Rolling off a successful collaboration on “Charlatan,” Films Boutique has boarded Agnieszka Holland’s next film “The Green Border,” which just completed principal photography in Poland.
Now in post production, “The Green Border” tells the fateful story of a family of Syrian refugees, a solitary English teacher from Afghanistan and a young border guard, all of whom meet on the Polish-Belarusian border during the most recent humanitarian crisis triggered by President Lukaschenko opening doors to migrants in Belarus as a back door to enter the EU.
The screenplay, penned by Holland, Gabriela Łazarkiewicz-Sieczko and Maciej Pisuk, is inspired by real events. Research for the film included hundreds of hours of document analysis, interviews with refugees, border guards, borderland residents, activists and experts.
A co-production between Poland, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic, “The Green Border” is produced by Marcin Wierzchosławski (Metro Films), Fred Bernstein (Astute Films) and Holland. Co-producers are Maria Blicharska, Damien McDonald (Blick Productions), Šárka Cimbalová (Marlene Film Production), Diana Elbaum and David Ragonig (Beluga Tree), while executive producers are chair of the European Film Academy Mike Downey and Field Entertainment’s Jeff Field.
“The action takes place about a year ago, when the humanitarian crisis on the border began,” says Holland, who described “The Green Border” as “a story about the aftermath of this great change.”
“It is not a film about refugees. Nor is it a film about Polish activists rescuing refugees or about border guards. Although these three perspectives are intertwined in the film. The film is a story about how each of us can unexpectedly find ourselves in a borderline situation and having to make choices between Good and Evil,” said the three-time Oscar nominee whose best-known films include “In Darkness,” the Golden Globe winning “Europa, Europa,” “Spoor,” “Mr. Jones” and most recently “Charlatan.”
Holland, who’s also directed prestigious TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Treme,” says “The Green Border” “helps us understand that the discussion of moral choices is not the domain of academia, but is happening here and now, in contemporary Poland.”
Until recently, Poland’s eastern border, which separates Belarus from the European Union, had “no barbed wire, no walls,” and was considered “a tourist attraction.” But everything changed overnight, she says, as it now brings together “people speaking a wide variety of languages and looking different from the locals began to appear in the forest.”
“We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Agnieszka Holland following ‘Charlatan,’” says Jean Christophe Simon, CEO of Films Boutique, “With ‘The Green Border,’ Agnieszka is again telling us an amazing story questioning politics, European history and showing the complexity of human beings and how our lives can be at stake at any time.”
Simon said the film is also a “fascinating follow up to her cult film ‘Europa Europa’ more than 30 years after, showing that history can repeat itself and that the dream of Europe is a permanent fight”.
The multinational cast includes Jalal Altawil (“Neighbours”), Maja Ostaszewska (“Body”), Tomasz Włosok (“How I Became a Gangster”), Behi Djanati Atai (“Welcome”), Mohamed Al Rashi (“Al Hadira: The Hangar”), Dalia Naous (“Escape from Raqqa”), Piotr Stramowski (“Pitbull: New Orders”), Jaśmina Polak (“The Wedding”), Marta Stalmierska ( “The Breach”), Agata Kulesza (“Ida”), Maciej Stuhr (“The Teacher”), Magdalena Popławska (“Panic Attack”).
The film is supported by Eurimages, the Czech Film Fund, the CNC – Centre National du Cinema et L’Image Animée – Cinema du Monde, Sofica La Banque Postale Image 17 as well as Belgium’s Centre du Cinema et de L’Audiovisuel de la Federation Wallonie Bruxelles and CANAL+ Poland, Czech Television and ZDF/ARTE. It will be distributed in Poland by Kino Świat.
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