figure, sparking a jealousy between the two men. When it is discovered that Kwanda has witnessed a sexual encounter between them, Vija fears exposure and goes on the hunt for the city boy.

According to the filmmaker, when he started writing “The Wound,” he was frustrated with very narrow depictions of African masculinity in cinema and wanted to push back against some of the homophobic attitudes held by many across the continent.

“The Wound”

Producers of the film – Urucu Media, an independent production company nurturing new voices in South African film – add: “We are making a controversial and political film. Finding support in South Africa has proven to be difficult in the 2 years of development. Our national funder has a mandate to support films with purely a commercial neck. We are depicting a taboo story world… We are not willing to compromise on the integrity of the work; therefore we turned to the international community in order to finance a film that shines light on a serious issue in our contemporary society.”

And being selected for the Venice Production Bridge should assist in that regard. The initiative’s purpose is to provide concrete assistance in the completion of films from across Africa and the Middle East, and to offer producers and directors an opportunity to present films still in the production phase to international film professionals and distributors in order to facilitate post-production and promote co-production partnerships and market access.

The film stars Nakhane Toure and Bongile Mantsai.

Trengove directs from a script he co-wrote with Thando Mgqolozana and Malusi Bengu.

Elias Ribeiro and Batana Vundla are producers.

A very early teaser for the film is embedded below: