VENICE, ITALY.-Acclaimed filmmaker Penny Woolcock’s epic feature Exodus, has been selected for inclusion in the Orizzonti section of the 64th Venice Film Festival.
Inspired by the biblical story of Exodus and shot in the derelict Dreamland funfair in the English coastal town of Margate, Exodus explores timeless themes of identity, migration and great movements of people across the globe in search of a promised land.
Leading actor Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings, Titanic) takes the part of Pharoah and Ger Ryan (Queer as Folk, Fat Friends, and The Street) plays Pharoah’s wife, Batya. RADA-trained actor Daniel Percival (Vital Signs, Sinchronicity) plays Moses and rising newcomer Clare-Hope Ashitey (Children of Men, Shooting Dogs) plays his wife Zipporah. Moses’ brother Aaron is played by local first-time actor Anthony Johnson and Delroy Moore, a foster carer living in Margate plays the school teacher Jethro. All other speaking parts and the many hundred of extras are all non-actors from Margate and the Isle of Thanet.
Channel 4 has funded Penny Woolcock’s work, from her first television dramas, through to the award-winning adaptation for film of John Adams’ opera The Death of Klinghoffer. Her films are generally informed by a strong social conscience, much of it concerned with the social, cultural and political life on Britain’s toughest housing estates, from her first film When the Dog Bites to Shakespeare on the Estate and the drama trilogy Tina Goes Shopping, Tina Takes a Break and the 2006 release, Mischief Night.
Exodus is the first feature film for pioneering arts organisation Artangel and is part of an ongoing relationship with Channel 4 to support and create innovative arts projects for the screen. Other films include Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller and Mike Figgis’ Battle of Orgreave, an event and documentary film for Channel 4, Rachel Whiteread’s sculptural installation House and Waste Man, Antony Gormley’s 25-metre high thrift store sculpture in Margate, created and burnt as one of the significant turning points in Exodus.
Exodus producer Ruth Kenley-Letts’ previous films include Isolation and Strictly Sinatra. Director of Photography is Jakob Ihre whose latest film Reprise (written and directed by Joachim Trier), has been selected as the Norwegian Oscar nomination.
The Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival was set up by Marco Müller in 2004 during his first season as director of the Venice Film Festival. The Orizzonti section aims to provide an overview of new trends in cinema, and in particular cinema which merges fiction and documentary. It has successfully gained the world-wide attention of the public and critics alike with some of the most significant films of the third millennium.