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Independent Entertainment launch sales on Simon Amstell's comedy MARIA

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Independent Entertainment will launch sales in Cannes on MARIA, writer/director Simon Amstell’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed feature Benjamin, which will shoot in the UK and US in Autumn 2022.

Produced by EMU Films (Benediction, Small Axe) MARIA will feature Academy Award Nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, On The Basis Of Sex, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) in the title role of a young woman with a history of running from reality. Struggling to accept her age, her boyfriend’s love and her father’s indifference, Maria spots an opportunity to feel young, free and desirable at her father’s wedding, where she meets Raffy, her new stepbrother. Their obvious, if inconvenient, sexual chemistry is made worse by the news that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Jonathan Bailey (Bridgerton; Broadchurch) will play Maria’s boyfriend Eddie with Jason Isaacs (Mass, The Death Of Stalin, Harry Potter) confirmed as Maria’s father.

Louise Palmkvist Hansen will produce for EMU Films.  Amstell will also serve as Executive Producer,  alongside EMU Films’ Michael Elliott, Jim Mooney and Walli Ullah, and Cora Palfrey and Sarah Lebutsch from Independent Entertainment.  Joining the creative team are Director of Photography Adam Gillham (I May Destroy You), Editor Rebecca Lloyd (American Honey, Cow), Emmy winning Casting Director Theo Park (Ted Lasso, the upcoming The People We Hate at the Wedding) and Mercury Music Prize winning composer James Righton who reunites with Amstell having scored Benjamin as well as Amstell’s stand-up special ‘Set Free’.

Amstell’s award-winning career in comedy, on stage and television includes the BBC series Grandma’s House which he also starred in. He made his debut feature Carnage in 2017, with Benjamin following in 2018.

His memoir ‘Help’ was published by Penguin Random House in 2019. As a stand-up, he has toured Britain, the US and Australia, most recently with the acclaimed show ‘Spirit Hole’. His previous show ‘Set Free’ was filmed as a Netflix special. 

Sarah Lebutsch for Independent Entertainment comments:

We are thrilled to be launching MARIA at the first in-person film market for two years, reuniting with our talented partners at EMU Films and working with writer/director Simon Amstell, whose unique and hilarious voice we have long admired. Combined with this terrific cast of actors, we have no doubt MARIA will be the entertaining, timely, female-led comedy we all need right now!

Louise Palmkvist Hansen for EMU Films comments:

EMU is delighted to reunite with Independent Entertainment for Simon Amstell’s new bittersweet comedy. With MARIA, Simon explores the process of growth with such vulnerability and understanding that we couldn’t see anyone but Felicity Jones personifying Maria’s complexities. With Jonathan Bailey and Jason Isaacs also attached, we’re excited to see such a talented group of actors guided by Simon’s vision of a woman’s journey to accept mortality, responsibility, and ultimately herself. 

Simon Amstell comments:

I’m incredibly excited to begin shooting ‘Maria’ this year with Felicity Jones. Our hope is that making a film about our culture’s fear of ageing and death will be an absolute sensation.

Independent Entertainment’s Sarah Lebutsch, Head of Sales, will handle international sales worldwide with all rights available.

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