EXCLUSIVE: And they’re off! Poland is first out of the blocks this year by naming its submission to the 2021 International Oscar race – Malgorzata Szumowska’s Never Gonna Snow Again.
The comedy drama is set to premiere in Competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The Italian event is pressing on with plans to become the first major international fest to take place in the pandemic era, running September 2-12.
Szumowska has become one of Poland’s most recognized working directors since her 2001 feature debut Happy Man. Her credits include 2013 pic In The Name Of, which won prizes at the Berlin and Polish film festivals, the 2015 feature Body which won its director the Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Director and also the European Film Awards’ People’s Choice Award, and 2018 movie Mug, which again was a Berlinale winner, this time the Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix. Szumowska’s English-language debut, The Other Lamb, was released in the U.S. by IFC earlier this year.
Her latest work will mark Szumowska’s first time representing her country in the International Oscar race. Poland has a rich recent history with the category, having secured back-to-back nominations in the past two years with Cold War and Corpus Christi, following on from its win in 2015 with Ida.
Never Gonna Snow Again stars Alec Utgoff of Stranger Things fame and Ida actress Agata Kulesza in the story of a Ukrainian migrant working as a masseur in Poland who becomes a guru-like figure in the gated community where his clients live. It was written by Szumowska with Michal Englert and the pair also produced alongside Mariusz Wlodarski and Agnieszka Wasiak of Lava Films (whose Sweat was part of this year’s Cannes label), Viola Fügen and Michael Weber of German outfit The Match Factory Productions; the latter’s sales wing The Match Factory is also handling world rights on the project.
The 2021 Oscars have preemptively delayed until April 25 due to the pandemic disruption.
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