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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Belgium / Lithuania

Ahead of its Karlovy Vary premiere, Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper disclose more details about Vesper


- The French-Lithuanian sci-fi drama is set after the collapse of the Earth’s ecosystem and follows Vesper, a 13-year-old girl struggling to survive with her paralysed father

Ahead of its Karlovy Vary premiere, Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper disclose more details about Vesper
Raffiella Chapman in Vesper

Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper’s sci-fi drama Vesper [+see also:
film review
interview: Kristina Buožytė and Bruno …
film profile
is one of the most highly anticipated titles set to screen at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (1-9 July – see the news). The feature will world-premiere in the gathering’s main competition.

The story, penned by the directorial duo together with Brian Clark, is set after the collapse of the Earth's ecosystem (listen to our podcast episode). It follows Vesper (Raffiella Chapman, who garnered international attention for her starring role in Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children), a headstrong 13-year-old girl who uses her survival skills to subsist in the remnants of a strange and dangerous world with her ailing father, Darius (Richard Brake, who recently appeared in the series The Mandalorian). When Vesper finds a mysterious woman, Camellia (Rosy McEwen, who made her screen debut alongside Daniel Brühl and Dakota Fanning in the series The Alienist: Angel of Darkness), alone and disorientated after an air crash, she agrees to help find her missing companion in exchange for safe passage to the Citadel – the dark central hub where oligarchs live in comfort thanks to state-of-the-art biotechnology. Vesper soon discovers that her brutal neighbour, Jonas (veteran Eddie Marsan), is searching for Camellia, who harbours a secret that could change all of their lives forever. Forced into a dangerous adventure, Vesper must rely on her wits and her bio-hacking abilities to unlock the key to an alternative future.

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Alongside the star-studded cast, the project’s technical crew includes DoP Feliksas Abrukauskas, composer Dan Levy, production designers Ramūnas Rastauskas and Raimondas Dičius, and editor Suzanne Fenn. Meanwhile, the producing team includes Buozyte herself, Asta Liukaitytė, Daiva Varnaitė-Jovaišienė and Alexis Perrin.

Speaking about the strong social and ecological commentary that can be found in the film, Samper said: “For Vesper, we wanted to push the idea of the privatisation of living organisms. A few years ago, an American company patented a genetically modified seed called ‘terminator’. It’s a seed that gave only one harvest and became sterile after that. Basically, it was a subscription system on living plants. This idea is terrifying and fascinating at the same time. [...] We have imagined a future that would be like a new Middle Ages, and Vesper is the story of the seed of a Renaissance. It's a film about hope, the hope that we will always find beauty, and that's what will always give us a reason to live, even in a future that we are told is apocalyptic. It may sound a bit naive, but it is the simple message, in which we deeply believe, that we wanted to put at the heart of the story.”

Buozyte added: “Beyond the science-fiction framework, Vesper is also an initiation story with a message for our society, which is turning more and more to escapism. Facing various problems – economic, social and political – more and more people prefer to flee, rather than confront and solve them.”

Vesper is being staged by Lithuania’s Natrix Natrix and France’s Rumble Fish Productions, in co-production with Belgian outfit 10.80 Films and French company EV.L Prod, with the participation of OCS, Wallimage, VOO and BeTV, and with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre, the Lithuanian Tax Incentive, France’s CNC, Eurimages, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance, the Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government, the European Union’s Creative Europe – MEDIA programme and SACEM. Its international sales have been entrusted to Anglo-French firm Anton.

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