Scottish talent included in Great8 Showcase for Cannes 2022

Aftersun, from Scottish writer/director Charlotte Wells and Scottish producer Amy Jackson, has been selected to feature in the annual Great8 Showcase for Cannes Film Festival 2022. This exciting news comes after the recent announcement that the Screen Scotland supported drama starring Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio will also showcase in the prestigious Cannes’ Critics Week.

The GREAT8 showcase presents new UK feature films from some of the UK’s most exciting emerging filmmakers to international distributors and festival programmers n the run-up to this year’s Cannes Marché. 

Now in its fifth edition, the 2022 GREAT8 showcase is funded and run by the BFI and the British Council, in partnership with BBC Film and Film4.

In preparation for the Marché, unseen footage from all of the titles will be introduced by their filmmakers and screened on Thursday 12 May exclusively to buyers and festival programmers and made available across five different time zones. All of the features will be available to buyers during the Cannes Marché (17-28 May).

International buyers and festival programmers welcome the opportunity offered by the GREAT8 to have an early look at the consistently high quality new UK films and co-productions being produced and the introductions given by their filmmakers.   

Neil Peplow, the BFI’s Director of Industry and International Affairs, says, “GREAT8 has established itself to become an excellent showcase that presents work from some of the UK’s most talented and diverse talent, each with a unique story to tell.

“We have seen how films from previous GREAT8 line-ups have gone on to be successful with worldwide audiences, and are excited by the interest being shown by buyers, programmers and industry in this year’s line-up which includes two films featuring in key Cannes sidebar selections as well as sneak peeks from six titles nearing completion.”

Briony Hanson, the British Council's Director of Film says: “It feels like another banner year for UK talent with a range of first and second features about to complete that are going to knock the socks off international audiences. It’s especially gratifying to see that they come from filmmakers working all around the UK and speaking from really diverse perspectives. This is another GREAT8 we can be really excited about.”

The GREAT8 2022 line-up 


UK | Drama
Charlotte Wells
Producers:  Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Mark Ceryak
Cast:  Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall
Production: PASTEL, Unified Theory, BBC Film, BFI, Screen Scotland, Tango
Sales: Charades

Synopsis: Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father 20 years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between miniDV footage as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.

Charlotte Wells is a Scottish filmmaker based in New York. She wrote and directed three short films as a student in the MBA/MFA dual-degree programme at NYU where she was supported by BAFTA New York and Los Angeles. Charlotte has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s ‘25 Faces of Independent Film’ and was a Fellow at the 2020 Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Aftersun is her first feature and has been selected for the Cannes 2022 Critics’ Week.


UK | Sci-fi
Director/Writer: Moin Hussain
Producers: Michelle Stein
Cast: Faraz Ayub, Natalie Gavin, Claire Rushbrook, Simon Nagra, Steve Oram, Jeff Mirza
Production: Escape Films, Film4, BFI, Screen Yorkshire
Sales: Bankside Films

Synopsis: Adam works night shifts at a motorway service station and lives a small and lonely life. Upon hearing that his estranged father has died, he finds himself in search of answers. Piecing together a complicated image of a man he never knew, Adam starts to become convinced he descends from an alien race. 

Moin is a London-based writer and director. His short films have screened in competition at festivals around the world, including Cannes’ Critics’ Week, Sitges, the BFI London Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival. Moin’s first feature Birchanger Green is currently in post-production. Supported and financed by Film4, the BFI and Screen Yorkshire the project was developed in conjunction with the Torino ScriptLab and took part in the Cannes Cinefondation L’Atelier.  He has been named as one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow. 


UK | Drama
Director/Writer: Georgia Oakley
Producer: Hélène Sifre
Cast: Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday
Production: Kleio Films, BBC Film, BFI
Sales: Film Constellation

Synopsis: It’s 1988. Thatcher’s government has just passed a law that stereotypes lesbians and gays as paedophiles, recruiting children for their ‘deviant’ lifestyles. Female Physical Education teachers are prime targets for homophobic accusations, and as a result, Jean is forced to lead a double life. During the week she’s a respected member of staff; at the weekend she slips surreptitiously into Newcastle’s gay scene with her girlfriend, Viv. But when she’s confronted by one of her students in a lesbian bar, Jean is pushed to extreme lengths to save her job and her sanity.

