07 March, 2012

Brit Musical At SXSW

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

The South By Southwest Film Festival and Conference (SXSW) is rather dominated by American independent features, documentaries and shorts. However, there is a smattering of European titles spread among the various program strands. One of the most anticipated is the UK musical drama HUNKY DORY, directed by Marc Evans, and featuring a cast that includes Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch and Robert Pugh. In the film, set during the summer of 1976, a drama teacher fights sweltering heat and general teenage apathy to put on an end of year music version of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. To engage her students, she uses hits of the time, which are performed by a fresh young cast led by screen find Aneurin Barnard. What emerges is a funny and tender tale reflecting the high school experience itself in which the kids’ voices add a particular poignancy and beauty to some familiar classic tunes, making the film a nostalgia trip for the older audience members and a fresh introduction to some classic pop to the younger cinema goers. The film's GLEE like atmosphere could very well help it find a North American distribution deal.

Director Marc Evans had his first success with MY LITTLE EYE, a UK indie film. A psychological thriller followed, the Warner Brothers’ film TRAUMA starring Colin Firth and Mena Suvari. In 2007, he scored with SNOW CAKE, starring Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss, which opened the Berlin Film Festival before going on to international success. The film was produced by the Aegis Film Fund and first premiered at the London Film Festival. The international sales agent is London-based Independent Film Company (www.independentfilmcompany).

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