Set to go into production, after a lengthy period in research and development, is the South African thriller, “Five Fingers for Marseilles,” from director Michael Matthews, screenwriter Sean Drummond (both of them also produce).

Set over a 20-year period, the film’s synopsis reads: The community of Railway, attached to the remote South African town of Marseilles, are the victims of brutal police oppression and only the young “Five Fingers” will stand up to them. Their battle is heartfelt but innocent, until hot-headed Tau kills three policemen in an act of passion. He flees Marseilles, fearing for his life, but his action has triggered what will become a violent war between the police and his remaining Five Finger brothers. Twenty years later, Tau is released from a Johannesburg prison. He has become a feared and brutal gang leader, but scarred and empty inside he renounces violence and returns to the community of his childhood desiring only a peaceful life. In a new South Africa, Marseilles is indeed free, but to his dismay Tau finds that rather than the haven he hoped for, the town is a community now caught in the grip of cross-border gangs and corruption. Struggling to reconcile with his bitter past, he can keep his head down only so long. When violence spills into his own life he is reluctantly compelled to act. Railway and Marseilles need a champion to fight for their freedom once and for all. Calling in old prison-mates and with new blood at his side, Tau forms a new Five Fingers, standing against old friends and new enemies alike in a thrilling escalation of battle.

Asger Hussain and Yaron Schwartzman are also producers on the project.

The filmmakers say that they are influenced by American westerns, from classic John Ford-era films through Spaghetti and revisionist eras, telling a contemporary South African crime story in local (Xhosa) tongue.

They also state that the film will contains relevant socio-political threads, using allegory to explore the current South African political and economical climate, finally promising a dark, edge-of-the-seat, and starkly human drama.

The cast includes local star talent like Vuyo Dabula, who will star in the film, and is joined by Fana Mokoena, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Lizwi Vilakazi, Kenneth Fok, Anthony Oseyemi, Dean Fourie, and Jerry Mofokeng.

Cape Town-based Be Phat Motel Film Company is producing.

A 2017 release date is eyed.

Note: the poster is a promo poster, and not the final that will be used when the film is distributed.