The South African motion picture, White Lion, wrapped the 2nd phase of principle photography in South Africa last week, and is now prepping for the Cannes International Film Festival (17 to 28 May).
Local post production facility The Refinery is grading, compositing and on-lining, with Alun Richards designing the sound and composing the music. Susan Korda, the story and edit consultant is flying in from New York to work with editor, Ashley Stiebel, and co-director, Ben Horowitz (of Chop Productions).
White Lion is co-directed by Horowitz and cinematographer Michael Swan, produced by Kevin Richardson, and executive produced by Rodney Fuhr and Ilana Fuhr. The film is the realisation of sole financier Fuhr’s long standing dream to produce a film about the life of a lion in the wild.
Richardson says: “We still have a whole phase to shoot, which will involve the human aspects of the story, the bigger action sequences that require complicated animatronics, and a 2nd Unit Botswana leg as well.”
Line Producer Sam Kelly of Chop Productions, comments: “I’m going to miss the actors until we re-commence the final phases. It is a privilege to work with these lions – we’ve got really close to them and they have delivered 100%, hitting their marks better than a lot of human actors. Now the challenge is to co-ordinate the schedule so that we have lions of the right age available for the next phases.”
Swan adds: “We’ve had the luxury of being able to shoot endless amounts of footage because we are shooting HD. The picture results are great in the edit suite and I’m looking forward to working on the final grade and composites. The real test will be seeing the night footage, effects and grade in the blow-up to 35mm. We’re very confident and I anticipate a very positive response from Cannes.”
Horowitz is very optimistic that this type of family entertainment will find a place in the international market. “We believe White Lion has all the right ingredients and holds significant business for a distributor.”
White Lion is a family adventure story that follows the life of a white lion, Letsatsi, who is born into a tawny pride in the wilds of Africa. His unique color makes life very difficult for him, and he has to find his own way in the world, against all odds. His journey takes him from helpless cub, to rebellious teenager and finally into a strong and capable adult, with his own pride. The picture has a similar originality to that of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s The Bear, which also followed the life of a wild animal.