CANNES — Writer-director Whit Stillman (“The Last Days of Disco”) has signed a two-pic deal with the U.K.’s FilmFour.
The first project will be an adaptation of Anchee Min’s memoir “Red Azalea,” to be produced by Christine Vachon’s Killer Films.
Set during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, it’s the true story of a woman who escapes her grueling existence on a collective farm to become the star of a propaganda film based on an opera by Madame Mao. But her new-found influence crumbles when Chairman Mao dies and his wife is overthrown.
The Paris-based Stillman is writing the screenplay for the film, which is untitled.
Stillman describes the project as a significant creative departure after his three quasi-autobiographical pics — “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona” and “Disco.” “If you’re an autobiographical filmmaker, it’s interesting to work off someone else’s autobiography,” he told Daily Variety.
New creative course
Details of the second project under the FilmFour deal remain sketchy, with Stillman disclosing only that it will be another “foreign story,” and will mark yet another new creative direction.
The FilmFour deal was negotiated by John Sloss for Stillman and Vachon, and by Rosalie Swedlin of Industry Entertainment and Greg Hunt of ICM U.K. for Stillman.
“FilmFour has a very good profile for our kind of film,” Stillman said. “We deal with the same independent distributors around the world as they do, so it’s a very natural fit, especially now that I live in Paris.”
The FilmFour relationship is non-exclusive. Stillman said he is now trying to “pick up the pace” of his career “by acquiring other people’s stories” and working with co-writers.
FilmFour chief exec Paul Webster said, “We want to become Whit’s regular financing and producing partner.”