Johannesburg-based filmmaker Akin Omotoso, fresh from the success of his latest movie Vaya, will be taking his next project, Waiting for an Angel, to the 14th edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market in February.
Taking place from 12 to 15 February, the Berlinale Co-Production Market is part of the European Film Market, which runs alongside the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.
Last week, the organisers announced that Waiting for an Angel was one of 20 promising feature film projects to be selected, out of 322 submissions from around the world, for the official project selection at the Market.
It's a significant coup for Omotoso - it will put him in touch with a wide range of potential co-production and funding partners from around the world - as well as recognition of the growing esteem in which he is held. Among the other big name directors listed in the official selection are Hans Petter Moland (In Order of Disappearance, A Somewhat Gentle Man), Agnieszka Holland (Europa, Europa, In Darkness) and Lou Ye (Spring Fever, Suzhou River).
Waiting for an Angel is a South African-Canadian co-production between Johannesburg-based Rififi Pictures and Toronto-based Triptych Media.
Currently in development, the film is based on the award-winning novel of the same name by Helon Habila. Set in Lagos, Nigeria during the chaotic 1990s, the novel centres on a young intellectual's collision with his country's brutal military regime.
Publishers WW Norton describe the novel's setup as follows: "Lomba is a young journalist living under military rule in Lagos, Nigeria, the most dangerous city in the world. His mind is full of soul music and girls and the lyric novel he is writing. But his roommate is brutally attacked by soldiers; his first love is forced to marry a wealthy old man; and his neighbours on Poverty Street are planning a demonstration that is bound to incite riot and arrests. Lomba can no longer bury his head in the sand."
Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing 2001, Waiting for an Angel "captures the energy, sensitivity, despair, and stubborn hope of a new African generation with a combination of gritty realism and poetic beauty".
Omotoso's latest film, Vaya, a multi-narrative drama about life on the harsh streets of Johannesburg, was part of the official selection for the 41st Toronto International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere in September. In November, it won the Special Jury Award for Outstanding Film at the African International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. The film is due for release in South African cinemas in March.