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Paul Mescal film Aftersun wins Critics' Week award at Cannes Film Festival; God's Creatures premieres to critical acclaim
31 May 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Paul Mescal in Aftersun.
It was a hugely successful week for actor Paul Mescal whose Donegal-set A24 psychological thriller God’s Creatures premiered to critical acclaim, while his other feature Aftersun picked up the French Touch Prize of the Jury in the Critic’s Week sidebar.

The Normal People stars has found himself well placed within a hugely successful string of BBC-supported productions since he first came to prominence on Element Pictures global hit in 2020 with BBC Films, the feature filmmaking arm of the BBC, also backing both of Mescal’s Cannes-selected projects.

The first of these being Aftersun, the debut feature of Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells, which stars newcomer Frankie Corio and Celia Rowlson-Hall as the child and adult versions of Sophie, who reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father, played by Paul Mescal. Wells both wrote and directed the project that was selected for the Critics’ Week sidebar at Cannes where it won the French Touch Prize of the Jury.

Produced by Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins, and Mark Ceryak, Aftersun is a Pastel and Unified Theory production presented by BBC Film, BFI, and Creative Scotland, in association with Tango. The film was developed with BBC Film and was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Directors and Screenwriters Labs in 2020. Sales are being handled by Charades.

Mescal’s other project, God’s Creatures is directed by Saela Davis & Anna Rose Holmer (their debut feature as a directing team) with a screenplay by Shane Crowley from a story by Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly & Shane Crowley.

In a windswept fishing village, a mother (Emily Watson) is torn between protecting her beloved son (Paul Mescal) and her own sense of right and wrong. A lie she tells for him rips apart their family and close-knit community in this tense, sweepingly emotional epic.

The Nine Daughters production is produced by Oscar nominated Irish producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, following her award-winning and critically acclaimed films Ammonite and Lady Macbeth, which were also backed by BBC Film.

God’s Creatures was selected for the coveted Directors’ Fortnight sidebar where it premiered to critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was developed with the support of Screen Ireland, BBC Film and A24. It is co-financed by A24, BBC Film, Screen Ireland, and the Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund/WRAP. A24 controls worldwide rights.

Another BBC Film project secured the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, with Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness scooping the Palme d’Or. The uninhibited satire starring Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, and Woody Harrelson, is the first film in the English language by Östlund, who previously won the Palme d’Or in 2017 with his comedy The Square.

Speaking about the success, Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film, said: “We’re honoured at BBC Film to have backed Triangle of Sadness and thrilled that Ruben Östlund's distinctive work has been recognised with the Palme d'Or. Congratulations to Ruben and his team, including UK producer Mike Goodridge, on this fantastic achievement.”

"We're also delighted that exciting new voice Charlotte Wells has been recognised for the brilliant AFTERSUN. Heartfelt congratulations to her and her team, including producers Adele Romanski and Amy Jackson," Yates concluded.

Click here for the full list of winners at the Cannes Film Festival.

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