One Last Look, which marks the second feature film of Philip Roberts as director, is set to have its European premiere in Dublin on June 1st at the Mill Theatre Dundrum. Philip and lead actress Stephanie Schildknecht will be in attendance.
One Last Look is a ground-breaking attempt at a high-quality genre film that will appeal to Africans themselves as well as the international market. The film stars Stephanie Schildknecht (Young Leonardo, Death Race 2), Neil Sandilands (7 de Laan, Fox TV’s House, Proteus), and newcomer Anna Capraro as two girls on a dream trip through Southern Africa. At a rave party in the bush, Angie disappears and Yasmin gets off the overland bus to search for her. Accepting help from loner musician Jules (Marty Kintu) to find her sister, the trail leads them to the remote farm of a charismatic sculptor Frank; played by Sandilands But appearances deceive, as behind the beauty of this Zimbabwean scene hides a terrible secret.
And already the film is proving controversial. One Last Look has been described as a ‘horror’ film, but director Philip Roberts is adamant that this is not an accurate genre description. He claims ‘One Last Look certainly has some brutal moments, but it is actually a very layered psychological thriller with references to Heart of Darkness and 13th Century West African griot myth Sunjata. It’s in some ways an allegory for the fact that we are all victims of the traumas of Africa, and that the beauty of the continent conceals the life and death issues we face here. So there is an element of the theme of the paradise lost.’
It is first and foremost a gripping and stylish thriller. Philip Roberts was keen for the film to break new ground from the point of view of production design (Chantel Carter) and lighting. He wanted the look and feel of a graphic novel at times with bold panels of Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. And it is not a film that takes itself too seriously. The flashes of dark humour, the stunts and visual effects, the costumes all make for a feast of the senses. ‘It is a film that you need to approach with an open mind – a film for a young audience, a very new film in South African terms’, says Roberts.
The director is interested in exploring a new approach to making and selling South African films. Not only is the film beautifully photographed by cinematographer Lance Gewer (Tsotsi, Otello Burning) and edited by Megan Gill (Tsotsi, Wolverine) and Jenny Hicks (Winnie), but it has a memorable and evocative gothic score by composer Grant McLachlin and the end result is a top quality film with a tour-de-force central performance by Neil Sandilands. Jawitz suggests that ‘we can’t survive making films that are only of interest to the local audience. We must tell stories that are appealing to the rest of the world.’ And it is a measure of the success of this strategy that top Hollywood sales agents Lightning Entertainment have come on board for international sales, while Indigenus Film Distribution are the South African distributors.
One Last Look was completed last year and was selected for the Durban International Film Festival, the KwaZulu Natal African Film Festival and South Africa’s Horrorfest. It will be released in South Africa later this year and will be marketed for international distribution at the Cannes Film Festival by Lightning Entertainment.
The event is sponsored by Silver Line Promotions.