BEOWULF & GRENDEL
DIRECTED BY STURLA GUNNARSSON
WRITTEN BY ANDREW RAI BERZINS
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Beowulf & Grendel is a medieval adventure, part legendary fable, part horror-story. Based on the seminal 9th century Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, it tells the blood-soaked tale of a Norse warrior’s battle against a great and murderous troll, Grendel, who has laid seige to the kingdom of Hrothgar, the much respected king of the Danes.
Out of allegiance to Hrothgar, Beowulf leads a troop of warriors across the sea to rid a village of the marauding monster. The monster, Grendel, is not a creature of mythic powers, but one of flesh and blood – immense flesh and raging blood, driven by a vengeance from being wronged. Beowulf’s willingness to kill on behalf of Hrothgar wavers when it becomes clear that the King is more responsible for the troll’s rampages than was first apparent. And Beowulf’s relationship with a provocative witch, Selma, creates further confusion. Swinging his sword at a stinking beast is no longer such a simple act.
The story – filmed in Iceland – plays out in a brutish Northern Europe where the reign of the many-gods is giving way to one – the southern invader, Christ. Beowulf is a man caught between sides in this great shift, his simple code transforming and falling apart before his eyes.
Building toward an inevitable and terrible battle – with many heads rolling along the way – Beowulf & Grendel is a tale where vengeance, loyalty and mercy powerfully entwine. A story of blood and beer and sweat, of sick jokes and fear of the dark, Beowulf & Grendel strips away the mask of the hero-myth, leaving a raw and tangled tale.
Beowulf & Grendel Production Notes
Beowulf & Grendel was born of a conversation between Sturla Gunnarsson and Andrew Berzins seven years ago. “I had been wanting to make a film that spoke to my tribal identity and was rooted in the primordial Icelandic landscape where I was born. Andrew suggested Beowulf. I had read it in high school but the main impression it made on me then was the similarity of the old Anglo Saxon text to Icelandic, which is my native tongue. On re-reading it I was struck by how potent a tale it is and how the sense of primal fear, of a people huddled together in the darkness conjuring monsters out there in the unknown seems to ring as true today as it did around the campfire fifteen hundred years ago.”
“The desire to write Beowulf and Grendel started when I was a kid,” explains Berzins. “My mom had given me a children’s version of Beowulf, the book, Dragon Slayer by Rosemary Sutcliff. The drawings, such as Grendel’s arm torn off and nailed up in the Mead Hall, were so powerful for me then. When I became a screenwriter, Beowulf never left me but it seemed like a big project to jump at. I met with Sturla and he said he wanted to do a movie in Iceland. So, we had the landscape and we had the base of the story, and we went from there.”
Berzins began the screenplay during the massacres in Kosovo, which integrally informed his work. “This story questions the assumptions we have about the warrior and violent resolutions, the elements of vengeance and feeling compelled to rid your community of forces you don’t necessarily understand.”
Gunnarsson and Berzins have taken Beowulf & Grendel out of its mythological setting and placed firmly into the natural and absolutely CG free world where the story speaks of tribalism and fear of the unknown. “With the mythical component removed”, says Gunnarsson. “Grendel is monstrous without being a monster. He has feelings; he has motivation; he has a personality, a sense of humour; and he has an acute sense of irony when it comes to revenge.”
“The core idea in this interpretation is that the hero, Beowulf, has crossed the sea on what he thinks is a righteous quest. When he arrives, he realizes he’s landed in the middle of someone else’s blood feud. The closer he gets to the truth of the situation, the less he is able to believe that his quest is righteous. He begins to empathize with the creature he was sent to kill.
Producer Paul Stephens, who with partner Eric Jordan, produced the highly acclaimed feature, Such a Long Journey, also directed by Gunnarsson, says of Beowulf & Grendel:
“I’m very proud of what we achieved under especially extreme conditions. It is, by far, the most difficult film I’ve ever done, the biggest, most outstanding achievement both creatively and from a producer’s point of view. It’s a gourmet meal for the eyes. The decision to shoot in remote areas of Iceland was the right one because it sets a small, intimate story against the immense backdrop of the landscape. And Sturla is the man to pull this one off. As for Gerard Butler, he has the warmth, the charm and the talent we needed. My God, he is Beowulf.”
