Who knew that fast-rising South African director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer idolises producer Cassian Elwes? Per a Variety exclusive, Shongwe-La Mer will be directing Elwes’ Meridian, based on an original screenplay by Henderson Hall and Karolina Waclawiak and follows the story of a priceless Picasso painting that goes missing from a Nazi bunker after WWII, only to resurface decades after in the small American town of Meridian.
Shongwe-La Mer describes the film as “a beautiful ode to cinema” and “classic Hollywood” and goes on to praise the acclaimed British producer. In 2015, the 26-year-old director met Elwes in Los Angeles at the American Film Institute Festival, or AFI Fest, after the screening of his critically acclaimed debut feature Necktie Youth. Since then, Elwes has mentored the young director through the ropes. Elwes has produced films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, and handing the directorial sleight of hand of Meridian to Shongwe-La Mer is really a big deal.
This week, the South African director will be at the ongoing Cannes to premiere his third feature The Colour of the Skull, which should be a hit with audience. Did I mention that Shongwe-La Mer is also a TED Talks alumni? Here’s the director at TEDx Johannesburg on the rousing “I Just Killed the Movie Executive.”
Meridian is currently casting, and it will be interesting to see the calibre of names the movie recruits.