1917 star George MacKay and Candyman actor Nathan Stewart-Jarrett have signed on to star in Femme, a London-set revenge thriller that Anton will produce and sell internationally.

Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping will direct Femme based on their 2021 BAFTA-nominated short film of the same name. Stewart-Jarrett plays Jules, whose life and career as a drag queen is destroyed after a humiliating homophobic attack. When he spots one of his attackers, the deeply-closeted Preston (MacKay), in a gay sauna, he begins to plot his revenge. Realizing Preston doesn’t recognize him in his boy form, Jules begins to insinuate himself into Preston’s life and, in doing so, discovers power in a new kind of drag. But the dangerous seduction threatens to turn deadly at any moment. 

“We are huge fans of thrillers, but we felt that the predominantly hyper-masculine genre often excludes the queer perspective,” Freeman and Ping said in a statement. “By putting a gay protagonist at the heart of a thriller, we aim to invert expectations, and push stories from the margin, and ourselves as queer artists, into the mainstream.”

Femme, which premiered at South by South West last year, won a British Independent Film Award for Best British Short Film and was BAFTA nominated. Agile Films, which produced the short film, is on board for the feature, with Agile’s Myles Payne and Sam Ritzenberg as lead producers and Hayley Williams co-producing. BBC Film and Anton will co-finance the project. Executive producers are Eva Yates for BBC Film, as well as Marnie Podos, Sebastien Raybaud and Cecile Gaget for Anton. Production is set to start in London in June.

Anton will kick off international sales for Femme at the Cannes Film Market later this month.

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