In today’s Global Bulletin, the Zurich festival opens with “My Wonderful Wanda,” Philip Garrel, Tsai Ming-liang and Hong Sang-soo are contenders at San Sebastian, a new talent agency launches with “The Crown” actor Emma Corrin, WaZabi picks up Toronto title “Beans,” and the U.K. celebrates returning to cinemas.
Bettina Oberli’s “My Wonderful Wanda” will open the 16th Zurich film festival on Sept. 24, the first time the event is opening with a film by a female director.
The film was supposed to bow at Tribeca, until the coronavirus pandemic forced its postponement to 2021. Consequently, it will have its world premiere at Zurich.
“My Wonderful Wanda” tells the story of Polish-born Wanda who looks after patriarch and post-stroke patient Josef at his lakeside family villa. The work is poorly paid, but Wanda needs the money to support her own family back in Poland. As a live-in caregiver, she gains an intimate view of the family’s life.
The cast includes Agnieszka Grochowska, Marthe Keller, André Jung, Birgit Minichmayr, Jacob Matschenz and Anatole Taubman.
“ ‘My Wonderful Wanda’ is a movie that captivated the entire programming team,” said festival artistic director Christian Jungen. “It’s the perfect opening film and an ideal programming choice. On the one hand, it combines the entertainment value of mainstream auteur cinema with the standards to which our gala section is committed. On the other hand, it marks a new dawn of Swiss filmmaking, one that is able to reflect who we are in an entertaining and intelligent manner.”
“Family is a motif that I often return to in my films, and here it is again in this very human comedy: what is it about this strange microcosm that makes one feel secure or, indeed, suffocated?,” said Oberli. “I was also interested in what happens when a complete stranger, in this case the Polish caregiver Wanda, penetrates so deeply into a family structure that it leads to unavoidable intimacy.”
The festival runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 4.
France’s Philippe Garrel, Taiwan’s Tsai Ming-liang and South Korea’s Hong Sang-soo are among the Berlinale alumni who will compete for the San Sebastian film festival’s Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Award. Hong comes to the festival with Silver Bear winner “The Woman Who Ran,” Tsai with Teddy special mention title “Days,” and Garrel with Golden Bear nominee “The Salt of Tears.”
Catarina Vasconcelos’ Berlin FIPRESCI Prize winner “The Metamorphosis of Birds” is also in the fray as is Camilo Restrepo’s Berlin best first feature winner “Encounters,” Sandra Wollner’s Berlin Encounters special jury prize winner “The Trouble With Being Born” and Song Fang’s Berlin C.I.C.A.E. Award winner “The Calming.”
Nicolás Pereda’s Toronto title “Fauna,” Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s Venice Horizons title “Yellow Cat,” and Juan Cavestany’s “An Optical Illusion” complete the list.
The winning film gets €20,000 ($23,590), €6,000 of which will go to the film’s director, and the remaining €14,000 to its Spanish distributor.
The Zabaltegi-Tabakalera segment will also screen nine short films from directors including Peter Strickland, Leonardo van Dijl, Sameh Alaa and Naïla Guiguet.
Emma Corrin, who plays Diana Spencer in Netflix’s “The Crown,” BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Abubakar Salim (“Raised by Wolves”), British Independent Film Awards’ most promising newcomer Lily Newmark (“Pin Cushion”), Jordan Bolger (“Peaky Blinders”) and Sam Clemmett (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) are some of the talent on the roster of new boutique U.K. talent management agency and production house Insight Management & Production.
The outfit is founded by agents Maya Hambro, Tom Jeggo and Charlie Wilson with Tim Bradbeer as an associate. It will offer personal management while also working with clients to option and develop new and existing IP.
“We formed Insight with the aim of creating an agency model which combines the dynamism of the boutique with an international reach,” Hambro, Jeggo and Wilson said in a statement. “Undoubtedly our ambition is to support and propel our clients to the very top of the industry, but we also want to empower them to expand their goals beyond acting, facilitating exciting new projects under the Insight Productions banner.”
Sales outfit WaZabi Films has picked up the world rights excluding Canada to Tracey Deer’s Toronto title “Beans.” The film is selected in Toronto’s Next Wave Discovery strand.
In “Beans,” inspired by true events, a Mohawk girl on the cusp of adolescence must grow up fast and become her own kind of warrior during an armed stand-off known as the 1990 Oka Crisis.
“Even though ‘Beans’ takes place in the early ‘90s, its universal message can still be heard loud and clear across the world today,” said Deer. I made the film to inspire, to open hearts and minds, and to give a voice to people that feel unheard.”
“ ‘Beans’ is a very timely film. We are excited to share Tracey’s voice with the world. The spirit of the film aligns with the diverse voices we are hearing standing up for what is right,” said WaZabi co-presidents Anick Poirier and Lorne Price.
The film is produced by EMA Film’s Anne-Marie Gélinas and Mongrel Media will release the film in Canada. Heading into Toronto, WaZabi has also added Benoit Pilon’s “The Vinland Club” from producer Chantal Lafleur to its lineup.
Cinema First, the industry body responsible for the promotion of cinemagoing in the U.K., has launched #LoveCinema, a countrywide campaign designed to remind audiences about the big screen experience. Cinemas in the U.K. have now reopened after months in lockdown.
Central to the campaign is a cinematic montage created by Empire Design, which celebrates some of the most memorable moments from cinema history, and teases upcoming titles including Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” Daniel Craig in his final outing as James Bond in “No Time to Die,” Gal Gadot reprising her superhero role in “Wonder Woman 1984,” and Scarlett Johansson in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”
The campaign follows on from the industry-wide safer cinema initiative, with cinemas following a comprehensive set of government guidelines, produced by the U.K. Cinema Association, to ensure that audiences feel as safe as possible.
“The global pandemic has had a colossal impact on the film industry, presenting cinemas across the U.K. with unprecedented challenges,” said Cinema First chair Iain Jacob. As an industry that employs over 20,000 dedicated people, of which 40% are under the age of 30, they need our support. Cinemas are ready to welcome audiences back, and we are calling on the great British film-loving public to escape back to the cinema and enjoy a safer big screen experience.”