‘Escape from Pretoria’. (Photo: Ian Routledge)
Production is underway in South Australia on British director Francis Annan’s feature debut Escape From Pretoria, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Aussie Daniel Webber.
Radcliffe and Webber play real-life political prisoners and freedom fighters Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee; two white South African twenty-somethings who were branded ‘terrorists’ and imprisoned in 1978 for their involvement in covert anti-apartheid operations for the ANC (African National Congress). The cast also includes British actor Ian Hart, Mark Leonard Winter and Nathan Page.
Incarcerated in Pretoria Maximum Security Prison, Jenkin and Lee – joined by a fellow inmate – decide to send the regime a clear message and escape. After months of meticulous surveillance, breath-taking ingenuity, and in a race against time as the authorities strengthen the prison security defenses, the group craft wooden keys for each of the ten steel doors between them and freedom.
The script is based on Jenkin’s autobiography ‘Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison’, and has been adapted for the screen by Annan with LH Adams. Escape from Pretoria is an Australian/UK co-pro, produced by Arclight Films’ Gary Hamilton and Michelle Krumm and BeaglePug’s David Barron, Footprint Films’ Mark Blaney and Jackie Sheppard, with investment from MEP Capital and the South Australian Film Corporation.
“We are delighted to be collaborating with the brilliant team at the SAFC and MEP Capital, and the producers at BeaglePug and Footprint Films,” Arclight chairman Hamilton said.
“They are fantastic partners to bring this extraordinary tale to life and we look forward to seeing this incredible film in cinemas around the world very soon.”
UK producers Barron, Blaney and Sheppard said: “Footprint Films and BeaglePug are thrilled to be working with the SAFC, Arclight Films and MEP Capital to bring to life one of the most daring and ingenious prison escapes of the twentieth century.
“We’re also very excited to be working with the immensely talented Francis Annan and our outstanding cast on this astonishing true story. Much more than just another prison break thriller, Escape From Pretoria is a story of our time, a story of risking everything in the fight for freedom and equality, against injustice and oppression.”
Post-production will take place in Melbourne, with the film having received support through Film Victoria’s PDV incentive program.