Editor’s note: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates the scripts of films that will factor in this year’s movie awards races.
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The pic debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May and has graced almost every major international film festival since, raking in a series of early awards-season wins. Wells’ impressive awards haul includes Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Debut Director at the British Independent Film Awards.
A24 scooped up the pic after its premiere in Cannes’ Critics’ Week lineup and released it in theaters in October.
Inspired by, but not based on, Wells’ experiences as the child of young parents, the poignant 1990s-set film explores a father and daughter’s complex relationship against the backdrop of a simmering holiday the pair have taken to a resort in Turkey.
The plot is deceptively simple, almost docu-realist in its methodical beats until the narrative begins to morph into something much more sophisticated, with deeply moving performances from Paul Mescal (Normal People) and newcomer Frankie Corio.
“I’m actually a little in awe of the fact that this film has — and could — reach so many people,” Wells told Deadline of Aftersun’s success, which includes multiple nominations at the Gothams and Spirit Awards. “I mean, I didn’t choose to make this film. It came from a place of expression, and you don’t think about an audience at all when you begin to write something.”
The film was produced by Barry Jenkins and Adele Romanski’s Pastel Pictures, who discovered Wells thanks to one of her short films that screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017.
“We stayed in touch after our first meeting, and I promised [Romanski] the script. Eventually, two years later, I delivered it,” she said of their collaboration.
“We developed the script a lot over the subsequent two years or so. Obviously, the pandemic got in the way, but we were always moving forward toward production.”
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