After winning two Venice Film Festival awards with ‘The Nightingale,’ Jennifer Kent plans new projects

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Aisling Franciosi appears in writer-director Jennifer Kent’s film “The Nightingale.”

Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” recently caged two awards at the Venice Film Festival, where the revenge thriller made its world premiere.

As previously reported, the “Babadook” helmer’s second feature was the sole film directed by a woman to screen in competition at the prestigious Italian festival.

The film is set in 1825 and follows Clare, a young Irish convict (Aisling Franciosi), who chases a British officer (Sam Claflin) through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past. Tasmanian Aboriginal elder Jim Everett worked as a cultural advisor on the film and provided support and guidance to the creative team throughout production, according to Screen Australia.

The film was awarded the Special Jury Prize, and Baykali Ganambarr received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.

In accepting the Special Jury Prize, Kent urged more women to make films, according to The West Australian.

“I would also like to say to all those women out there wanting to make films, please go and do it. We need you. The feminine force is the most powerful and healing force on the planet,” Kent said. She added, “I’m confident next year and the year after we’ll see more and more women inhabiting this space.”

After the Venice Film Festival drew criticism for only screening one woman-directed film in competition for the second straight year, festival organizers followed the lead of the Cannes and Locarno festivals in signing a pledge on gender parity, according to Variety. The pledge, initiated by French organization 5050×2020, commits the Venice fest to transparency in the festival’s selection processes and gender parity in the organization’s top management.

Jennifer Kent

According to ScreenDaily, Kent is close to completing a new draft of the screenplay for her third feature, “Alice + Freda Forever.” Backed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, the new project is based on the true story of two young women who fall in love in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1890s.

The Australian filmmaker is also busy preparing a “Tiptree,” a television series based in the United States. It’s about science-fiction writer Alice Bradley Sheldon (who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr.), which she describes as “a surreal trip.”

“I feel I am just gravitating toward projects I really love. They happen to be based on true stories set in America. It is just coincidence really,” she told ScreenDaily.


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