Duo team to set up South Africa-based prod'n house

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LONDON -- Oscar-winning producer Eric Abraham has teamed with writer-director Mark Dornford-May to set up a theater and movie production house based in South Africa, the duo said Monday.

South Africa-born and British-based producer Abraham, who produced Academy Award winner "Kolya," has teamed with South African-based Brit Dornford-May to "produce theater and film projects focused on South African talent for an international audience," the parties said.

The banner, which will initially operate under London and New York movie production label Portobello Pictures, has also roped in the advice of South African theatre production legend Mannie Mannim who will act as a consultant to the new venture in Cape Town.

Several projects are in development including theatre co-productions with London's Young Vic Theatre and stage and film versions of Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela's book "A Human Being Died That Night."

The duo's venture is trumpeting support from luminaries of stage and screen including South African actress Janet Suzman, actor Alan Rickman, director Stephen Daldry, "U-Carmen" opera singer and actress Pauline Malefane and U.K. Young Vic director David Lan.

The collaboration complements Portobello's slate of international projects for stage and screen, presently working with Christopher Hampton, Ronald Harwood, Hugh Whitemore and "Kolya" director Jan Sverak.

Abraham said he aims to give South African film and theater talent a voice in the international marketplace. "South Africa has shown it has a rich seam of talented individuals in the creative arts," Abraham said. "There is a certain symmetry to the timing of this initiative in that next month it will be thirty years exactly since I was banned and house-arrested by the apartheid government which led to fifteen years in exile in Britain."
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