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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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BBC Films' Bright Star and Fish Tank set for Cannes Competition

Fish Tank, directed by Andrea Arnold, featuring Katie Jarvis as Mia

Maintaining the impetus of a very encouraging start to the year for BBC Films, two of their co-productions, Jane Campion's Bright Star and Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, have been selected for prestigious Competition slots at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, it was announced today.

Andrea Arnold won the Prix du Jury at the 2006 Cannes Festival for her debut feature Red Road, for which she won many other awards including the Carl Foreman BAFTA Award in 2007.

Fish Tank, starring Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Katie Jarvis, Rebecca Griffiths and Harry Treadaway, and written by Andrea Arnold, is the story of how 15-year-old Mia's life is turned on its head when her mum brings home a new boyfriend. Arnold casts the same unflinching, unprejudiced gaze and touches on the themes of her Oscar-winning short, Wasp, to create an original and unsettling tale for our age.

Jane Campion's Bright Star will be her first film in Competition in Cannes since her Palme d'Or triumph with The Piano in 1993, which also won her two Oscars – as Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Written by Campion, the film is an intense exploration of the two-year relationship between the 18-year-old Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) and the 23-year-old romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw). Producers are Jane Campion, Jan Chapman and Caroline Hewitt.

Both Cannes Competition films were Executive Produced by Christine Langan of BBC Films and David Thompson, who commissioned their development prior to leaving BBC Films last year.

"We're delighted to have supported Jane Campion and Andrea Arnold – two brilliantly unique female directors – and we're thrilled to see Bright Star and Fish Tank - such strikingly distinct films – in competition this year," said Christine Langan, Commissioning Editor, BBC Films.

"This eclectic mix is precisely what we're seeking to achieve for BBC Films in partnership with the industry as a whole."

BBC Films has enjoyed a great start to the year with positive reviews and good box office figures for Tom Hooper's passionate and dramatic story of Brian Clough's 44-day period as manager of Leeds United, The Damned United.

Also packing them in after a slew of rave reviews and wide coverage is Armando Iannucci's razor-sharp political comedy In The Loop.

On the Festival circuit pre-Cannes, both In The Loop and Easy Virtue (Stephan Elliott's comedy adapted from the Noel Coward play) will screen in the Spotlight section of the Tribeca Film Festival in late April.

BBC Films' upcoming releases give good grounds for optimism too. This week sees the opening through Metrodome of the much-praised Shifty from newcomer Eran Creevy, the second film to emerge from Film London and the BBC's Microwave Scheme.

An urban thriller charting an exhilarating 24 hours in the life of a charismatic small-town drug dealer, the film stars Daniel Mays, Riz Ahmed and Jason Flemyng.

Next up will be John Crowley's second feature Is Anybody There? (1 May through Optimum), the funny, moving story of a young boy living in an old people's home who strikes up a relationship with a retired magician. An exceptional cast includes Michael Caine, David Morrissey, Anne-Marie Duff and young Bill Milner.

The Tormented, Jon Wright's debut feature, a witty chiller in which a bullied teenager comes back from the dead to take his revenge on his tormentors, opens 22 May, through Pathe.

The list of BBC Films in post production is no less enticing, including Martin Campbell's Edge Of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone, based on the award-winning BBC TV mini-series; Debbie Isitt's follow up to Confetti, Nativity, starring Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Jason Watkins and Marc Wootton; Stephen Poliakoff's eve of Second World War drama Glorious 1939, starring Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, Eddie Redmayne and David Tennant; and Paul Bettany and Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly playing Charles and Emma Darwin in Jon Amiel's Creation, a powerful story illustrating a key period in Darwin's life – the years while he was formulating one of the most important works ever written, On The Origin Of Species.

There's also Scott Hicks' The Boys Are Back, a funny and moving film about being a lone parent in a world without rules, starring Clive Owen; and Grant Heslov's Men Who Stare At Goats (from Jon Ronson's book), starring George Clooney (who also produces), Jeff Bridges, Ewan MacGregor and Kevin Spacey – a darkly comic tale of the war on terror and America's zeal to save the world.

Notes to Editors

Bright Star: Pathe Productions, Film Finance Corporation Australia, BBC Films and the UK Film Council present in association with the New South Wales Film and Television Office and Hopscotch International.

Creation: Recorded Picture Company, BBC Films, HanWay, Jeremy Thomas present in association with Ocean, BBC Films and HanWay a Recorded Picture Company production. A Jon Amiel Film.

Easy Virtue: Ealing Studios in association with Endgame Entertainment, Odyssey Entertainment, and BBC Films present a Fragile Film in association with Joe Abrams Productions and Prescience.

Edge Of Darkness: Co-produced by Graham King Productions and BBC Films.

In The Loop: BBC Films and UK Film Council present in association with Aramid Entertainment an Armando Iannucci film.

Fish Tank: BBC Films and the UK Film Council in association with Limelight present a Kees Kasander production.

Glorious 39: BBC Films, UK Film Council, Screen East Content Investment Fund and Quickfire Films present a Talkback Thames production in association with Magic Light Pictures. A Stephen Poliakoff Film.

Is Anybody There?: BBC Films and Big Beach present a Heyday Films / Big Beach Production.

Men Who Stare At Goats: Winchester in association with BBC Films presents A Smoke House/Paul Lister Production. International sales by Mandate International.

Nativity: BBC Films and Screen West Midlands present in association with Limelight, a Mirrorball Films Production of a Debbie Isitt film.

Shifty: Film London's Microwave in association with BBC Films presents a Between the Eyes production

The Boys Are Back: Miramax Films present in association with BBC Films and Screen Australia and South Australian Film Corporation and Hopscotch Films, a Tiger Aspect Pictures Productions in association with Southern Light Films.

The Damned United: Columbia Pictures Industries Inc, BBC Films in association with Screen Yorkshire present a Left Bank Pictures production.

The Tormented: BBC Films, Screen West Midlands and Slingshot present a Forward Films/Slingshot production.


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