Stepping back and looking at Beowulf & Grendel from a more objective perspective, Stephens considers how this film fits in with the wide array of other historical epics being made.
“Beowulf & Grendel sets itself apart not by being bigger and grander, but just the opposite: it is textured, personal and deeply rooted in a specific time and place. The digital domain supersizes history and over scales everything which dulls the senses to the specifics. It leaves very little to care about. History, for the most part, was writ fairly small and was made by small groups of people who cared passionately – a reflection of our cast and crew.”
Creating Grendel — Nick Dudman
“Working without relying on CGI made me think about what I used to do before I was running computer systems and what I used to do working with a makeup box on the side of a mountain,” says Nick Dudman, the award-winning prosthetics designer behind all the Harry Potter movies. “Anyone in my job would count Grendel in the same category as Frankenstein. It’s an iconic mystery figure that you’d like to have a go at. Sturla and I had the same take on the character: it’s not a monster or even some weird alien. He’s a misunderstood human being, a very basic human being, but there’s an aspect to him that makes him monstrous and that’s what we had to find. We did a lot of work prosthestically and animatronically, all designed to augment what Ingvar could produce in his performance.”
Dudman’s technique was to make Grendel as big as possible which offered a good reason for him to be ostracized by society. “Once Sturla had cast Ingvar for the part, we found Spencer Wilding, a 6’6”, British kick boxer and stuntman, and then life cast both of them so we could produce a version of each in fiberglass. Based on Ingvar’s measurements, we scaled him up to a bigger version, putting Spencer on stilts, which took him to 7’5” and the equivalent of 350 pounds. By manufacturing a foam rubber suit, we made Spencer look exactly like Ingvar – just bigger.”
Using tricks of scale, the links on the chain mail were adjusted for the two men. If Ingvar was holding a human head, it was scaled down. If Spencer was holding it, it was the actual size. When Spencer walked through a doorway, it was a certain height, and when Ingvar walked through, it was a different doorway. Spencer went through a period of rehearsal to mimic what Ingvar was going to do because Ingvar was creating the performance. Spencer was brought in for long shots and action shots.
Makeup & Hair — Daniel Parker
Complimenting the work of Nick Dudman was the brilliantly conceived effort of Daniel Parker in hair and makeup. Acknowledging that the Norsemen traveled not just to North America, but also to Russia and the Middle East, Parker took those influences as his starting point for designing the look of Beowulf and Hrothgar, shunning the cliché of horned helmets and long beards and moustaches.
“I decided to make each character an individual,” says Parker. “The Geats have a very strong look with plaits and silver and jewelry in their beards. They are all quite dominant and vain, not unlike Hells Angels. These are more cultured people who wear jewelry in their hair, braiding in their hair and in fact are rather beautiful. Gerry was very simple. He is the star of the film and has a look that you don’t want to cover up: long hair, with a cut beard that is shaped. It is slightly reminiscent of Ivanhoe.”
“I always imagined Hrothgar being a redhead,” Parker continues, “but not only did I go red – I went orange which is a very brave thing to do. Stellan is not just a wonderful actor; he’s an actor who loves makeup, so he and I developed this character. His character has a 15-year timeline, so we aged him, made him look drunk. Fascinating makeup, one of the nicest I’ve ever done.”
“You’d start every day with the grand vision, going full on, and then it became about surviving the day, surviving the scene, and by the end of the day, it was about just getting the shot. The shoot ran 47 days and Odin got drunk on quite a few of them.” – Director, Sturla Gunnarsson
“It’s where I grew up; it was the place of my birth. Some of the images in the film, I’ve had in my consciousness ever since I can remember. The landscape we’ve placed the film on is part of my primal memory. And I knew when we took this on that this would be a huge challenge, that we’d be dancing with the gods. Odin wasn’t going to give us a free pass.”
“You can shoot 360 degrees and it’s the same today as when it spewed out of the ocean. There is the extraordinarily rugged south coast with primordial rock formations that lead down to a big ocean with 30-foot swells, and there’s not a single landmass between Iceland and the South Pole. You also have the Vatnajökull glacier, the biggest in Europe. Under the glacier is a volcano that erupts every couple of decades creating massive underwater lakes that spill out over a vast, black floodplain. “We had an active volcano while shooting” recounts Gunnarsson. “The only thing we didn’t have was a plague of locust, but we had four hurricanes that the Gulf Stream brought up from the Caribbean, horizontal rain, sandstorms, blackouts, snow. On a regular basis, there were high winds; we lost two base camps. One day we lost eight cars, either blown off the road or all the glass smashed by flying rocks. The winds were gusting at a 160 km/hr.”
