Conic picks up Mark Cousins’ documentary ‘A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things’ for UK/Ireland distribution

Conic has picked up all UK and Ireland rights for Mark Cousins’ latest feature documentary, A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things, ahead of its world premiere on 3 July at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where it will play in competition.

Featuring Tilda Swinton as the voice of Scottish painter Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, this is the story of a remarkable artist and a magnificent obsession.

One day in 1949, a young Scottish painter climbed a Swiss glacier. The experience rewired her brain, and transformed her art. Barns-Graham was synaesthetic – associating letters, names and people with particular colours – and Cousins explores how her neurodiversity and her encounter with the glacier shaped her vision of the world.

Black and white image of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whe is shown from the shoulders up, and wears glasses and a black top. credit Ander Gunn

Born and raised in St Andrews, Barns-Graham was a member of the St Ives group of modernist artists, who lived in the Cornish seaside town from the Second World War onwards. The glacier paintings inspired by her experience in Switzerland were the breakthrough in her artistic career. Through a cinematic immersion into her art and life, the film explores themes of gender, neurodiversity, climate change, and the nature of creativity from youth to old age.

Made with the support of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, the film delves into her archives, private notebooks and diaries from her 65-year career. Two decades after her death in 2004, the film represents a major reassessment of Barns-Graham’s life and work, and her place in 20th century art.

A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things was produced by Mary Bell and Adam Dawtrey for BofA Productions. This is their fifth feature with Mark Cousins following A Story of Children and Film (2013), Stockholm My Love (2016), The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018) and The Story of Looking (2021). It was made with the support of the National Lottery via Screen Scotland, with Mark Thomas serving as executive producer.

Producers Adam Dawtrey and Mary Bell said: “As a dynamic young company based in Glasgow, Conic is our ideal partner to distribute this visually ravishing film about a great Scottish artist, by one of Scotland's most original filmmakers."

Conic acquired the film from sales agent Reservoir Docs.

Anaïs Clanet, Partner and Head of Sales said: “The whole team is delighted to collaborate with Conic. They release the best of cinematic films every year and we're proud to be part of their 2024 line up.”

Conic will release A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things in UK and Ireland in October 2024.

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Conic is a UK/Ireland distributor that loves incredible films.

Reservoir Docs

Renamed in June 2020, Reservoir Docs is an independent international sales company specialized in cultural, engaged and cinematic documentaries.

Among the titles, A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things by the award-winning director Mark Cousins, A Hip-Hop Minute starring LL cool J & DMC by Pascal Garnier & Michel Gondry Do It Yourself by François Nemeta, selected in Venice 2023.

Reservoir Docs took over Anaïs’ former catalogue including the timeless multi-awarded  The Black Mix Powertape.

BofA Productions

Mary Bell and Adam Dawtrey founded BofA Productions in 2013, based in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland. They specialize in producing feature documentaries about art and culture, with an international perspective.

Mary Bell was previously deputy managing director of Hat Trick Productions, where she executive produced Father Ted and Have I Got News For You. In 1989 she produced the Academy Award-winning short film Work Experience. Adam Dawtrey was previously European Editor of Variety.

A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things is their fifth feature by Mark Cousins, following A Story of Children and Film (2013), Stockholm My Love (2016), The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018) and The Story of Looking (2021). Their other feature credits include Antonia Bird: From Eastenders to Hollywood (Susan Kemp, 2016), Iorram (Alastair Cole, 2021), La Sagrada Familia (Borja Alcade, 2022) and Celluloid Underground (Ehsan Khoshbakht, 2023).

Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins is a globally award-winning Irish/Scottish filmmaker and writer, based in Edinburgh. He’s best known for his documentaries about cinema and visual culture, including The Story of Film, The Eyes of Orson Welles, The Story of LookingWomen Make Film and The March on Rome. Over the past decade, his films have screened at most of the world’s major festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Telluride and Sundance. In 2020 he won the European Film Academy’s inaugural Innovation Award. In 2022 he received the Outstanding Contribution to Cinema Medal at the Telluride Film Festival, followed in 2023 by the Persistence of Vision Award from the San Francisco Film Festival; the Maverick Award at the Dublin Intl Film Festival; the Outstanding Contribution to Film and Culture Award from the Ismailia Film Festival in Egypt; and the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award from the Sarajevo Film Festival in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the art of film. His latest book of essays, Dear Orson Welles, is published in July 2024.

Screen Scotland

Screen Scotland drives development of all aspects of Scotland’s film and tv industry, through funding and strategic support.

Screen Scotland is part of Creative Scotland and delivers these services and support with funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery. 

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust was established by the Scottish artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in 1987.

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust exists to enhance the reputation and understanding of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham as one of Britain’s most significant 20th century artists, and through her legacy support young people and other individuals to fulfil their potential in the visual arts.

The Trust is registered as a charity in Scotland No. SCO16854.

Image Credits

Header image: Still from A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things, courtesy BOFA Productions

Image of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, credit Ander Gunn