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Cannes Great 8 Showcase includes ‘Bring Them Down’, ‘The Salt Path’

Cannes

United Kingdom’s Great 8 Cannes buyers’ showcase has officially revealed their lineup of British titles that are set to hit the market in 2024, which marks a return of the showcase in a physical form after the 2022 and 2023 editions being online only.

“Cannes is the place where we celebrate film as a global community,” Agnieszka Moody, BFI Head of International Relations said, according to Deadline (via Yahoo). “We are extremely grateful to our partners at the GREAT campaign for enabling our exciting emerging filmmaking talent to be present at this very special event as it can be nothing short of life-changing in terms of giving them exposure that will accelerate their already promising careers. I look forward to seeing what gems we uncover in this year’s impressive line-up and wish them all the best of luck in attracting the attention they deserve.”

The Cannes Market runs from May 14th through May 25th and you can take a look at the rundown below:

BRIDES

UK/Italy

Drama

Director: Nadia Fall

Writer: Suhayla El-Bushra

Producers:  Nicky Bentham, Marica Stocchi

Cast:  Ebada Hassan, Safiyya Ingar, Yusra Warsama, Cemre Ebuzziya, Aziz Capkurt

Production: Neon Films, Rosamont, BFI, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Bankside Films, Rai Cinema, MIC, Audiovisual Fund Development Friuli Venezia Giulia

Sales: Bankside Films

Synopsis – 15-year-olds Doe and Muna are going on the trip of a lifetime. Quiet, watchful Doe hasn’t gone anywhere since arriving in the UK as a refugee at the age of three from Somalia. Badass Muna, of Pakistani heritage, is the dominant force. As she leads Doe through airport security, the girls are giddy and hysterical but their mood changes as soon as their flight is announced. These girls are not going on holiday, but to Istanbul, to be met by a stranger who will take them to the border to start a new life in Syria. Disaster strikes when their chaperone doesn’t show up, but they form a new plan to continue their journey alone, testing their resolve, their faith and their friendship.  As we discover the experiences that led them here, the girls get ever closer to their destination, so must confront the reality of their futures.

Nadia Fall (whose screen work includes No Masks for Sky Arts, Bush for Film4, and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads for BBC1)is the CEO and artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, and was a former associate artist at the National Theatre, working for many years with acclaimed theatre and film director, Sir Nicholas Hytner. Nadia’s works include Home (also as writer), Chewing Gum Dreams (created by Michaela Coel) and Three Sisters (in a new version at the National Theatre by Inua Ellams). In 2020, Fall was named as a Sky Arts Ambassador and a 2023 Screen Star of Tomorrow.

BRING THEM DOWN

UK/Ireland/Belgium

Thriller

Director/Writer: Christopher Andrews

Producers:  Ivana MacKinnon, Jacob Swan Hyam, Ruth Treacy , Julianne Forde , Jean-Yves Roubin, Cassandre Warnauts

Cast:  Christopher Abbott, Barry Keoghan, Colm Meaney, Nora-Jane Noone, Paul Ready

Production: Wild Swim, Tailored Films, Screen Ireland, MUBI, Frakas Productions. Supported by the UK Global Screen Fund

Sales: Charades

Synopsis – Michael, the last son of a shepherding family, lives with his ailing father, Ray. Burdened by a terrible secret, Michael has isolated himself from the world.  When a conflict with rival farmer Gary and his son Jack escalates, Michael is drawn into a devastating chain of events, forcing him to confront the horrors of his past, leaving both families permanently altered.

Christopher Andrews is a filmmaker based in Norwich. Chris’ debut feature, Bring Them Down, is currently in post-production. The film stars Oscar-nominated Barry Keoghan and Christopher Abbott and is based on Chris’ Brit List featured original screenplay. Chris’ previous shorts include BAFTA longlisted Fire and Stalker. He was also named a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2019.  Chris is also a prolific writer, and current projects include the script of upcoming period thriller Cavendish for Ivana MacKinnon and Emily Leo of Wild Swim Films, to be financed by StudioCanal, and an adaptation of Man Booker Prize nominated Frankenstein In Baghdad. In television, he is developing original projects with Hera Pictures, Severn Screen and 60/40, as well as adapting Andrew Michael Hurley’s Devil’s Day for The Ink Factory and Range Media.

