EXCLUSIVE: Tribeca-bound UK feature Jellyfish has been picked up for international sales by Bankside Films.
The hard-hitting drama about a teenage carer who discovers a hidden talent for stand-up comedy is the first feature from James Gardner, an allum of the UK’s prestigious National Film and Television School from a script he co-wrote with fellow newbie Simon Lord (Above The Clouds). The film is fronted by buzzed-about newcomer Liv Hill, who co-starred last year in acclaimed BBC TV drama Three Girls and who has a supporting role in Lenny Abrahamson’s upcoming chiller The Little Stranger. Additional cast includes Sinead Matthew (Mr. Turner) and BAFTA award nominee Cyril Nri (Cucumber).
First-timer Nikolas Holttum served as producer and arranged finance on the micro-budget movie, which will gets its world premiere in Tribeca’s View Points section. Bankside’s sales slate includes Sally Hawkins drama Eternal Beauty and Matt Bomer black-comedy Papi Chulo.
Stephen Kelliher, Director at Bankside Films, told us, “We were blown away by James Gardner’s intensely moving debut feature which announces him as compelling new voice in British cinema as well as introducing a super star in the making in Liv Hill. The film speaks directly to the times in which we live and we are thrilled to be introducing the film to the world at the forthcoming Tribeca Film Festival.”
Gardner added, “Little films can do big things and little films matter. Since finding us on the Edinburgh works-in-progress lab last year, the team at Bankside have shown nothing but unrelenting enthusiasm for Jellyfish, respecting the integrity of my vision for the film, while enabling it to find its biggest possible audience. To be working with such a well-respected sales company on my first feature film, and for it to be premiering at Tribeca, still feels a bit surreal, but I’m thrilled it’s happening and I look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with my next feature-film projects.”
Here’s the full synopsis: Between being bullied at school, put upon by her overbearing boss at the local amusement arcade and having to look after her younger brother, sister and emotionally unstable mother, life isn’t easy for Sarah Taylor. However, when Sarah’s drama teacher channels her ferocious and volatile energies in to a stand-up comedy routine for the graduation showcase, Sarah discovers that she may have a hidden talent. As her love for comedy grows and the showcase draws nearer, the delicate balance in her life becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Little by little the walls start to close in, ultimately forcing her to choose between her responsibilities as a carer and her newfound passion for comedy.