The landscape became a character in the film. Nothing the actors did prepared them for what they faced when they got out to set; the elements brought them solidly into the moment. To Gunnarsson, it was like having a powerful, unscripted character in every scene. He loved it and the actors embraced it because the elements threw them off balance.
Stellan Skarsgård’s take on the experience confirms his director’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors. “For some scenes, working in a storm with absolutely horizontal rain can add to the performance. It creates difficulties that you have to deal with; you have to scream a lot. We’ve had conditions here that you cannot create with wind machines and smoke machines and a rain machine. You will feel the weather in the film. It will be present as another actor.”
Gerard Butler was equally impressed with the conditions Iceland presented. “Day after day we filmed in locations where I’d think, if Sturla captures even 1/10th of where we are, this film is going to be one of the most beautiful films people have ever seen. The locations have been mind-blowing and breathtaking, and then there’s the weather that we’ve suffered and loved and endured, the colours of the sunsets and sunrises, even the clouds have different shapes here. That day with the fisherman scenes, the water was so cold and I was in mud up to my hips. For the scenes that night, the mist came in and the sky had a strange hazy light that I swear was almost turquoise. That happened so many times on this movie, and it was all in perfect harmony with the story.”
The Viking Ship – Islendingur
Standing in for Beowulf’s longship is the Islendingur (Translation: Icelander), a carefully crafted replica of a viking ship found in a Norwegian burial sit. The Islendingur has been in a warehouse/museum since 2000 when, as part of a celebration of the Vikings first landing in North America, it sailed to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site in Newfoundland from Brattahlid, Greenland, the restored farm of Eric the Red, Greenland’s founder and father of Leif Ericson, who sailed from here for Newfoundland, according to the Icelandic sagas.
The Islendingur was made seaworthy and then transported by road to the Vatnajokull iceberg lagoon where it was filmed.
The Mead Hall
In the poem, the Mead Hall is the biggest in the land, constructed to glorify Hrothgar’s deeds. It is the thing that ultimately drives Grendel mad, tripping him over from being an angry troll to a murderous troll. The decision to build the 6th century Mead Hall was again based on the decision to use no CGI.
“We built it on location, so we’d never have to go into a studio. Our production designer Árni Páll Johannsson, an Icelander, gathered up gargantuan driftwood logs, trucking them in from around the country because trees do not grow there. The hall, 60 by 25 metres long and three stories high, is built entirely of found materials. It took months to build, and the team who built it was made up of local artisans who used ancient building methods. There are no nails used, all the wood is cut and notched and held with wooden pegs. The closest thing to an architect’s rendering that I ever got was a sketch on a napkin. This is a real 6th century beer hall.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Sturla GUNNARSSON (Director/Producer) Icelandic born, Canadian raised director Sturla Gunnarsson’s films have received international acclaim and won Genie, Gemini and Emmy Awards, and an Oscar nomination. Feature films include the comedy, Rare Birds, starring William Hurt and Molly Parker, and the adaptation of Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey, starring Roshan Seth and Om Puri. His documentaries include the cinema verite classic, Final Offer and the post apartheid love story, Gerrie & Louise.
Andrew RAI BERZINS (Writer/Co-Producer) is a Toronto-based writer, whose work includes the short-story collection Cerberus, the scripts for the TV movies Scorn, Chasing Cain 1 and 2, and Cowboys & Indians, as well as the ill-fated feature screenplay Blood & Donuts.
Paul STEPHENS (Producer) and Eric JORDAN (Producer) and their company The Film Works, have produced award-winning film and television features for more than twenty-five years, winning national and international awards for drama. The company is built on a commitment to working with the best possible creative partners to tell stories that explore compelling personal and social issues. The Film Works’ credits include: David Sutherland’sLove, Sex and Eating the Bones, which won Best Film at the 2004 American Black Film Festival, Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival and Best Feature at the 2004 Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival, Cowboys & Indians: The J.J. Harper Story directed by Norma Bailey, Such A Long Journeywhich won Most Popular Canadian Film at the 1998 Vancouver International Film Festival, Julie Walking Home, directed by Agnieszka Holland, The Arrow, starring Dan Ackroyd, Christopher Plummer, and Michael Ironside,The Planet of Junior Brown and Love Come Down, both directed by Clement Virgo, Ganesh: Ordinary Magicstarring Glenne Headly and Paul Anka and Where the Spirit Lives.
