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The Killing of a Sacred Deer Wins Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival

29th May 2017

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board congratulates the team behind the Element Pictures-produced The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which was jointly awarded Best Screenplay at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Co-written by Yorgos Lanthimos (who also directed the picture) and Efthimis Filippou, The Killing of a Sacred Deer shared the prestigious prize alongside Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.

The success of the film in Cannes—which marked Element Pictures and Lanthimos’ return to Competition in the space of two years—follows on from the 2015 triumph of The Lobster, which was awarded the Jury Prize at the world-renowned festival. Overall this marks Element's seventh production or co-production in Official Selection in Cannes, following Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley, which won the Palme d'Or in 2006 and Lenny Abrahamson's Garage winning the CICAE Prize at Directors’ Fortnight in 2007.

Speaking from Cannes, Element Pictures producer Ed Guiney commented:

All of us at Element are absolutely delighted with the script prize for Efthymis and Yorgos. Yorgos has made a masterful signature film which will enthrall audiences around the world. We are very grateful to all of our financiers including Film4, New Sparta, Hanway and the Irish Film Board.”

Produced by Element Pictures’ Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney, The Killing of a Sacred Deer stars Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman alongside up-and-coming Irish actor Barry Keoghan and the title received rave reviews following its world premiere at the festival. Farrell plays Steven; a charismatic surgeon who is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice when the behaviour of a teenage boy (Martin, played by Keoghan) he has taken under his wing takes a sinister turn. Kidman’s turn as Steven’s wife Anna also helped to earn her the 70th Anniversary Award as the Australian actress was presented with the specially created award for starring in four films in in festival while the festival’s Palme d’Or was awarded to Ruben Östlund’s, The Square.

Following its world premiere in Cannes, The Killing of a Sacred Deer was hailed as “a high point of the festival” and particular merit was placed on Keoghan’s performance, with the Irish Times’ Donald Clarke hailing it as his “international breakthrough.” Critics also praised Lanthimos’ complex and nuanced direction, observing how the film is one of the best films that this world-class director has ever made.

The film is financed by Film4 and New Sparta Films along with the Irish Film Board. The project was developed by Element Pictures with support from Film4. HanWay Films is worldwide sales agent with A24 on board as US distributor following its successful release of The Lobster last year. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
is scheduled for release on 3 November. 

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