Press Release: Three Films in Three Days for Dirty Films at TIFF

Miles August 16, 2023 2:36PM

The world’s largest public film festival will showcase three new films from Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini’s production company, Dirty Films

Press Release. 15 August 2023. For immediate release

FINGERNAILS: 12 September, 9:30pm – Special Presentation at Princess of Wales Theater
SHAYDA: 13 September, 2:30pm – as part of Centrepiece program at TIFF Bell Lightbox
THE NEW BOY: 14 September, 5:30pm – Gala Presentation at the Roy Thompson Hall

Dirty Films, the production company of Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini, will boast a strong presence at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) with three films screening on consecutive days, 12–14 September, 2023.

“Working with three such distinct directors, Warwick Thornton, Christos Nikou and Noora Niasari has been inspiring,” agreed the three partners and producers, noting that “to have all three films showcased in Toronto at the festival is wildly exciting for us and, we hope, for audiences.” Andrew Upton said, “TIFF is a cornerstone festival for independent filmmakers and its support has never been more essential in these challenging times,” with Cate Blanchett adding: “we are deeply proud that the creative teams behind these Dirty Films projects will be there”. Coco Francini said, “I cannot wait to get into the conversations these films are going to provoke in Toronto”.

First up on 12 September is the international premiere of Christos Nikou’s Apple Originals feature Fingernails, with Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed and Jeremy Allen White. The film marks Greek director Nikou’s English language debut after his critically acclaimed Apples, which Dirty Films executive produced. In Fingernails, Anna (Buckley)and Ryan (White) have found true love. It’s been proven by a controversial new technology. There’s just one problem: Anna still isn’t sure. Then she takes a position at a Love Testing Institute, and meets Amir (Ahmed).

Second of the Dirty Films contingent bound for TIFF, is Noora Niasari’s debut feature Shayda, starring Zar Amir Ebrahimi, which will screen on 13 September as part of the Centrepiece program. The Iranian/Australian’s highly personal work is already generating international buzz, winning the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance, opening the Melbourne International Film Festival and closing Locarno Film Festival in the 8000-seat Piazza Grande. Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, the film centres on a young Iranian mother (Ebrahimi), who finds refuge in a women’s shelter with her daughter Mona (Selina Zahednia). Over Persian New Year, they take solace in Nowruz rituals and new beginnings, but when her husband re-enters their lives, their path to freedom is jeopardised.

The New Boy, in which Blanchett also appears as Sister Eileen, from Australian First Nations writer/director Warwick Thornton, completes the Dirty Films trifecta. It will have a gala screening on 14 September. The New Boy premiered in the Un Certain Regard program at the Cannes Film Festival, before opening the Sydney Film Festival. Set in a remote monastery in 1940s Australia at a mission for Aboriginal children run by a renegade nun (Blanchett), a new charge (Aswan Reid) is delivered in the dead of night, disturbing a delicately balanced world in this story of spiritual struggle and the cost of survival.

All three projects, The New Boy, Fingernails and Shayda, are set for theatrical release in 2023. In addition, Dirty Films is currently in active development of Champions, to be directed by Ben Stiller, and an adaptation of Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women.

Director Christos Nikou
Writers Christos Nikou, Sam Steiner, Stavros Raptis
Produced by Coco Francini, Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett, Christos Nikou, Lucas Wiesendanger
Executive Producers Glen Basner, Milan Popelka, Alison Cohen, Ashley Fox, Kevin Lafferty, Jerome Duboz
Cast Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Allen White, Luke Wilson, Annie Murphy

an ORIGMA45 production, executive produced by DIRTY FILMS
Writer/Director Noora Niasari
Produced by Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari
Executive Producers Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton, Coco Francini, Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta, Lois Scott, Naomi, Mcdougall Jones, Nivedita Kulkarni, Gabrielle Stewart, Tom Grievson
Cast Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Osamah Sami, Leah Purcell, Jillian Nguyen, Mojean Aria, Selina Zahednia

Writer/Director/Director of Photography Warwick Thornton
Produced by Kath Shelper, Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett, Lorenzo De Maio
Co-Producer Georgie Pym
Executive Producers Gretel Packer, Coco Francini
Cast Introducing Aswan Reid. Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and Cate Blanchett
Score Composed and Performed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis