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Cannes: Lesley Manville, Ciaran Hinds to Lead Polly Findlay’s Debut Feature ‘Midwinter Break’ (Exclusive)



Oscar nominees Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris) and Ciarán Hinds (Belfast, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) are teaming up for Midwinter Breakthe debut feature of Olivier-winning British theater director Polly Findlay.

The prestige project is heading to the Marche du Film in Cannes, with Protagonist Pictures handling worldwide sales.

Adapted from the novel by BAFTA nominee Bernard MacLaverty (Lamb) and written by Nick Payne (The Last Letter from Your Lover, We Live in Time) Midwinter Break follows Stella and Gerry, a long-time married couple who reach a crossroads in their relationship when they take a trip to Amsterdam.

The film is produced by BAFTA Award-winner Guy Heeley, whose previous credits include Steven Knight’s Tom Hardy-starring Locke; Joe Wright’s Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage; and Stephen Daldry’s lockdown comedy-drama Together, starring James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan. The project was developed with Film4, who will executive produce and co-finance.

“Championing the most exciting feature debuts of new filmmakers like Polly is steeped in Protagonist’s DNA,” said Protagonist CEO Dave Bishop. “Lesley and Ciarán are some of the top talents of their generation and the perfect pair to bring this emotionally intricate exploration of universal relationship dynamics to life. Guy has assembled such a great team and we know that cinema going audiences will immediately connect to this high quality drama when it hits theaters.”

Added Heeley: “The prospect of Polly Findlay’s razor sharp take on this powerful and affecting story with its quietly devastating reveal, and with the simply brilliant Lesley Manville and Ciaran Hinds at its heart, is simply thrilling.”

Findlay is an award-winning theater director whose credits include Middle (National Theater 2022), White Noise (Bridge, 2021), A Number (Bridge, 2020), Rutherford And Son (National, 2019), The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (Donmar Warehouse, 2018), Beginning (West End, 2018), The Alchemist (RSC, 2016), As You Like It (National Theatre, 2015), Warhorse (National Theatre, 2013) and Antigone (National Theatre, 2012). In 2012, she was the joint winner of the Olivier Award for best entertainment (with Derren Brown). Svengali. She is represented by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Limited, and Grandview.

Midwinter Break joins Protagonist’s Cannes market slate, which includes two adaptations – the family adventure Flavia de Luce starring Isla Gie and Martin Freeman and the romantic comedy This Time Next Year starring Sophie Cookson and Lucien Laviscount – alongside Jules, the UFO-Comedy starring Ben Kingsley.

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