Uncharted Waters is an episodic tale where we are exploring worlds steeped in adventure, danger and mystery. Where mysticism purveys and the fate of souls determine the humanity in all of us.
This is Game of Thrones meets Africa.Where ancient magic meets the undiscovered world.
THE LEGEND OF VAN HUNKS
Jan van Hunks, also known as Orts van Hunks, is a legendary figure in the history of Cape Town, South Africa.
The legend is that Van Hunks was a retired Dutch pirate who sat on the slopes of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak in the early 18th century (thus in the time of the Dutch East India Company) and enjoyed the view as he smoked and drank rum. One summer's day, when the south-east winds blow again, a stranger passed by and asked Van Hunks for a stop of tobacco. The visitor highly appreciated the particular tobacco blend and Van Hunks boasted of his own unique tobacco blend and smoking ability. This led to a challenge and an angry smoke that lasted for days and a thick cloud of smoke covering Table Mountain. Suddenly, the challenger dropped his pipe and collapsed.
Van Hunks bent over to bring the stranger round with a sip of rum. When he pulled the challenger's hat off his head, he saw the horns and realized that he was dealing with the devil. In a bright flash of lightning both smokers disappeared, leaving only a huge cloud of smoke.
Thus, according to legend, Devil's Peak came by its name.
Our story dives in where a young Jan van Hunks, the famous pirate from African folklore, bates a trap for a mermaid. Upon capturing her, he keeps her in captivity in a water-locked cage in his quarters upon his ship, the Vledermuis.
He has been on a quest for 10 years in search of a mysterious artifact among the remnants of a lost ruin called Urr - a city that was sunk by gods ten thousand years earlier. It is rumoured that a great treasure there lies to be found by anyone who dares.
But with this rumour comes a curse. And while Van Hunks maintains his quest, he is not alone in his endeavours. There are others who chase him across the seas.
One of them is a woman by the name of Captain Sharazade. On her hunt for Van Hunks, she attacks other pirate vessels and frees slaves, taking them to a remote island where they are free to live and those wanting to aid her on her own quest, join her ranks.
Unable to get the mermaid to submit to his demands, Van Hunks seeks out a witch from the House of Beldam who entrusts him with an artifact that can beckon the merkind to his will.
When the mermaid in captive agrees to guide him to the ruins of Urr we learn of one other individual who was double-crossed by the pirate. A shadowy figure who follows in the footsteps of Van Hunks, edging ever-closer. This figure is The Devil.
We are looking at developing our tv series for a wide audience who’re familiar with the fantasy adventure genre. This ranges across a rather large demographic as there are both stable properties that address the young adult market while others address a more mature age group. The bottom line is, that there is a big market that is consuming content through a predominantly YA genre.
PIRATES STEAL MONEY
One of the largest and most successful franchises in the last decade belongs to no other than Pirates of the Caribbean. The franchise has grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide and are set to release their 6th feature in the series. Uncharted Waters is a series that is unique in its flavour, ethnicity and diverse cultures. It is set around Africa, the cradle of humanity - and its unique voice can only add to the captivation of such an audience.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Uncharted Waters is the passion project of Daniël Hugo, Moray Rhoda & Jayson Geland - three locally diverse South African writers who grew up hearing the folktale and wanting to explore more behind the myth. Van Hunks is a protagonist who is essentially an antagonist. We’re in a time where a lot of accountability is being addressed regarding power dynamics in the social political world. And when it comes to Africa, the issues of colonialism and tribalism is very topical. His view of the world in his time is seen through his eyes but it is also a world with diverse cultures and voices. While one can see this as a problematic premise in the world of television - another can see this as fertile ground for compelling character development and character arcs that make for not-boring television.
What makes Van Hunks unique is that it is steeped in a universe with a mix of cultures as well as mythical species. The complexities of nuanced narratives are also highly applicable. This is a tale from more than one perspective. It is a tale told through rich voices. But it is not only unique in the fresh perspective it offers, but also in the collaboration of it’s directors and filmmakers who are as equally drawn to it.
A SAGA BEGINS
Uncharted Waters is a marriage of various fables and disparate strands of lore, most of them Cape-based. The story itself draws on these early yarns, lending them to present a fresh perspective on near-forgotten legends; a new vista of fiction influenced by, but not reliant on or restrained by, its assorted sources.