Acclaimed filmmaker Anthony Chen (Ilo Ilo, Wet Season) has set his first English-language feature film, Drift which will star Cynthia Erivo, who will also produce as well as Alia Shawkat. Production is underway in Greece.
Susanne Farrell (Dirty God, Hope Street) and Alexander Maksik adapted the screenplay for the big screen from Maksik’s acclaimed novel A Marker to Measure Drift.
Drift follows a young Liberian refugee named Jacqueline (Erivo) who has barely escaped her war-torn country to a Greek island. She offers massages to tourists in exchange for one or two euros to battle her hunger, while her daily struggle for survival keeps the memories that haunt her at bay. She meets an unmoored tour guide (Shawkat) and the two become close as they each find hope in the other.
“Drift is a compelling and deeply affecting story about the strength of the human spirit during the worst of times. It has been an emotional experience developing this film in the past few years, particularly during the challenging days of the pandemic” says Chen. “I’m thrilled to mark my English language feature debut working alongside the remarkable talents of Cynthia and Alia.”
Erivo adds, “From the moment I read Drift, I was moved by the rare duality of Jacqueline, who both painfully and hopefully represents the depths of the immigrant experience, and specifically the black immigrant experience abroad. Sadly this subject becomes more and more relevant and timely with each day. Too often the experience of immigrants is told through headlines, which don’t encapsulate the individual’s humanity. My hope is this project can show their struggle with the empathy and attention it deserves.”
Georges, Abed, and Spears reunite following the trio’s collaboration on the Academy Award winning film Call Me By Your Name. Drift also marks the third collaboration between Anthony Chen and Georges, who sold his first two films, Caméra d’Or winner Ilo Ilo and Wet Season, through her international sales company Memento International.
Oscar nominated producer Emilie Georges (Call Me By Your Name) and Naima Abed, co-founders and co-CEOs of the production company Paradise City and Oscar winning producer Peter Spears (Nomadland, Call Me By Your Name) of Cor Cordium are producing with Erivo & Solome Williams under their Edith’s Daughter banner and with Chen’s Giraffe Pictures. Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Giorgos Karnavas are serving as co-producers for Heretic.
“From my long standing collaboration with Anthony on Ilo Ilo and Wet Season, I’ve learned that he has a unique talent for exploring intimacy with love and his accessible style giving the audience access to character’s humanity, decency and warmth” said Georges. “Representing the immigrant experience requires nuance, subtlety and grace. We couldn’t be prouder to have this incredible team to bring this story to life.” added Abed.
“In this time of great human upheaval, Drift reminds us of our common humanity; that every one of us has a story forged by hope, resilience, and, for many, unimaginable hardships. I could not be prouder to help tell this powerful story with our incredible team of filmmakers from around the world.” said Spears.
Drift is a co-production between Paradise City Films (France), Heretic (Greece) and Fortyninesixty (the U.K.), in association with Cor Cordium, Edith’s Daughter and Giraffe Pictures, and is financed by Sunac Culture and Aim Media, Lauran Bromley’s Ages LLC, the UK Global Screen Fund – financed by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and administered by the BFI, and the Greek Film Center, with additional support from the Creative Europe Media European Program.
Erivo is repped by UTA, Authentic Talent & Literary Management & The Lede Company. Anthony Chen is reppd by UTA and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates. Shawkat is repped by UTA and MGMT Entertainment.