×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amandla Stenberg Was Shooting ‘Where Hands Touch’ on Election Day: ‘It Felt Timely’

Filmmaker Amma Asante and actors Abbie Cornish and Amandla Stenberg dropped by the Variety Studio presented by AT&T at the Toronto Film Festival to talk about their new movie, “Where Hands Touch.”

The film tells the story of Leyna (Stenberg), a young girl coming of age in World War II Germany. Cornish plays her mother, desperate to protect her from the world, and George MacKay also stars as a Hitler Youth who finds himself drawn to her.

Though set more than 50 years ago, the movie resonates with timely themes, and Stenberg detailed one day of shooting that was particularly unnerving. In the scene, Leyna and her mother are stopped by an SS officer who berates them, saying, “how Leyna is a blemish to the nation, how she should be ashamed of herself for having created a Negro child.”

As it turned out, they were filming at the same time as the 2016 presidential election was taking place. “In the midst of filming this scene, we were waiting on the result of the election. We didn’t know yet who was going to be president,” reveals Stenberg. “It felt timely…the fact that there even was a candidate like Donald Trump.”

She continued, “And then when we were in between scenes on a little bit of a break, this one actor who was dressed in an SS soldier’s uniform took out his phone and he checked the news and he saw who had been elected and he said, ‘Oh. Trump is president.’ The eeriness of knowing what that would mean, anticipating it even then, and seeing those words come out of his mouth while he was wearing that uniform and we were filming that scene…it was terrifying.”

Asante added, “I think what we understood really clearly in that moment is how language can be used to make the abnormal normal. And how the issues and the atrocities and the horrors that led to the Holocaust began with a use of language.”

More Film

  • John Hodges

    Jax Media Taps A24 Co-Founder John Hodges as Head of New Film Division

    TV production powerhouse Jax Media is expanding into film and tapped John Hodges, one of the founding partners of A24, as its new head of film. “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Jax,” Hodges said. “Theirs is a potent brand that I’ve admired for a long time, and their reputation as innovative partners [...]

  • Hong Kong's TVB Plans OTT Boost,

    Hong Kong's TVB Plans OTT Boost, Sets 'Court Lady' With Huanyu

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with court rivalry drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The [...]

  • Blue Planet II

    Documentaries Show Strong Signs of Growth in Global Markets

    Nearly 40% of exhibitors at FilMart this year are currently involved in documentary films. This year, there are 290 such exhibitors from 26 countries and regions, an increase of 30% from the year before, and 24 nonfiction titles in screening sessions, nearly double last year’s 13 titles. The market launched its “Doc World” section in [...]

  • Palanquin Offers New Business Model for

    Palanquin Offers New Business Model for East-West Productions in SVoD Era

    For Westerners making movies in Asia, logistics can be problematic. And, for Asian filmmakers able to navigate local conditions, screenwriting for international audiences and access to markets can still be stumbling blocks. Veteran producer and executive Guy Louthan (“The Mist,” “Raising Arizona”) is now developing a business that straddles East and West, deploys American production [...]

  • 'The Fall,' 'Out of Crimes' and

    Oriental Intl. Debuts at FilMart With Six New Films and Classic Fare

    Oriental Intl. makes its FilMart sales debut with a line-up of six new titles and a library of 20 arthouse classics and shorts. The firm is the Hong Kong branch of Chinese state-run radio and TV broadcaster CRI-CIBN’s smart TV division. The company has five employees but only one employee based permanently in Hong Kong. [...]

  • Ethnic Minorities in Spotlight at Hong

    Ethnic Minorities in Spotlight at Hong Kong Asian Project Market

    Historically, ethnic minorities around the world have suffered, and 2019 sees no change in this regard. A brace of HAF projects highlight some of the problems faced by them. From Iran, Arsalan Amiri’s horror/black comedy “Zalava” is set in a village terrified by demonic possession, where a young, agnostic police officer arrests challenges local beliefs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content