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Pitchees: Libby Dougherty (scriptwriter) and Nomzamo Mbatha (associate producer)

Based on Marguerite Poland’s bestselling novel, Shades is an epic romance set on the tumultuous eve of the Anglo-Boer War. It is 1899 when Walter Bromley, a young priest fresh from England, travels across the magnificent but daunting vastness of the Eastern Cape to St Matthias Mission, where Christianity chafes against traditional Xhosa beliefs. He is instantly entranced by the lovely and wilful Frances Farborough, daughter of the priest under whom he is to serve, but she is promised to another.

Frances and her brother, Crispin, have grown up with Benedict Matiwane, a Xhosa orphan taken in by the mission. They are inseparable friends but Benedict is caught between two worlds: the mission and the surrounding community who revere the shades (ancestors). When Benedict falls in love with beautiful Nomakwezi Pumani, her family reject him, this boy of no ancestry – and then an act of heinous racism rebaptises him as an activist.

Shades offers an intimate telling of our characters’ lives at a time when the evils that would dominate South Africa for the next century are germinating. A series of tragic clashes – of different gods, colonial wars, dispossession, natural disasters and the beginning of gold mining, with its voracious hunger for labour – reverberate in our characters’ lives whilst they grapple with forbidden love, betrayal, rebellion and the weight of guilty consciences.

Love ultimately triumphs but not without profound loss. It is a story about faith, belonging, accountability and finding God in unexpected places.

Supporting materials: Project bible

Project Information:
Genre: Period romantic drama
Format: 10x60’
Writer/producer: Libby Dougherty
Producer/director: Angus Gibson
Creative producer: Pat van Heerden
Writer: Chumisa Ndakisa
Story consultant: Marguerite Poland
Executive producer: Desireé Markgraaff
Partners: We are in discussions with local broadcasters SABC and M-Net and distributor Videovision Entertainment
Development stage: Script development and raising funding
Shooting location: Eastern Cape Province (rural and Grahamstown) and Johannesburg (mines and town) in Gauteng Province, South Africa
Languages: English and Xhosa
Total budget: R120m
Budget per episode: R12m
Financing already in place: South Africa offers two film and TV production incentive rebates on qualifying South African spend: a foreign film and TV production incentive and a SA coproduction film and TV production incentive with countries that have official treaties with SA. The rebates will allow for up to 35% on qualifying SA spend of R36.3m.

What you are looking for from the US and/or international business:
We are looking for potential broadcast partners and/or a coproduction company, and are seeking to cast some international actors in leading roles and to employ some key talent.

Company profile:
The Bomb Shelter is a film and television company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. For over 22 years we have produced South Africa’s most iconic and ground-breaking television. Our cult youth series Yizo Yizo received critical acclaim and awards around the world and was screened at the Venice Film festival. Our hit show Isibaya has broken audience records and garnered more than 25 SAFTA awards. Angus Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation and a Bafta for 28 Up South Africa. We are the South African producers of the double Sundance winner Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony and the creators of the eight-season pan-African hit drama series Jacob’s Cross.

Other projects include Portrait of a Young Man Drowning, winner of the Venice Silver Lion; Shuga, in which Lupita Nyong'o starred and co-directed; and Ayeye. We have produced over 1,000 hours of television drama.

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +27 11 804 2552/+27 82 552 7763