The producer and director behind the multiple award-winning short film The Equestrian has embarked on a new project.
Sybil Mair has revealed her next film will be The Adventures of Selika — for which the lead actress is learning to ride.
The story follows the protagonist, Selika, a young princess brought up in Paris during the Second Empire — the time under the rule of Emperor Napoleon III (1852-70).
A high-level dressage rider, the real Selika Lazevski rode in French circuses and hippodromes during the 19th century.
Cesar-nominated French actress Karidja Toure takes on the role of Selika, and will be joined on screen by co-stars Jennifer Daley, Luke Elliott, Filippo Scarafia and Krystian Godlewski.
“It is a coming-of-age story of a young African princess who is taken in by a French family having had to flee her home,” Sybil told H&H.
“After an unfortunate incident she decides to leave her life of comfort and security to find her own independence.”
Sybil is once again teaming up with composer Tom Hunt — whose credits include the music for all Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro’s major championship freestyle wins — for the score.
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“I enjoyed working with Tom [on The Equestrian] — making a film is a very exciting and thrilling creative process and collaborating with people to bring to life your vision as a director is very exciting,” she added.
Filming is set to begin in just under three weeks and locations include Chillington Hall near Wolverhampton. Karidja recently had her first riding lesson under the expert guidance of Pammy Hutton at Talland aboard schoolmaster “Tommy” to prepare for her part.
The Equestrian, which was released earlier this year and follows the story of a young dressage rider at the beginning of his career, received critical acclaim. It won seven awards and was shown at film festivals across the world.
“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say I was really quite overwhelmed [by the reaction]— very struck by how emotionally people reacted to it,” she told H&H.