A Far Off Place (1993)

PG | 105 mins | Adventure, Drama | 12 March 1993

Director:

Mikael Salomon

Cinematographer:

Juan Ruiz-Anchia

Editor:

Ray Lovejoy

Production Designer:

Gemma Jackson

Production Companies:

Walt Disney Pictures , Amblin Entertainment
Full page view
HISTORY

       Daniel Gerroll’s character is credited as “John Winslow,” but is referred to onscreen as “Steve.” The characters of “Samual” and “Larry Patel” are not listed onscreen and the identity of the actors could not be determined. Actor Ethan Embry is credited as “Ethan Randall.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Eva Monley grew up on a farm in Kenya and developed an interest in adapting Laurens van der Post’s 1972 and 1974 novels, A Story Like the Wind and A Far Off Place, into a motion picture. After meeting with van der Post in 1980, Monley obtained the rights to his works and developed a “lasting friendship” with the author. A 19 Jul 1992 LAT article revealed that Jonathan Hensleigh’s early draft of the screenplay featured a young male protagonist, as depicted in source material, but filmmakers later decided to have Sally Robinson rewrite the script for Reese Witherspoon.
       Following location scouting in the fall of 1991, producer Elaine Sperber joined the project and set up offices in Harare, Zimbabwe in early 1992. Casting the role of “Xhabbo” took more than seven months as talent scouts met with over 4,000 Bushmen from four African countries. Sarel Bok, a musician of Bushman descent, was hired in Apr 1992, after being discovered in Cape Town, South Africa.
       Principal photography began 26 May 1992. Kalahari Desert scenes were filmed in the Namib Desert, with additional locations at the Shamva Gold Mine outside Harare, and the Sesriem Desert in Namibia. While in the dunes, the crew inhabited a “tent camp,” which included a facility to view “dailies” as they were flown in from ... More Less

