EXCLUSIVE: Warsaw-based New Europe Film Sales has acquired world sales rights for Adura Onashile’s feature debut Girl, starring rising French actress Déborah Lukumuena and big screen debutant Le’Shantey Bonsu.
The buzzy title, which was unveiled at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival’s Works in Progress showcase, was announced today as having been selected for the World Dramatic Competition of Sundance’s upcoming edition, running January 19-29, 2023
The Scotland-set drama tells the story of eleven-year-old Ama and her mother, Grace, who take solace in the gentle but isolated world they obsessively create.
But Ama’s thirst for life and her need to grow and develop challenge the rules of their insular world and gradually force Grace to reckon with a past she struggles to forget.
Established Glasgow-based theatre actress and director Onashile (Expensive Shit) wrote the screenplay and directs.
It marks the first English-language role for Lukumuena, who broke out internationally with her César-winning performance in Cannes Caméra d’Or winner Divines and has since won praise for roles in The Braves and opposite Gérard Depardieu in Robust.
Girl is produced by Glasgow-based Rosie Crerar and Ciara Barry at barry crerar with the backing of the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), BBC Film and Screen Scotland.
The feature was developed by BBC Film, after initially being part of the iFeatures programme, supported by Creative England, BFI and BBC Film.
BBC Film also previously co-financed Onashile’s award-winning short Expensive Shit. Girl marks the debut feature as lead producers for the barry crerar team.
The deal was negotiated by New Europe’s Head of Acquisitions, Marcin Łuczaj and the producers.
“Girl is such a mature debut film – intimate, beautifully observed, acted and shot. I’m sure it will make waves in Sundance. We are excited to bring it to the world in 2023,” said New Europe CEO Jan Naszewski.
New Europe Film Sales has a strong record in handling breakout first features including Tom Hardiman’s Medusa Deluxe and Valdimar Jóhannsson’s Lamb, which were both acquired by A24 for North America, Berlinale title Summer 1993 by Carla Simon.
Highlights of the company’s 2022 state include Hlynur Palmason’s Cannes Un Certain Regard title Godland, which was acquired by Janus.
The barry crerar duo said “We are thrilled to partner with the inventive team at New Europe Film Sales in 2023 as they take Adura Onashile’s Girl out to festivals and distributors internationally. We are proud to share with the world this beautiful, intimate film from Scotland, developed from seed by barry crerar since 2017.
Onashile is an award-winning Glasgow-based artist. She has just finished playing Medea in the National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival 2022 acclaimed production.
She has directed two productions, HeLa and Expensive S**t for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, winning a Fringe First, Edinburgh Guide Best Scottish Contribution to Drama and TOTAL and Amnesty nominations.
In 2020, she wrote and directed her screen debut, Expensive Shit, a BAFTA Scotland nominated short produced by barry crerar with backing from BBC Film and the Scottish Talent Network, which premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2020.
Production company barry crerar was set up in 2016 with the support of a BFI Vision Award. Other recent productions include Bouli Lanners’ Nobody Has To Know and Scott Graham’s Run.