Johannesburg - Actress and producer Anel Alexander (Discreet, SemiSoet, Faan Se Trein) and Johan Kruger (Prisoner of War, Winnie Mandela, Spud II) are teaming up to adapt Rachel Weeping, a soon to be released novel by best-selling local author Brett Michael Innes (The Story of Racheltjie de Beer), into an Afrikaans feature film provisionally entitled Sink.
After reading the first draft of the novel, Alexander knew she wanted to secure the film rights. "I read hundreds of screenplays and novels but very few have left me desperate to bring them to life in the way that Rachel Weeping has. Being an actress and producer, I’m always looking for stories which will offer me challenging roles as an actress whilst at the same time being achievable from a production perspective. It is also important to me that my films convey a strong message and the story of Rachel Weeping is topical, poignant and will definitely challenge audiences at home and abroad."Kruger, who is currently working on Prisoner of War with Oscar-Winning producers Nicolas Chartier (The Hurt Locker) and Zev Foreman (Dallas Buyers Club), was next to come on board. As an established producer in both the local and international film markets, Johan managed to secure funding from the IDC as well as international distribution for the project with Picture Tree International at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Times Media Films and kykNET are attached as local distributors of the project."This is a universal story that appeals to an international audience." Kruger says. "If our stories are to travel beyond our borders we will need to start telling them with an international audience in mind. This is a drama that could take place in any country, any language."Sink tells the story of Rachel, a Mozambican domestic worker based in Johannesburg, who is forced to make a devastating choice after her daughter drowns whilst under the care of her employer; return to poverty stricken Mozambique or continue working for the family responsible for the death of her child so she can support her extended family back home. The story is a haunting exploration of motherhood, loss and the walls that separate people, with Alexander comparing the mood and tone of Sink to films like Boy A and 21 Grams. Alexander will play the role of Rachel’s employer, a women tormented by the guilt that she carries. "These kinds of roles don’t come around every day and I can’t wait to bring this character to life. It’s important that stories like this get told, stories that force us to take a look at our lives and assess how we’re entangled with the people around us."Innes has written the screenplay for Sink and has also been attached to direct. "It’s not often that two of the country’s top producers call to tell you that they want to make your novel, which hasn’t been released yet, into a movie. I’m really excited to see this story come to life and feel that Anel and Johan are the right people to do so."
The news of the combination of this fresh, compelling story, coupled with the experience and successes of some of the most prominent film makers in South Africa has been received with much excitement and anticipation. Sink looks set to become a unique, South African story which will stand on the international stage, shoulder to shoulder with some of the best foreign language films currently being made.
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