Leave no trace escape and JoJo Rabbit Star Thomasin McKenzie to play American ballet dancer Joy Womack in James Napier Robertson Joika, among the new projects sold at the next Cannes online market.
The film will be shot in Thomasin’s native New Zealand – where production is ‘already safely underway’ according to the New Zealand Film Commission – with the filmmakers ready to ‘use digital technology to navigate ongoing pandemic restrictions “.
Joika is based on the true story of Joy “Joika” Womack, one of the few foreigners – and only two American women – to ever enter Moscow’s infamous Bolshoi Ballet Academy, when she graduated from her main training program and was offered a contract in 2014. After a stint in South Korea as a principal dancer with Universal Ballet, Womack returned to the United States where she now dances with the Boston Ballet .
Womack personally oversees McKenzie’s training and will act as the actress’ lookalike for the more demanding sequences.
Napier Robertson and Hern’s Four Knights Films (shadow in the cloud, Akimbo Firearms, The black horse) will produce alongside Paul Green of Anonymous Content (The Loft, Triple 9, The fifth state), Paula Munoz Vega and Laurie Ross. Luke Rivett will serve as executive producer.
Embankment are executive producers and have launched worldwide sales and co-represented US rights with UTA Independent Film Group.