Thu | Oct 29, 2020

Nile Saulter tapped for ‘Escape to Last Man Peak’

Published:Saturday | October 17, 2020 | 12:09 AM
Nile Saulter
Nile Saulter

Film-maker Nile Saulter has been tapped to direct the historic feature film adaptation of Jean D’Costa’s beloved novel Escape to Last Man Peak. For Saulter, who is a rising star on the Jamaican scene with an impressive slate of short works under his belt, this will be his feature film directorial debut.

Escape to Last Man Peak has been a Caribbean treasure since it was published in 1975. It is the gripping tale of 10 young orphans who are forced from their home to escape ‘the sickness’ and set off on a dangerous cross-country journey to try to find refuge at Last Man Peak.

“When I first read Escape to Last Man Peak in high school, I remember it jumping off the page,” said the 34-year-old director. “In my view, this literary treasure was always destined for the big screen. The themes of the story are easy to connect with – hope, resilience, togetherness – but, unfortunately, in today’s world, seem all too easy to overlook.”

According to Saulter, despite the darkness of the times, or maybe because of them, the film seems particularly timely.

“This year, in particular, has been a shock to our collective system, forcing humanity to re-examine what we care about and how we do things. The parallels found between an almost-50-year-old book and our modern-day reality give this project a feeling of extra poignancy. Simply put, this story is an important one to tell, and I’m honoured to have this be my feature film debut. Looking forward to the journey ahead,” he said.

Capturing Jamaican Culture

Saulter’s unique brand of visual storytelling has artistically and authentically captured aspects of Jamaican culture and people with the documentary shorts Pillowman and Everblessed, as well as the short films Coast, The Young Sea, and Fever Dream.

Escape to Last Man Peak is being produced by Have a Bawl Productions with a screenplay by award-winning writer Tanya Batson-Savage, who is co-producing the film with entertainment law practitioner and producer Analisa Chapman. In late 2019, the screenplay advanced to the second stage of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Development Track. Still in early development, this month, the project advanced to the second round for consideration for CineMart 2021, the international co-production market based in Rotterdam to attract co-producers and financiers.

“This is a great Jamaican story, and we’re excited to have Nile on board,” said the producers. “We’ve been following his film-making journey since we saw his early work at the Flashpoint Film Festival in 2006. His visual style, vibe, and passion for the project make him a great fit, and we are looking forward to bringing this project to the silver screen.”