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‘Breakthrough’ Jersey director headhunted by Film4

‘Breakthrough’ Jersey director headhunted by Film4

Friday 26 October 2018

‘Breakthrough’ Jersey director headhunted by Film4

Friday 26 October 2018

After the success of his Jersey-based psycho-thriller, a local director has been headhunted by Film4 to direct a new sci-fi movie in the same week as his film was listed for four prestigious British film awards.

Michael Pearce has been selected to direct the new film 'Invasion', a screenplay by the writer of Channel 4 series 'Humans', after he gaining the production company's attention with his short film 'Rite' and then blowing them away with the success of 'Beast'.

Katherine Butler, who runs the TV and Drama team for Raw, a production company that will work with Film4, announced the news to Screen Daily yesterday.

She commented: "We loved Michael’s short film Rite, and when we saw the hugely accomplished Beast we felt Michael had surpassed all our expectations – the brilliantly unnerving genre-warping tension that Michael found, coupled with the incredible performances he drew out of his leads made it crystal clear to us that he would do something extraordinary with Joe’s riveting script.”


Pictured: The leads in Michael Pearce's film 'Beast' Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn. 

The news of Pearce's new role on 'Invasion' comes soon after the announcement that 'Beast' is up for four British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), which recognise promising newcomers in directing, writing, production and performance.

The BIFAs are some of the most sought-after awards in the industry and the Jersey thriller features prominently on all four of the ‘breakthrough’ categories.

Pearce, who has been supported by ArtHouse Jersey has been nominated for the ‘debut screenwriter’ and ‘debut director’, while the film’s leading lady, Jessie Buckley, is up for ‘most promising newcomer’. The film’s producer Kristian Brodie is also in the running for the ‘breakthrough producer’ award.

Drawing on elements of the notorious ‘Beast of Jersey’, Edward Paisnel, who terrorised the island with sex crimes during the 1960s, the film is a twisted love story between two outsiders, Moll (Jessie Buckley) and Pascal (Johnny Flynn). 

Video: A trailer for the BIFA Award-listed film, which is set and partially filmed in Jersey.

The couple’s liaison takes place on the background of a series of young women being murdered and Pascal’s dark past causes the island community to cast their suspicion on him.

'Beast', which was premiered at Toronto Film Festival last September, has been highly praised nationally and internationally - it received a nomination for a European Film Academy Award, as well as making it onto The Guardian’s ‘Best films of 2018 so far’ list.

The BIFA long lists will be cut down to just five titles each next week when the official nominations are announced on 31 October.

Lead picture: (Protagonist Pictures)

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