THE FALL OF SIR DOUGLAS WEATHERFORD

UK

Comedy/Drama

Director/Writer: ​​Sean Dunn

Producers: Scott Macaulay, Jennifer Monks, Alex Polunin

Cast: Peter Mullan, Gayle Rankin, Jakob Oftebro, Sid Sagar, Lewis MacDougall

Production:  BBC Film, BBC Scotland, BFI, Screen Scotland, Ossian Pictures, Come Into the Fold, Forensic Films Inc

Sales: Charades

Synopsis – Kenneth (Peter Mullan) works in the Arberloch visitor centre as a tour guide, dressing up as the town’s most notable historical figure, Sir Douglas Weatherford, an 18th century philosopher and inventor who Kenneth proudly claims as his ancestor. When the village becomes the base of a big-budget fantasy TV show, ‘The White Stag of Emberfell’, the visitor centre is transformed into an Emberfell fan experience. With the show’s costumed fans descending on the town, Kenneth’s sanity crumbles as the traditions he holds dear are casually dismissed – a mental decline his daughter Anna (Gayle Rankin) attributes to grief over the loss of his wife. Kenneth’s crisis takes an even darker turn when his ire becomes fixated on the show’s handsome star, Oscar Sorenson (Jakob Oftebro). The Fall Of Douglas Weatherford is a dark comedy exploring the thin line between history and fantasy.

Sean Dunn is from Edinburgh and he attended Columbia University’s Film Programme in New York City, where he graduated with an MFA in Film Directing. His thesis film, British By The Grace Of God, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and went on to win international awards. His next short Kingdom Come was supported by Screen Scotland and BFI NETWORK, premiering at the Venice Film Festival in 2019.  As a producer Sean has worked on films that have screened internationally, including the Sundance, Chicago, and BFI London film festivals.

ON FALLING

UK/Portugal

Drama

Director/Writer: Laura Carreira

Producers:  Jack Thomas O’Brien, Mario Patrocinio

Cast:  Joana Santos, Inês Vaz, Piotr Sikora, Jake McGarry, Neil Leiper

Production: BBC Film, BFI, Screen Scotland, Sixteen Films, BRO Cinema, ICA, Goodfellas

Sales: Goodfellas

Synopsis – On Falling tells the story of Aurora, a Portuguese warehouse picker working in a vast fulfilment centre in Scotland. Trapped between the confines of her workplace and the solitude of her flatshare, Aurora seeks to resist the loneliness, alienation and ensuing small talk which begin to threaten her sense of self.  Set against a landscape dominated by an algorithm-driven gig economy, designed to keep us apart, On Falling explores the silent, vital struggle to find meaning and connection.

Laura Carreira is a Portuguese filmmaker based in Edinburgh. Her short film The Shift premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020 and was nominated for the European Film Awards and the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards. In 2021 it won the New Talent Award at IndieLisboa. In 2022, Laura was named one of the Rising Stars Scotland by Screen International. Laura’s first short film Red Hill won the New Visions Award at the 73rd Edinburgh International Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Short Film award at the 2019 BAFTA Scotland Awards. Her second feature film is under development with Sixteen Films and Film4.

THE SALT PATH

UK

Drama

Director: Marianne Elliott

Writer: Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley, Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin

Cast:   Gillian Anderson, Jason Isaacs

Production:  Number 9 Films, Shadowplay Features with the support of BBC Film, Rocket Science, Lipsync

Sales: Rocket Science

Synopsis – The Salt Path is the profound true story of husband and wife Raynor and Moth Winn’s 630-mile trek along the beautiful but rugged Cornish, Devon and Dorset coastline. After being forcibly removed from their home, they make the desperate decision to walk in the hope that, in nature, they will find solace and a sense of acceptance. With depleted resources, only a tent and some essentials between them, every step along the path is a testament to their growing strength and determination. The Salt Path is a journey that is exhilarating, challenging, and liberating in equal measure. A portrayal of home, how it can be lost and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

Marianne Elliott has directed some of the most celebrated theatrical productions in the West End and on Broadway; War Horse, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, Angels In America, Company and Death Of A Salesman. She is the only woman to have won three Tony Awards for Best Direction.