       Daniel Gerroll’s character is credited as “John Winslow,” but is referred to onscreen as “Steve.” The characters of “Samual” and “Larry Patel” are not listed onscreen and the identity of the actors could not be determined. Actor Ethan Embry is credited as “Ethan Randall.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Eva Monley grew up on a farm in Kenya and developed an interest in adapting Laurens van der Post’s 1972 and 1974 novels, A Story Like the Wind and A Far Off Place, into a motion picture. After meeting with van der Post in 1980, Monley obtained the rights to his works and developed a “lasting friendship” with the author. A 19 Jul 1992 LAT article revealed that Jonathan Hensleigh’s early draft of the screenplay featured a young male protagonist, as depicted in source material, but filmmakers later decided to have Sally Robinson rewrite the script for Reese Witherspoon.
       Following location scouting in the fall of 1991, producer Elaine Sperber joined the project and set up offices in Harare, Zimbabwe in early 1992. Casting the role of “Xhabbo” took more than seven months as talent scouts met with over 4,000 Bushmen from four African countries. Sarel Bok, a musician of Bushman descent, was hired in Apr 1992, after being discovered in Cape Town, South Africa.
       Principal photography began 26 May 1992. Kalahari Desert scenes were filmed in the Namib Desert, with additional locations at the Shamva Gold Mine outside Harare, and the Sesriem Desert in Namibia. While in the dunes, the crew inhabited a “tent camp,” which included a facility to view “dailies” as they were flown in from being processed in the coastal town of Swakopumund.
       The 19 Jul 1992 LAT reported that Walt Disney Pictures executives were displeased with footage from the first two weeks of production and decided to fire the film’s director of photography, Paul Gyulay, and director, Rene Manzor. Among those considered to replace Gyulay was Mikael Salomon, who previously worked with producer Steven Spielberg on Always (1989, see entry) and Amblin Entertainment’s Arachnophobia (1990, see entry). Spielberg reportedly suggested Salomon step in for Manzor instead, making A Far Off Place his first theatrical feature film as director.
       In addition to replicating 2,000 fiberglass elephant tusks, production designer Gemma Jackson created seven life-size prosthetic elephants, built by animatronics expert and model maker Richard Olds. Each elephant began as a clay scale model and was enlarged to create a life-size frame from steel, chicken wire, and two layers of foam latex “hide.” Each elephant weighed approximately 250—300 pounds. Kenyan animal coordinator Ann Olivecrona oversaw the use of thirteen live elephants, nineteen dogs, five lions, three vultures, one ostrich, insects, and three Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, which were bred specifically to portray “Hintza” in the film.
       Promotional materials in AMPAS library files indicated that the theatrical release was accompanied by the “Roger Rabbit” animated short, Trail Mixup. The 12 Mar 1993 NYT reviewed the film under the title A Far-Off Place.
      Opening credits note: “All animals in this production were trained with care and concern for their safety and well-being. Scenes which appear to be harmful to them were simulated.” End credits are preceded by the statement: “Animal action was monitored by the American Humane Association, assisted by Environment 2000,” and include “Special thanks” to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information, Post and Telecommunications; Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Development; and Namibia’s Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism; Ministry of Home Affairs; Liaison Africa – Tom Bedford, Dr. Anthony Traill; Satellite Telephone Mobile Telesystems, Inc., and IDB Communications Group, Inc.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1993
p. 8, 33.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Mar 1993
Calendar, p. 16.
New York Times
12 Mar 1993
Section C, p. 15.
Variety
15 Mar 1993
p. 62.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present
a film by Mikael Salomon
Presented in association with Touchwood Pacific Partners I
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
Steadicam® op
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
B cam 1st asst
B cam 2d asst
Video playback op
Panavision© cam tech
Chief lighting tech
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Genny op
Genny op
Key grip
Addl key grip
Dolly grip
Dolly/Crane grip
Still photog
Wescam op
Wescam mechanic
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Addl ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed - Africa
Asst ed - U.K.
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const mgr
Const mgr
Const foreman
Const buyer
Standby const
Standby const
Head plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Prop master
Standby props
Standby props asst
Swing gang
Swing gang
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost asst
MUSIC
Supv mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Scoring rec
Scoring crew
Scoring mixer
Scoring crew
Scoring crew
Mus preparation
Mus contractor
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Cableperson
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
ADR ed
ADR mixer
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Addl audio
Addl audio
African field rec
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Model maker
Model maker
Spec eff coord
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec visual eff prod by
Marin County, Ca
Visual eff supv, Matte World
Visual eff supv, Matte World
Exec in charge of prod, Matte World
Matte artist, Matte World
Matte artist, Matte World
Cam op, Matte World
Cam asst, Matte World
Cam asst, Matte World
Addl visual eff by
Addl visual eff by, Illusion Arts Inc.
Addl visual eff by, Illusion Arts Inc.
Addl visual eff by, Illusion Arts Inc.
MAKEUP
Key makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Runner
Asst to prod - Zimbabwe
Prod accountant
Loc accountant
Loc accountant
Loc accountant
Asst accountant
Cashier
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Tented camp mgr
Post prod supv
Dialect coach
ADR voice casting
Post prod asst
Bushman adv
Studio teacher
Catering supv
Catering supv
Casting (L.A.)
Casting (L.A.)
Casting (RSA)
Casting (ZIM)
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Aerial coord
Helimount/Pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter model
Mechanic
Action vehicle/Arms coord
Armourer
Animal coord
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Animal trainer
Dogpack handler
American Humane Association representative
Environment 2000 representative
Environment 2000 representative
UK prod contact
South Africa prod contact
Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs from
STAND INS
Nonnie stunt double
Nonnie stunt double
Harry stunt double
Harry double/Stand-in
Xhabbo double/Stand-in
Xhabbo double/Stand-in
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novels A Story Like the Wind by Laurens van der Post (New York, 1972) and A Far-Off Place by Laurens van der Post (New York, 1974).
SONGS
"Zeppomania," written and performed by Wesley Plass
"C.O.D.," written and performed by Donald Siegal and George Gatt
"Hitting Hard," written and performed by Mac Prindy.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Far-Off Place
Release Date:
12 March 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 March 1993
Production Date:
began 26 May 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Company and Amblin Entertainment
Copyright Date:
19 March 1993
Copyright Number:
PA604703
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras and Lenses
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®; Stock provided by Eastman Film
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32313
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Against his wishes, spoiled New York teenager Harry Winslow accompanies his father to the Sahara Desert in Africa to spend time with family acquaintances Paul and Elizabeth Parker. As he struggles to adjust to life without the technologies and amusements of home, Harry clashes with the Parkers’ spirited fourteen-year-old daughter, Nonnie, who wishes to follow in Paul’s footsteps as a progressive wildlife commissioner fighting against Africa’s elephant poachers. That night, Nonnie and the family dog, Hintza, sneak out of the house to meet Nonnie’s Bushman friend, Xhabbo. Harry follows them to a cave, where they spend the night to recover Xhabbo’s strength after he is attacked by a leopard. At dawn, Nonnie hears gunshots and runs back to the house to discover that her parents and Henry’s father have been murdered for investigating ivory exporting secretly run by Paul Parker’s associate, John Ricketts. As poachers plunder the house, Ricketts realizes Nonnie and Henry are missing. Remaining out of sight, the girl grabs explosives from the garage and attaches them to the bottom of their truck, killing several of Ricketts’ men. She flees to the cave and Xhabbo advises them to “follow the wind” by heading west across the Kalahari Desert. On the edge of the desert, Xhabbo communicates with a herd of elephants and convinces them to cover their tracks by following behind. Henry is furious to learn they have 2,000 miles to travel before reaching the seaport of Karlstown, but Nonnie remains optimistic. Meanwhile, the Parkers’ close friend, Colonel Mopani Theron, learns of the attack and, unaware of his involvement, orders Ricketts to lead an aerial search party to find the missing children. Although Henry attempts to flag ... +


