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KAROO BOY (article first published : 2005-09-21)

Producer, Anant Singh has announced the acquisition of the movie rights to the Sunday Times Literary Award runner-up, Karoo Boy written by Troy Blacklaws. The rights were acquired after a bidding war with two United Kingdom based companies. The deal was concluded by Helena Spring, Videovision Entertainment’s Head of Production and Julian Friedmann of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency who represents the author, Troy Blacklaws. Singh also announced that Karoo Boy will be directed by top local commercials director, Sunu Gonera.

Karoo Boy is an intensely personal story of a young man’s search for identity after the accidental death of his twin brother. Removed from an idyllic seaside existence and displaced into a small and arid Karoo town, his journey to maturity is marked by the conflicts of South Africa in the 70’s, sexual awakening in a repressed society and ultimately, the recognition of a devastating loss which sets him free to claim his future. Redolent in its South African-ness, the story of Douglas Marsden transcends its cultural setting and resonates with universal values.

Karoo Boy is definitely hot property and we are thrilled to have acquired the movie rights,” said Helena Spring. “We immediately knew that it would make a compelling film and set out to acquire the rights. Karoo Boy is a story of grief and loss and about a special relationship between two individuals from vastly different backgrounds. It is a delicate, yet absorbing story and will translate well into film. We are also delighted to have Sunu Gonera attached as director. We believe in his talents and are delighted that Karoo Boy will be his first feature film,” added Spring.

The book has generated a great deal of interest from publishers around the world and book deals have been concluded with Harcourt in the United States, Duckworth in the United Kingdom, Flammarion in France and Ambo Anthos in Holland with many other countries currently under negotiation.

Author Troy Blacklaws said, “I’m honoured the Sunday Times gave a nod to Karoo Boy, my long poem of love and loss, and hope that in the wake of the fanfare the story will echo far. I hope it ends up being read in schools and that the adventures of Douglas and his dog Chaka become part of South African lore. Though there were overseas bids for Karoo Boy, Sunu Gonera’s showreel seduced me with his talent for capturing the visceral tones and close-up fabric of Africa. He makes you want to freeze the frame and lick it for the taste of Africa. And he has an uncanny instinct for how to weave in music to underscore the images. I have faith that Videovision Entertainment will make an authentic, oblique, magic film of the novel.”

The script of Karoo Boy is currently under development by Videovision Entertainment and the film will go into production late next year.




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