SUNLIGHT

UK

Comedy

Director: Nina Conti

Writer: Shenoah Allen, Nina Conti

Producers: Sam Parker, Will Machin, Keagan Karnes, Tabitha McDonald

Cast: Nina Conti, Shenoah Allen, Bill Wise

Production: Anyway Content, Metro International, Inspirado

Sales: Metro International

Synopsis – Roy’s attempt to end his life fails when a woman dressed in a monkey suit intervenes. Beneath the furry costume is Jane, who is in the process of escaping a toxic relationship. Empowered by her alter ego ‘Monkey’, Jane commandeers Roy and his silver Airstream and they take to the open road. The unlikely duo soon hatch a plan that could help finance a new life, but could also land them in jail! Hot on their heels is Jane’s controlling partner Wade, who aims to put an end to Jane’s newfound freedom. This unconventional comedy is about two people on the edge of life who find purpose and romance through an unlikely connection, both escaping the darkness in search of some sunlight.

Comedian and ventriloquist Nina Conti won a British Comedy Award, a BBC New Comedy Award, a Grierson Award, and made a BAFTA-nominated film – all without moving her lips. Along with numerous TV appearances, including Live at the Apollo, her comedy skits frequently go viral, amassing over 2.5 million likes on TikTok, and views in the double-figure millions across Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.    Nina recently completed filming Spinal Tap II, directed by Rob Reiner, just concluded her 5-star reviewed, sell-out show, The Dating Show, and will embark on a new world tour of Whose Face Is It Anyway? which will hit major cities such as LA, Melbourne, New York, Edinburgh, and London’s West End in January 2025. She will also be performing in David Byrne’s Cabaret at Bam in New York this autumn.

SURVIVING EARTH

UK

Drama

Director/Writer: ​​Thea Gajić

Producer: Aleksandra Bilić, Sophie Reynolds

Cast: Slavko Sobin, Olive Gray, Stuart Martin, Peter Coonan, Toni Gojanović, Ann Ogbomo Production: My Accomplice, Sona Films, BFI, Film4

Sales: to be announced

Synopsis – Based on a true story, Surviving Earth follows Vlad, a talented harmonica player who arrived in the UK in the 1990s after fleeing the conflict in Yugoslavia. Vlad, now living in Bristol and working as a counsellor, has brought his roots and love for Balkan music to the city by forming a band with his friends from work. The band strives for success, but as they do, Vlad is revisited by the traumas of his past life. His carefully rebuilt world starts to fracture, with the hardest hit being his only daughter Maria, the most important person in his life.

​​Thea Gajić is a British writer and director, born and raised in South London. Her first short film RUN was selected as BFI NetWork Postroom’s Pick of The Month, Short of The Week and won New Talent Award at BFI Future Film Fest. It also earned her a Sundance Ignite Fellowship.

WITCHES

UK

Documentary

Director/Writer: Elizabeth Sankey

Producers:  Manon Ardisson, Chiara Ventura, Jeremy Warmsley

Interviewees/contributions:  Elizabeth Sankey, Sophia Di Martino, Catherine Cho, Professor Marion Gibson

Production:  Ardimages UK, Montgomery Avenue, MUBI, Garden Studios

Sales: MUBI

Synopsis – In this personal and intimate film writer-director Elizabeth Sankey uses her own story of being admitted to a psychiatric ward after the birth of her son to explore the unexpected yet compelling connections between perinatal mental health illness and the history and portrayal of witches in western society. Using clips of cinematic witches to illustrate her own experience and those of fellow sufferers, alongside interviews with medical professionals and academics, Sankey creates her own spell book for all to use.

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