Against his wishes, spoiled New York teenager Harry Winslow accompanies his father to the Sahara Desert in Africa to spend time with family acquaintances Paul and Elizabeth Parker. As he struggles to adjust to life without the technologies and amusements of home, Harry clashes with the Parkers’ spirited fourteen-year-old daughter, Nonnie, who wishes to follow in Paul’s footsteps as a progressive wildlife commissioner fighting against Africa’s elephant poachers. That night, Nonnie and the family dog, Hintza, sneak out of the house to meet Nonnie’s Bushman friend, Xhabbo. Harry follows them to a cave, where they spend the night to recover Xhabbo’s strength after he is attacked by a leopard. At dawn, Nonnie hears gunshots and runs back to the house to discover that her parents and Henry’s father have been murdered for investigating ivory exporting secretly run by Paul Parker’s associate, John Ricketts. As poachers plunder the house, Ricketts realizes Nonnie and Henry are missing. Remaining out of sight, the girl grabs explosives from the garage and attaches them to the bottom of their truck, killing several of Ricketts’ men. She flees to the cave and Xhabbo advises them to “follow the wind” by heading west across the Kalahari Desert. On the edge of the desert, Xhabbo communicates with a herd of elephants and convinces them to cover their tracks by following behind. Henry is furious to learn they have 2,000 miles to travel before reaching the seaport of Karlstown, but Nonnie remains optimistic. Meanwhile, the Parkers’ close friend, Colonel Mopani Theron, learns of the attack and, unaware of his involvement, orders Ricketts to lead an aerial search party to find the missing children. Although Henry attempts to flag down the helicopter as it soars overhead, Nonnie worries they could be poachers and instructs her companions to hide. As a trick, the children remove their clothes, stuff them with straw, and lay them in the sand. Nonnie watches in horror as Ricketts pulls out his gun and shoots the fake bodies until he believes they are dead. Over the next two months, the travelers dig up plant roots for sustenance, and Xhabbo teaches Henry how to speak his native language and hunt gemsbok. During this time, Col. Theron remains convinced that the Parkers’ death was a corporate conspiracy, and continues his tireless search for the exporters’ store of elephant tusks, which he believes will lead him to the murderer. At Xhabbo’s encouragement, Henry presents Nonnie with a vest made from gemsbok pelt. That night, Nonnie and Henry mourn the loss of their parents and share a hug. Near a remote general store, the owner’s hunting dogs chase the fugitives across a gorge, but they escape with only minor injuries. A few days later, Ricketts meets a buyer at the same shop and notices that the owner is in possession of Nonnie’s necklace, which she lost in the scuffle. Suspecting the children are still alive, Ricketts kills his right-hand man for failing to ensure the bodies were buried. As Nonnie, Henry, and Xhabbo succumb to the heat of the desert sun, a scorpion stings Xhabbo. He tells his friends to continue without him, but Nonnie and Henry insist they stay together. When Nonnie wanders off in search of water, she collapses in the sand. Hearing the hum of Ricketts’ approaching helicopter, Nonnie and Xhabbo weakly thump their chests in the spiritual Bushman practice of “tapping,” which summons a sandstorm that forces Ricketts to flee. Unaware they are only a few yards away from the Atlantic coast, the three travelers fall unconscious and awaken in a Karlstown hospital. There, Nonnie is reunited with Col. Theron and informs him that Ricketts was responsible for her parents’ deaths. Once they are recovered, Nonnie and Henry accompany Col. Theron to Ricketts’ mining facility, where they find his hoard of elephant tusks. Nonnie insists the remains must be buried, and they begin to rig the facility with dynamite when Ricketts arrives to stop them. Henry traps Ricketts under a pile of tusks, and Nonnie holds him at gunpoint, but cannot shoot. Together, they lead the perpetrator outside and light the fuse. Unable to see his fortune destroyed, Ricketts runs back into the mine in an attempt to extinguish the flame, but the dynamite explodes and buries him beneath the rock. Sometime later, Nonnie and Henry say goodbye to Xhabbo, who returns to the Sahara. Henry kisses Nonnie before boarding an airplane home to New York, and Nonnie tells him to leave without looking back. However, as she and Col. Theron begin cleaning the charred remains of the Parker home, Henry returns, and the children embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.