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Sky Italia Backs Its First English-Language Film, Thriller ‘Shadows’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Sky Italia is backing its first English-language movie, an innovative Ireland-set chiller working-titled “Shadows,” starring Saskia Reeves (“Luther”) and young British talents Mia Threapleton (“A Little Chaos”) and Lola Petticrew (“A Bump Along the Way”).

Production just wrapped near Dublin on this “elevated genre film,” as director Carlo Lavagna describes it.

The Vision Distribution original will mark the first pic sold internationally by the Comcast-owned pay-TV operator through Sky Italia’s Vision Distribution unit.

“Shadows” is centered on family dynamics in a post-apocalyptic world where a mother and her two daughters must avoid contact with daylight and its shadows in order to survive. 

Reeves plays the controlling mother of two adolescent girls named Alma, played by Threapleton, who is Kate Winslet’s daughter, and Alex, played by Petticrew. The daughters try to rebel and emancipate themselves by escaping their confinement, but their relationship also becomes conflictriven. 

“Shadows,” which combines psychological thriller, horror, and coming-of-age tropes, according to Lavagna, is largely set in an abandoned hotel in the woods, found by the production near the Irish village of Howth. The film was also shot in the thick forest land of Wicklow County, south of Dublin.

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“I’m trying to elevate pure genre and also to reconnect with great Italian genre movies of the past that traveled widely,” said Lavagna, who added that the pic will have a “very retro” tone. 

The young Italian helmer made a splash at Venice in 2015 with his first feature, alternative gender identity drama “Arianna,” which he is following up with “Shadows.” Lavagna is repped by Artists First.

Rome’s Ascent Film is co-producing with Dublin-based Feline Films run by Nathalie Biancheri and Jessie Fisk, a producer on recent standout Irish drama “Rialto,” and RAI Cinema and Screen Ireland.

Ascent Film’s Andrea Paris, who is the lead producer on “Shadows,” said his goal is to “basically play in another league” with this English-language genre film that will be dubbed into Italian for local play.

“Shadows” will go out in Italian movie theaters via Vision Distribution, which is Sky Italia’s theatrical distribution arm, then play on Sky Italia. But, in another significant first, it will subsequently air on pubcaster RAI.

“It’s the first case of two Italian broadcasters joining forces on a film and splitting the windows,” said Paris, who noted that Sky and RAI “are joining forces [on this film] to counter the onslaught of streaming giants.”

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