World premiering at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival as a Gala Presentation, “The Song of Names” will play out of competition at what will be its international premiere.
Hanway Films is selling worldwide the film, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for the U.S.. Elevation Pictures will distribute in Canada; Filmax in Spain.
“The Song of Names” is based on a novel by British award-winning novelist and cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht, which Jeffrey Caine (“The Constant Gardener”) adapted.
Described as an “emotional detective story,” the film unfolds at the start of World War II, focusing on Dovidl, a 9-year-old violin prodigy who is a Polish-Jewish refugee in London. His brother Martin, of the same age, is devoted to him.
Hours before Dovidl’s debut concert performance at the age of 21 he vanishes without a trace. Decades later, a young violinist shows Martin, now in his late 50s, a stylistic flourish that could only have been taught by Dovidl. This prompts Martin to begin a search overseas for his lost brother.
Other cast include Catherine McCormack (“Braveheart”), Jonah Hauer King (“Little Women”) and Gerran Howell (“Emerald City”).The soundtrack is from three times Oscar-winning Canadian composer Howard Shore.
A Canada-U.K.-Hungary co-production, the film is produced by Robert Lantos (“Eastern Promises”) at Serendipity Point Films alongside Lyse Lafontaine (“Mommy”) and Nick Hirschkorn (“Five Children And It”).
“Song Of Names” marks Girard’s fourth feature with music as its main theme. In “Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould” (1993), he approached the real life of pianist Glenn Gould, and later, in “The Red Violin,” narrated the adventures of a violin traveling hand to hand. Moreover, “Boychoir” follows the story of the director of a boys’ choir, played by Dustin Hoffman.
The 67th San Sebastian Film Festival will open Sept. 20 with Roger Michell’s “Blackbird,” starring Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon, and a remake of Bille August’s “Silent Heart,” which screened in competition at the festival in 2014.