Virgil Vernier resurfaces with Sophia Antipolis
by Fabien Lemercier
- The second feature by the director of Mercuriales will have its world premiere in Locarno’s Filmmakers of the Present; it is being produced by Kazak and sold by Mk2
Shot shrouded in the utmost secrecy, Sophia Antipolis [+see also:
film profile], the second feature by the very promising Virgil Vernier, will be world-premiered in the competitive Filmmakers of the Present programme of the 71st Locarno Film Festival (1-11 August). The director previously took part in this very same section in 2012 with the medium-length film Orléans.
Having made a huge splash with his short films (Thermidor in the 2009 Directors’ Fortnight, and Pandore, which was nominated for a César Award in 2012), the filmmaker then made Mercuriales [+see also:
film profile], a debut feature that proved very popular among the critics and which was unveiled in the ACID selection at Cannes in 2014, as well as being nominated for the Louis-Delluc Award for Best Debut Film the same year.
For his new opus, Virgil Vernier has assembled a cast of non-professional actors including Dewy Kunetz, Dany, Bruck and Sandra Poitoux, and he wrote the screenplay himself. Sophia Antipolis is the name of that strange territory nestled between the Mediterranean Sea, the forest and the mountains. Under a blinding sun, various men and women go about in search of meaning, a social bond, a community. They will cross paths with the fate of a young girl who has vanished.
Produced by Jean-Christophe Reymond for Kazak Productions, with Amaury Ovise on board as associate producer, Sophia Antipolis was co-produced by M141. The feature, which was backed by the CNC’s advance on receipts, the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and the Arte Cofinova Sofica, was filmed over a period of six weeks (in Nouvelle Aquitaine and in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region). The French distribution will be managed by Shellac and the international sales by Mk2 Films.
As a reminder, Kazak Productions recently produced The Price of Success [+see also:
interview: Teddy Lussi-Modeste
film profile] by Teddy Lussi-Modeste (selected at Toronto and in the New Directors section of San Sebastián last year), Corporate [+see also:
interview: Nicolas Silhol
film profile] by Nicolas Silhol (in competition at Karlovy Vary in 2017), A Taste of Ink [+see also:
interview: Morgan Simon
film profile] by Morgan Simon (Special Mention in New Directors at San Sebastián in 2016) and The Wakhan Front [+see also:
film profile] by Clément Cogitore (Cannes Critics’ Week in 2015). The Paris-based outfit currently has Savage by Vincent Mariette (see the article) and the co-production Roads by Germany’s Sebastian Schipper in post-production.
(Translated from French)
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