Olympus Pictures and Paul Haggis’ Hwy 61 announced today it is moving forward with a father-son project inspired by the relationship between ESPN sports commentator Selema “Sal” Masekela and his father Hugh Masekela, the jazz musician featured on Paul Simon’s Graceland album and South African apartheid activist who was exiled for more than 30 years. South African filmmaker Mukunda Michael Dewil has been hired to write and direct the film. The project follows a son emerging out of the shadow of his successful but troubled father set against a backdrop of music, surfing, and South Africa’s racism. The untitled Masekela project will be produced by Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech of Olympus Pictures, Haggis and Michael Nozik of Hwy 61 Films, and Selema Masekela. “I first met Sal when he was a teenager working with his father on the Graceland tour,” said Urdang. “We met again many years later and the riveting narrative is a father/son story filled with surprise, danger, bravery, forgiveness, and lots of music.” Mukunda is a commercial director who wrote and directed Retribution and Vehicle 19. He is also a surfer.
Olympus Pictures, of course, is the independent production and finance company behind the upcoming The Oranges as well as John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Mike Mills’ Beginners which won a Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Plummer. This September, Olympus will debut its two most recent features at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival – Thanks for Sharing and Mr. Pip.