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Rising South African Director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer Chosen To Direct 'Meridian'

The film tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing post-WWII.

South Africa's Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, a director to watch, has been selected to direct Meridian, a new film produced by Cassian Elwes, the producer behind Lee Daniels' The Butler, and Susan Carter Hall, Variety reports.

Meridian is based on an original screenplay by Henderson Hall and Karolina Waclawiak. It tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing from a Nazi bunker post-WWII.


Shongwe-La Mer tells Variety that the film is "a beautiful ode to cinema" and describes it as "classic Hollywood."

"That Hollywood is the Hollywood that made me fall in love with films," he continues.

Shongwe-La Mer met Elwes in Los Angeles after the AFI Fest screening of his acclaimed debut, Necktie Youth, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2015, Variety says. "Cassian Elwes is a true hero of mine," he continues. "From Blue Valentine to Dallas Buyers Club, these are pictures that move me to the point that they remind me why I want to make films."

The 26-year-old helmer also credits Elwes with mentoring him through his quick rise, as Shongwe-La Mer is due to show his third feature, The Color of the Skull, this week at Cannes. This feature is in conjunction with the Cinefontation's Atelier, Cannes' forum for films seeking completion funding.

Meridian is currently casting, as Shongwe-La Mer is also in production with the film, The Sound of Animals Fighting, an earnest South Africa-Brazil co-production.

Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP) (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP via Getty Images

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