Anna María KARLSDÓTTIR (Producer) produced Kaldaljós (Cold Light) directed by Hilmar Oddsson, starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson, Fálkar directed by Fridrik Tjor Fridriksson which was nominated for Film of the Year at the 2002 Edda Awards in Iceland, and the Emden Film Award at the 2003 Emden International Film Festival. She also produced the multi-award winning Englar alheimsins (Angels of the Universe) also directed by Fridrik Thór Fridriksson again starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson. Karlsdóttir co-produced Guy X, directed by Saul Metzstein starring Jason Biggs and Natascha McElhone, and Ikíngut, directed by Gísli Snær Erlingsson, which won the award for Best Children’s Film at the 2001 Ale Kino! – International Young Audience Film Festival, as well as awards at Carrousel International du Film and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.
Fridrik Thor FRIDRIKSSON (Producer) started his filmmaking career with a series of experimental films and documentaries in the early 1980s. In 1987, he founded The Icelandic Film Corporation, which has become Iceland’s most important production company, producing Fridriksson’s films as well as working with other Icelandic directors and producers. Through Fridriksson’s international reputation, the company has built a network of internationally well-established co-production partner companies, including Lars von Triers Zentropa and most recently, Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope. As a director, Fridriksson gained international recognition and critical acclaim with his second feature Children of Nature (1991) which was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film.
Fridriksson’s own identity as a filmmaker is that of a storyteller within a tradition that goes back to the writers of the Icelandic Sagas, more than a thousand years ago.
Michael COWAN (Producer) and Jason PIETTE (Producer)
Since starting in 1994, producers Jason Piette and Michael Cowan have built Spice Factory into one of the UK’s leading independent film production businesses.
To date, Spice Factory has actively produced, co-produced and co-financed over 43 films. While many of their films have attracted top directors and star casts, Jason and Michael have also broken out new writing, directing and acting talent. Their films span many genres and budget levels and have a combined spend of over US$400M worth of production.
Included in their list of accomplishments as producers and financiers are films such as The Merchant of Venicedirected by Michael Radford with Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons, Head in the Clouds starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, futuristic vampire thriller Perfect Creature with Dougray Scott and Saffron Burrows, and quirky romantic comedy Plots With A View (a.k.a. Undertaking Betty) starring Brenda Blethyn, Christopher Walken, Alfred Molina and Naomi Watts.
Other production highlights include A Different Loyalty starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett directed by Marek Kanievska, The Bridge of San Luis Rey featuring a stellar cast including Robert De Niro, Kathy Bates, Harvey Keitel and Gabriel Byrne, $teal by Gérard Pires (Taxi) with Stephen Dorff and Natasha Henstridge andThe Statement, directed by Norman Jewison starring Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton and Charlotte Rampling.
As well as having theatrical releases, Spice Factory productions have also featured in numerous film festivals as well as winning awards. Plots With A View was awarded a Welsh BAFTA, Bollywood Queen was selected for Sundance 2003, André Téchiné’s Strayed (aka Les Égarés) was selected for competition in Cannes 2003, Mr. In-Between won best feature at Raindance 2001 and Best Actor for Andrew Howard at Tokyo Film Festival, and children’s time travel drama An Angel For May has picked up 14 awards since 2001.
Spice Factory’s joint ventures include, Movision (the UK tax and equity fund for film financing), Arclight Films (a film sales company with offices in Sydney and LA), Bluespice (a joint venture with Italian producer Peter Maggi and his company Bluestar Movies) and LaFabrique, a French distribution and production company co-founded with Franck Ribiere.
Peter JAMES (Executive Producer) has over 30 years of experience of international television and film production. After a film school education his career began in scriptwriting and producing in North America. In 1972 he co-founded Quadrant Films, which became one of English-speaking Canada’s largest film companies during the 1970s.