Georgia is a screenwriter and director interested in convention-defying, female-led narratives. Her award-winning shorts have screened at dozens of international festivals including SXSW, Tribeca, New York Film Festival and the Galway Film Fleadh. She has participated in talent development schemes including iFeatures, the BFI Flare & BAFTA mentorship scheme (where she was mentored by Desiree Akhavan), BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew and the 2018 edition of Berlinale Talents. Blue Jean is her first feature. Her second feature is currently in development with BBC Film. She is also adapting Anna Hope’s book ‘Expectation for June Films, to be directed by Clémence Poésy.


UK | Horror
Mark Jenkin
Producer: Denzil Monk
Cast: Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe, Flo Crowe, John Woodvine
Production: Bosena, Film4, Sound/Image Cinema Lab
Sales: Protagonist Pictures

Synopsis: Shot on 16mm, this Cornish folk horror film unfolds on an uninhabited island in the Celtic Sea where a wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower takes a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical.

Mark Jenkin is a filmmaker based in west Cornwall. His unique filmmaking style involves him acting as cinematographer and editor, and often hand-processing his own footage. He won a BAFTA for his feature film Bait, which premiered at Berlinale 2019 and became a significant breakout arthouse hit achieving critical and box office success. Other works include mid-length Bronco’s House (2014) and short films Vertical Shapes in a Horizontal Landscape (2018), and Hard, Cracked the Wind (2019). Enys Men has been selected for the Cannes 2022 Directors’ Fortnight.


UK/Palestine | Comedy
Director: Basil Khalil
Writers: Basil Khalil, Daniel Chan
Producer: Amina Dasmal
Cast: Loai Noufi, Stephen Mangan, Mouna Hawa, Maria Zreik, Adam Bakri,
Production: BFI, Film4, Alcove Filmed Entertainment, Twickenham Studios, Faiza Saleh Ambah, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
Sales: Protagonist Pictures

Synopsis: Israel is sealed off after the outbreak of a deadly virus and Gaza has become the safest place in the region, leaving a British journalist and his Israeli girlfriend trapped on the wrong side of the border. With no one else to turn to, they must entrust two Palestinian street merchants who promise a way out in exchange for much needed cash. What follows is a hilarious culture clash comedy-adventure as the couple desperately try any and everything to get back home. A refreshing laugh-out-loud comedy from the UK-Palestine team behind the Oscar®-nominated short film Ave Maria.

Basil Khalil was born and raised in Nazareth, to a Palestinian father and British-Irish mother. After studying for an MA at Screen Academy Scotland, Basil worked on a number of television productions in London. His first short film Ave Maria premiered in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. It went on to receive an Oscar® nomination and screen at over 300 film festivals, winning more than 35 awards. The New York Times described the film as ‘The Middle Eastern answer to Curb Your Enthusiasm’. A Gaza Weekend is his debut feature film.


UK/Luxembourg/France | Animated family adventure
Directors: Kirk Hendry, Neil Boyle
Writer: Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Producers: Camilla Deakin, Ruth Fielding, Stephen Roelants, Sarah Radclyffe, Barnaby Spurrier, Adrian Politowski, Martin Metz, Jean Labadie, Anne-Laure Labadie
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Cillian Murphy, Raffey Cassidy, Aaron MacGregor, Ken Wanatabe
Production: BFI, Align, Lupus Films, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Jigsaw Films, Melusine Productions, Le Pacte, Bumpybox, Film Fund Luxembourg, Ffilm Cymru Wales
Sales: Bankside Films

Synopsis: A young boy, shipwrecked on a remote island, discovers he is not alone when he clashes with an old Japanese soldier marooned there since World War II. But as dangerous invaders appear on the horizon, it becomes clear they must join forces to save their fragile island paradise. Kensuke’s Kingdom is a hand-drawn animated feature film based on the bestselling novel by ‘War Horse’ author Michael Morpurgo.

Kirk Hendry wrote and directed the award-winning short Junk (2011), which was selected at over 150 film festivals worldwide. He has directed commercials for The World Wildlife Fund, Ardbeg (whisky), The Guardian newspaper and won Gold Promax awards for his popular ITV Dancing On Ice polar bear promos.

Neil Boyle is a director and animator whose credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Thief and The Cobbler, The Jungle Book 2, Space Jam, and Tom and Jerry. In 2011, he directed the critically acclaimed animated short The Last Belle. He also collaborated with animation legend Sylvain Chomet on commercials, a music video, and a ‘couch gag’ for the iconic TV show The Simpsons. More recently, Neil designed and animated several hand-drawn sequences for Sherlock Gnomes, was lead animator on The Snowman and The Snowdog for Channel 4, and created 2D animation for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and the multi–Emmy award-winning Love, Death & Robots for Netflix.


UK | Comedy drama
Director/Writer: Charlotte Regan
Producer: Theo Barrowclough; Executive producers: Daniel Emmerson, Michael Fassbender, Conor McCaughan
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Olivia Brady, Lola Campbell, Ambreen Razia, Alin Uzun
Production: DMC Film, BFI, BBC Film, Great Point Media
Sales: Charades

Synopsis: Georgie is a 12-year-old girl who lives on her own in London. She’s happy about it, in fact she’d rather have it that way. She steals bikes with her best mate Ali and sells them on to get by. At home, her flat is filled with magic – the resident spiders are constantly making snarky comments and she seems to be building a strange tower into the sky from her mum's bedroom. When her estranged father turns up out of blue, she’s forced to confront what’s really going on.

Charlotte Regan is a filmmaker from London who grew up making low budget music promos and has created over 200 to date. Her first short film, Standby (2016) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and went on to be nominated for a BAFTA and win a Sundance Award. Her second short Fry-Up (2017) screened at the BFI London Film Festival, Sundance and the Berlinale, and her third short Dodgy Dave (2018) played at TIFF and the BFI London Film Festival. She is a Sundance Ignite Fellow, a BFI Future Film and New Talent award-winner and in 2020 she was named as one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow.


UK | Comedy drama
Director/Writer: Leo Leigh
Producer: Scott O’Donnell, Andy Brunskill, Tim Nash
Cast: Maggie O’Neill, Tony Pitts, Harry Trevaldwyn
Production: Somesuch, Sums Film & Media, BBC Film
Sales: Hanway Films

Synopsis: Sue is back on the dating scene. She meets a mysterious biker called Ron at her brother’s funeral and sparks fly. But when Ron introduces her to his social-media influencer son, Anthony, Sue finds herself in an increasingly surreal battle of wills with this ambitious teenager who, despite showing no signs of talent, is convinced that his dance troupe ‘Electric Destiny’ is tipped for stardom. Will she find the purpose and imagination to bring this little unconventional family together for a chance at happiness? Sweet Sue is an intimate comedy-drama that delves into finding love late in life. 

Leo Leigh’s work focuses on human stories, told through documentary, photography or film. They are colourful narrative portraits spanning worlds from the streets of Swansea to the ping-pong halls of New York. In 2008, Leigh began to work for Vice Films, where he made three hour-long documentaries. The last of these, Swansea Love Story, was picked up by CNN and widely lauded for its sensitive and human portrayal of an oft-stereotyped subject. He has since written and directed three short films, the BIFA-nominated Mother (2016), swiftly followed by Sometimes Chinese (for Channel 4’s Random Acts series) and Rewind Britain (2021). Sweet Sue is Leigh’s first feature length film. 


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Header image: Still from Aftersun, courtesy of Unified Theory Productions.