Layla Fourie, the new feature film by Berlin-based, South African filmmaker Pia Marais has been chosen as part of the Competition programme at the 63rd Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) from 7 to 17 February 2013.
The multi-country co-production, led by German producer Pandora Film Produktion, is co-produced by Dv8 Films and Spier Films of South Africa.
This is only the second South African film to be in main competition at Berlin, after uCarmen eKhayalitshe, says Jeremy Nathan of Dv8.
After Marais's first two award-winning features, The Unpolished (Die Unerzogenen) and At Ellen's Age (Im Alter von Ellen), Marais has now turned to the genre of the classic suspense thriller for her third film, Layla Fourie, which sees the filmmaker return to South Africa, the place where she grew up.
The movie's story centres on the title figure, the polygraphist Layla Fourie, who is given the opportunity of proper employment. As a single mother, Layla is forced to take her son Kane with her on the trip. However, as they travel into the country and what Layla hopes will be the beginning of a real life, an accident occurs that will radically change their lives.
"Layla Fourie is firstly a film about a young single mother and her son," says Marais. "Yet their relationship and how it evolves throughout the story reflects on a certain atmosphere that prevails in South Africa. One of hope yet shadowed by distrust.
We shot the film in more rural parts of South Africa, north of Durban and in Johannesburg, a very cinematic city, adds Marais.
Layla Fourie features South African actors Rapule Hendricks, Terry Norton and Rapulana Seiphemo. It also stars August Diehl (Salt, Inglourious Basterds).
The award ceremony takes place on Saturday, 16 February 2013 and the film festival will close with the screening of the winner of the Golden Bear.