Cannes Selects Chicago-Made Feature
April 25, 2017 by Screenmag
The Cannes Film Festival turns 70 this year, and in this anniversary edition, with star-driven films featuring Nicole Kidman, Adam Sandler, and Julianne Moore commandeering the red carpet, a Chicago-made independent feature has secured its spot in the glamorous cinema showcase.
THEY, directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, is an Official Selection of the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The film lands in the Special Screenings section, alongside the highly anticipated TWIN PEAKS from David Lynch and features from Kristen Stewart and Jane Campion.
Campion has also joined the production team for THEY as Executive Producer, alongside Evanston native Patty West, Chicago investor Joe Klest and Bic Tran. Co-Executive Produers include Lynne Liss, Mark Liss, Susan Wrubel, Indiana native Chris Bergstrom and SCREEN Magazine's Mike McNamara. Producers include Simone Ling and Ghazvinizadeh's classmate at the Art Institute of Chicago, Zoe Sua Cho. Post production team included Chicago editor Dean Gonzalez of Beast Editorial as well as finishing by Method Studios and sound work from Periscope Post and Audio. Click here for the full slate of cast and crew of THEY.
In THEY, J has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, goes by the selected pronoun “they”, and takes hormone blockers to suspend their puberty. J is in their early teens and lives with their parents in the countryside. While J’s parents are away on a trip, their older sibling Lauren and her boyfriend Araz are assigned the duties of house-sitting and looking after J. Through a series of activities, performances and events, J’s growth and complex g ender identity are explored within the precarious family dynamic. The rural landscape becomes a queer site for dismantling the narratives of coming-of-age and transition, pharmaceutics and human biotechnology, and the effort for self-determination between recalling/forgetting the past and imagining/avoiding the future.
THEY filmed in Chicago in last summer, helmed by Iranian-born Ghazvinizadeh, who as a student at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, won first prize with her film NEEDLE in the Cinefondation short film competition, one of many prestigious sidebars in the world’s premier celebration of cinema. Click here to watch Ghazvinizadeh's short film NEEDLE.