Subsequently, during the 1980s and 1990s, he became an international best-selling author with fourteen novels published in 26 languages. In 1994, with Ian Steel, he co-founded Pavilion Internet plc, which was subsequently sold to EasyNet plc. In 1998, he co-founded the film and television development company, Ministry of Vision Limited (“MOV”), in partnership with James Simpson. MOV has recently produced series for ITV and Channel Four as well as developing projects with HBO and USA Network, and co-created, with Objective Television, the successful Channel 4, Bedsitcom, which was nominated for a 2004 Rose D’Or award.
In 2001 he co-founded, with James Simpson, Movision Entertainment Ltd which became one of the leading UK film companies during the past four years, responsible for the financing and/or the production of twenty-three films, on many of which he served as Executive Producer, including the recent BAFTA nominated Merchant Of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, Head In The Clouds, starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, The Bridge of San Luis Rey starring Robert DeNiro, Kathy Bathes, Harvey Keitel and Gabriel Byrne, A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett, and The Statement starring Michael Caine.
In 2005 Peter he was appointed Chairman of the VisionInc group of companies, operating film and television financing funds in the UK and USA.
James SIMPSON (Executive Producer) has over 30 years of experience of international television and film. He is a celebrated music writer. He wrote and directed Ulysses, a children’s rock opera, which had a sell-out run at the Rainbow theatre, was filmed for BBC Television and won the Italian best International Children’s Film Award. He has written music for numerous television programmes including Spitting Image, Through the Keyhole, Noel’s House Party, and major commercials. He co-owns Ministry of Vision Limited with Peter James and is also a director and co-founder of Movision Entertainment.
In 2005 he became Managing Director of the VisionInc. Group of companies.
Árni Páll JÓHANNSSON (Production Designer) returns to work with producer Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, having designed for him on Fálkar and Næsland, which earned a Crystal Globe Award at the 2004 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Jóhannsson also designed for Hal Hartley’s No Such Thing, starring Sarah Polley, and Simon Staho’s Wildside (Vildspor), and Jag är din krigare (Nature’s Warrior), Djöflaeyjan (Devil’s Island), Bíódagar(Movie Days), and Karlakórinn Hekla (The Men’s Choir).
Jan KIESSER ASC, CSC (Director of Photography) packs thirty plus years of experience in the film industry with a lighthearted smile, one that does not belie his intense focus on the set. Kiesser has previously collaborated as DP with Gunnarsson on Such A Long Journey featuring Roshan Seth and Om Puri, filmed in India and Rare Birds staring William Hurt, filmed in Newfoundland. Both were nominated for Best Achievement in Cinematography for the Canadian Genie Awards. Jan has worked with director Alan Rudolph on several films including Choose Me, staring Leslie Ann Warren and Keith Carradine and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circlestaring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Matthew Broderick and Gwyneth Paltrow, both produced by Robert Altman. Jan also photographed Dr. T and The Women, staring Richard Geer and Helen Hunt for Robert Altman as director.
Jeff WARREN (Editor) has been a freelance film editor in Canada for 30 years. He worked for ten years on documentaries for some of Canada’s most famous documentary filmmakers. In 1985 he teamed up with director Sturla Gunnarsson for the National Film Board feature documentary Final Offer, which went on to win numerous awards in Canada and around the world including the Prix Italia at the world documentary festival. This was the beginning of a twenty-year collaboration with Gunnarsson on many feature films and TV movies including the award-winning Diary of Evelyn Lau, Such A Long Journey, and Rare Birds.
Over the years Jeff has worked with many of Canada’s top directors. His recent film Love, Sex & Eating the Bones, a romantic comedy written and directed by Sudz Sutherland won the Best First Feature Award at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival and was selected one of the Top 10 Canadian Films of 2003.
In addition to editing, Jeff has lectured and given workshops at York University, Ryerson Polytechnical University, Confederation College and is a continuing mentor at The Canadian Film Centre. He is the National Representative for editors on the board of the Director’s Guild of Canada. He has won two Hot Docs Awards, two Gemini Awards, a Genie Award and a Directors Guild of Canada Award, all for editing. He has been nominated many more times, including an Emmy nomination in the U.S. In the summer of 2005 Jeff will team up with Sturla Gunnarsson once more for the World War 2 mini series, Above and Beyond.
