NZIFF Presents Psychological Thriller at Cannes Marché du Film

NZIFF Presents Psychological Thriller at Cannes Marché du Film
The Rule of Jenny Pen - Image created by Maria Rubinke, Open Minded, 2011, porcelain - Courtesy of the artist and Martin Asbaek Gallery

Excitement is mounting in the global film industry as Cannes Film Festival gets underway in two weeks time on 6 July. And this year, for the first time ever, NZIFF is presenting a film project in the prestigious Fantastic 7 finance market of the Cannes Marché du Film.

The market is the film industry’s biggest get-together with more than 12,500 participants and 1600 buyers.

Fantastic 7 spotlights upcoming productions in the global genre industry presenting them to international co-producers and distributors during the Cannes Film Festival in July.

The initiative, now in its third year, is a highly-curated showcase of only seven projects presented by seven different festivals from all over the planet – from 2021 onwards NZIFF joins the Fantastic 7 alongside SXSW (USA), Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (Catalonia), Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt), Guadalajara International Film Festival (Mexico) and BIFAN – Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea).

NZIFF will present James Ashcroft’s feature film in development, The Rule of Jenny Pen, selected in consultation with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).

The film will follow Ashcroft’s success earlier this year with his debut feature film Coming Home in the Dark which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival and opens in New Zealand cinemas in August.

Like Coming Home in the Dark, The Rule of Jenny Pen is based on a short story by New Zealand writer Owen Marshall. The psychological thriller is based around the story of the aged and ailing Judge Mortensen. Confined to a secluded rest home, the Judge must stop an elderly tyrant who uses a child’s puppet to abuse the home’s residents with deadly consequences.

NZIFF director Marten Rabarts said the festival jumped at the opportunity to be part of Fantastic 7. “We’re delighted to be putting forward James’ film at Fantastic 7. Coming Home In The Dark is a breath-taking debut which heralds him as the latest break-out talent in the long tradition of Aotearoa New Zealand’s horror/thriller and fantasy genre.”

NZFC Head of Marketing Jasmin McSweeney, says this exciting opportunity helps further cement New Zealand film and talent on the global stage at one of the most prestigious film festivals and markets in the world. “We congratulate and support the NZIFF as it joins this esteemed alliance of the world’s leading film festivals in the genre field.”

The Rule of Jenny Pen director James Ashcroft is thrilled to have his film selected for the Cannes Marché. “It’s seven years now since my co-writer Eli Kent and I started developing this script and we couldn’t imagine a better launchpad to kick off the international financing. It’s great that genre films are getting this kind of recognition in the world’s most revered and respected film festival space.”

The Fantastic 7 programme takes place online on Sunday 11 July and inclusion in the programme enables Ashcroft and producer Orlando Stewart to participate in the Cannes Marché du Film and pitch the film to distributors, investors, and production representatives from around the world.

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