Director Barry Berk will start production on his first feature film, a psycho-sexual suspense drama called Sleeper’s Wake, in August.
Berk is known as a writer and director of television series including Yizo Yizo, Gaz “Lam and The Lab and directed an award-winning short film, Angel, in 1996.
The screenplay for Sleeper’s Wake was adapted by Berk from a novel of the same title by South African author Alistair Morgan. According to Berk his friend, novelist Damon Galgut, was involved in the novel as an editor and thought it would make a great film.
After reading the novel – about a man who survives a car crash that killed his wife and daughter – Berk agreed: “It is a psychological exploration of a man struggling with grief and shows how to overcome grief we sometimes have to take ourselves to even more radical places to come out the other end.’
Another interesting aspect of the book is a transgressive relationship between a 46-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, both dealing with grief. “I thought it was fertile ground for exploration, and the book also contained some wonderful visual elements,’ explains Berk.
The film will be shot by director of photography Alard de Smidt in HD on a single camera. Berk says the film has a budget of R6m and will be funded by a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) rebate, as well as private funders.
While it will be an art house film and stylistically more European than American, Berk hopes it will reach a wider audience and also fare well on the international festival circuit.