BBC Unveils Film Slate And Cannes Lauds Malick

The BBC was in Cannes to support Lynne Ramsay’;s acclaimed We Need to Talk About Kevin, but also used the Festival to confirm its commitment to “developing new talent” in film drama.

Unveiling a slate of titles, it said theatre director Rufus Norris will direct his first feature, Broken, an adaptation by Mark O’;Rowe of Daniel Clay’;s novel which is described as “a modern take on the themes of Harper Lee’;s classic To Kill A Mockingbird”. Cillian Murphy stars and Dixie Linder, Nick Marston and Tally Garner will produce.

BBC Films is also working with Morgan Matthews, a young documentary director who will move into feature films with an adaptation of his 2005 BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds. Written by James Graham and developed by the UK Film Council, The X And Y Factor is a rites of passage story about a group of teenagers competing at the International mathematical Olympiad. It follows the story of one maths prodigy trying to discover a formula for love.

Other upcoming titles include an adaptation of Rose Tremain’;s Music And Silence and a feature called Shadow Dancer. Based on a script by journalist Tom Bradby from his own novel, Shadow Dancer tells the story of a young mother in the Irish Republican movement and stars Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Aidan Gillen and Gillian Anderson. BBC Films is also backing a Mike Newell-directed version of Great Expectations and a big-screen adaptation of Arthur Ransome’;s children’;s masterpiece Swallows & Amazons.

“The ambition of Lynne Ramsay’;s We Need To Talk About Kevin, which has been embraced by critics in Cannes, represents what we are trying to do across the entire slate at BBC Films – supporting brilliant talent and finding fresh, original, challenging and entertaining stories. The rich and diverse lineup of releases in the year to come represents BBC Films’; determination to deliver a truly eclectic range of films,” explained Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films.

Meanwhile, publicity-shy US director Terrence Malick has won this year’;s Palme d’;Or for Best Film at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Malick won the contest with The Tree Of Life, a movie about a 1950s Midwestern US family that stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film was singled out by a judging jury chaired by screen icon Robert De Niro.

Malick won Best Director in 1979 with Days of Heaven. But he rarely gives out interviews and was not present to claim the new prize. Instead, producer Bill Pohlad received the Award, saying: “He is thrilled with this, as are all of us.”

The other big story was the Award of Best Actress to Kirsten Dunst for her role in Lars von Trier’;s movie Melancholia. Dunst’;s Award came in the aftermath of a controversy which saw Von Trier banned from the Festival for referring to himself as a Nazi in an ill-feted attempt at humour.

Runners Up prize The Grand Prix was shared by Belgian directors Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne for Le Gamin Au Velo and Turkey’;s Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’;da (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia). France’;s Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for The Artist. Dane Nicolas Winding Refn won Best Director for Drive.

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