Debra HANSON (Costume Designer) received a 2004 Genie nomination for Best Costume Design for The Gospel of John, starring Christopher Plummer. Hanson’s recent work includes Don McKellar’s Childstar, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh; Sturla Gunnarsson’s TV movie The Man Who Saved Christmas, the television docudramaStormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen; Steven Williams’ Verdict in Blood; and A Killing Spring. Hanson designed costumes for Laurie Lynd’s miniseries, I Was A Rat, the period television movie What Katy Did, based on a novel by Susan Coolidge, and for Clement Virgo’s multi-award-winning contemporary love story, Love Come Down starring Larenz Tate and Deborah Cox. Hanson received a Genie nomination for Best Achievement in Costume Design for her work on the multi-award winning New Waterford Girl. Her list of film credits also includes George Mendeluk’s action/drama, Men of Means, Daniel D’Or’s, Falling Fire, and The Taming of the Shrew (TV) starring Henry Czerny and Colm Feore.
Nick DUDMAN (SPFX Makeup Consultant) got his start in films in 1979, working on Yoda, as a trainee to British make-up artist Stuart Freeborn on The Empire Strikes Back.
After apprenticing with Freeborn for four years on films such as Superman II, The Return of the Jedi and Top Secret!, and assisting Dick Smith on The Hunger, Dudman was asked to head up the English make-up laboratory for Ridley Scott’s Legend, where among other characters he applied Tim Curry’s “Darkness” make-up.
Since then, he has worked on Mona Lisa, High Spirits, Interview With the Vampire, Batman (creating Jack Nicholson’s Joker make-up) and Judge Dredd. In 1995, he was asked to oversee the creature department for the Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element, for which he won a BAFTA for Visual Effects.
After supervising the Creature Departments on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Mummy, and The Mummy Returns, he joined the Harry Potter series as Creature Effects Designer, producing animatronic monsters, animals, prosthetics, mannequins and organic props.
EQUINOXE FILMS, the Canadian Distributor of BEOWULF & GRENDEL, is a major, vertically integrated film and television producer and distributor of quality motion pictures for theatrical, video and television release.
Established in Montreal as France Film in 1932, and still one of the country’s first and most respected independent film distributors, Equinoxe has played a leading role in importing the best films from around the world. For the past three years in succession, Equinoxe has enjoyed record-breaking years. In 2004, it released Mel Gibson’s controversial The Passion of The Christ, which earned $25 million at the Canadian box office. In 2002, Equinoxe had enormous success with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the most profitable independent film of all time, which grossed more than $30 million in Canada. In 2003, the hit Canadian comedy Mambo Italianobecame the highest grossing English Canadian film since 1981, earning $5.3 million at the box office in its Canadian theatrical release, with sales to more than 40 international territories.
As head of Equinoxe Films since 1996, film industry veteran Michael Mosca has played a pivotal role in the leadership and profitability of the company’s various divisions. Under his guidance, the company acquires, produces and distributes motion pictures domestically and internationally. With a new streamlined corporate structure and vertical integration, Equinoxe Films is well positioned to maximize results in its two major sectors: Equinoxe Distribution and Equinoxe Productions.
EQUINOXE PRODUCTIONS was formed in 2004 through Equinoxe’s association with the highly regarded production company, Lyla Films, which produced the Genie nominated film Les Muses orphelines, the 2001 Prix Gémeaux winning documentary Lauzon Lauzone and Camping Sauvage. This division creates, develops and produces film and television projects, from concept stage to delivery. It also provides development and production funding for independent producers and provides producing and executive producing services and supervision.
EQUINOXE Productions recently completed principal photography on the feature A Sunday in Kigali, based on Gil Courtemanche’s award-winning novel, set against the backdrop of the Rwandan genocide. Directed by Robert Favreau and produced by Lyse Lafontaine and Michael Mosca, the film romantic drama will be released in 2006. Also shooting in 2005 is La Belle Bête, the big screen adaptation of the novel by Marie-Clair Blais, directed by Karim Hussain and starring Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls) and Carole Laure.
Through the acquisition of rights to acquired product and through associations with several U.S. and international film distribution companies, and complemented by films from its own film productions, Equinoxe Films is assured of a constant supply of quality pictures. The 2006 release slate includes Beowulf & Grendel, La Belle Bête, A Sunday in Kigali and Little Fish, directed by Rowan Wood and starring Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving.