Magazine article Variety

WestEnd Boards Holland's Tale 'Gareth Jones'

Magazine article Variety

WestEnd Boards Holland's Tale 'Gareth Jones'

Article excerpt

WESTEND FILMS HAS acquired worldwide sales rights to politically charged project "Gareth Jones," the next film from twice-Oscarnominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland, whose latest movie "Spoor" is in competition at the Berlin Film Festival.

"Gareth Jones" tells the reallife story of the eponymous Welsh journalist who exposed the Holodomor, Stalin's 1933 genocide-famine in Ukraine. Research suggests that the reporter was murdered with the help of Soviet agents the day before he turned 30. His reporting of the famine was said to have inspired George Orwell to write "Animal Farm."

Scriptwriter Andrea Serdaru-Barbul first approached Holland, who is the daughter of journalists, with her script two years ago. "Since then the story has become even more relevant," Holland told Variety. "The situation around us has change, and you can find some similarities with the 1930s."

Holland says she receives many scripts with political themes, but this one stood out. "I am always interested in politically charged subjects, but I have found most of them are pretty basic. My goal isn't to make simple statements about the world. But this was different," she says.

The personality of Jones is key to the project, she says, especially in a so-called "posttruth" era. "He started out quite naïve - a little, nervous young man; then he became a tragic superhero," she says. He is torn between his knowledge of the atrocity and his awareness that there is little an individual can do about it, yet he understands "the responsibility of the media to inform the world of the truth, and this makes this character very powerful and relevant. …

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