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, 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 a technopole on the French Riviera, a place where dreams should come true. But fear and despair lurk beneath the surface. Under a deceitful sun, five lives map out the haunting story of a young woman: Sophia.
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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