Laptop Cinema Club: SUMMERLAND
Join WIF and writer/director of SUMMERLAND, Jessica Swale in conversation with stars, Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. This conversation will be moderated by journalists Rebecca Sun. SUMMERLAND follows Alice (Arterton) who is a reclusive writer, resigned to a solitary life on the seaside cliffs of Southern England while World War II rages across the channel. When she opens her front door one day to find she’s to adopt a young London evacuee named Frank, she’s resistant. It’s not long, however, before the two realize they have more in common in their pasts than Alice had assumed.
Wednesday, July 29 | 12PM PT
The first 100 attendees will be admitted into the webinar. All other registrants will be redirected to Facebook Live.
About JESSICA SWALE (Writer and Director)
Jessica Swale is an Olivier award-winning writer and director, hailed as one of Variety’s Top Ten Brits to watch in 2019 and one of five recipients of BAFTAS JJ Screenwriting Bursary Awards.
Originally a lauded theatre director, Jessica began her career by setting up Red Handed Theatre Company, to create lively new versions of classic plays, and was quickly named the “best young director of period comedy” by The Guardian. She went on to win the Peter Brook Award for Best Ensemble in 2012 and an Evening Standard Theatre nomination as ‘Best Director’ for THE BELLE’S STRATAGEM in 2012. Other directing credits include FALLEN ANGELS (Salisbury Playhouse), WINTER (TFL, Canada), THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Park Theatre/ Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), THE BUSY BODY, THE RIVALS, SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME (Southwark Playhouse), PALACE OF THE END (Arcola), and her own adaptations of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (Watermill, Newbury). In 2010, Jessica directed the first play by a woman ever to be staged at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre with Nell Leyshon’s BEDLAM.
Then moving into writing- somewhat accidentally- Jessica’s first play BLUE STOCKINGS was a runaway success. “A lively and eye-opening piece” (Paul Taylor, Independent) which premiered at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2013, it led to great critical acclaim and won her a nomination for ‘Most Promising Playwright’ at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. BLUE STOCKINGS has since become a set text on the UK GCSE Drama Syllabus and is one of the most performed plays in the UK. The play follows the fortunes the country’s first female university students, a rebellious band of young women, at Girton College Cambridge through the 1890s. Jessica is currently developing the tv series version.
Her second play, NELL GWYNN, an original comedy, transferred from a sell-out run at Shakespeare’s Globe to the West End, where it won Best New Comedy at the 2016 Olivier Awards. NELL GWYNN is explores the life of one of the first female actresses, Nell Gwynn (played originally by Gugu Mbatha Raw, then by GEMMA ARTERTON in the West End), from her time as an orange seller to starring onstage and her life as the King’s escort.
Now writing regularly for film and tv, Jessica’s other work includes HORRIBLE HISTORIES THE MOVIE! (Altitude, 2019) and the upcoming films NELL GWYNN (Working Title), LONGBOURN (Studio Canal), PERSUASION (Fox Searchlight) an original romantic comedy for STUDIO CANAL and a new TV series for Left Bank.
An active member of Times Up, Jessica also wrote and directed TV short LEADING LADY PARTS (2018) featuring Tom Hiddleston, Emilia Clarke, Gemma Arterton, Florence Pugh and Gemma Chan, which has to date had more than 45 million views.
SUMMERLAND is Jessica’s debut feature film. It is based on her own original screenplay, which she wrote after becoming one of five recipients of the BAFTA Screenwriter’s Bursary. It will be released by IFC Films on July 31st.
Jessica is author of a best-selling series of DRAMA GAMES books, published by Nick Hern (DRAMA GAMES for Classrooms and Workshops and DRAMA GAMES for Devising; DRAMA GAMES for Rehearsals is due out in 2015). She is currently writing her first novel.
About GEMMA ARTERTON (Alice)
British actress Gemma Arterton is well known for her stage and screen presence.
Gemma will star as Vita Sackville-West in the upcoming biopic VITA AND VIRGINIA, telling the true story of the love affair between Vita and literary icon Virginia Woolf. Directed by Chanya Button and also starring Elizabeth Debicki, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Gemma will also voice the role of ‘Clover’ in the upcoming Watership Down TV miniseries for BBC/Netflix. She stared in, and produced, THE ESCAPE alongside Dominic Cooper, with the film premiering at the Toronto Film Festival last year. Dominic Savage directed this dramatic telling of an ordinary woman who makes an extraordinary decision that changed her life forever.
It was recently announced that Gemma will star as singer Dusty Springfield in the biopic SO MUCH LOVE. Phyllis Nagy has written the screenplay and will direct the film, which follows Springfield as she navigates her way through the politics of both the recording studio and Memphis.
Gemma is currently filming Jessica Swale’s directing debut film SUMMERLAND, where she takes on the role of ‘Alice’. Swale has also written the screenplay, which is set during the Second World War. She will also lead the voice cast of the upcoming family animation SPACEDOG AND TURBOCAT. Written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Ben Smith, the film will follow loyal canine Buddy and feline vigilance Felix on an animated superhero adventure about friendship, heroism, and finding your way back home.
Gemma recently wrapped filming on the comedy MURDER MYSTERY, alongside an all-star cast including Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, and David Walliams. The film is directed by Kyle Newacheck and tells the story of a New York cop and his wife who go on a European vacation but end up getting framed for the death of an elderly billionaire. It will be released next year.
2017 saw Gemma star in a number of films. Firstly, she starred in 100 STREETS alongside Idris Elba and Samantha Barks, which followed four people with extraordinary stories, all lived out within a hundred London streets. Gemma was also seen in THEIR FINEST, co-starring Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy, directed by Lone Scherfig. The story takes place during World War II, where a British film crew attempts to boost morale by making a propaganda film after the Blitzkrieg. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival in 2016. We also saw Gemma in French film ORPHELINE, co-starring Adele Exarchopoulos, Adele Haenel and Nicolas Duvauchelle. Gemma starred in THE HISTORY OF LOVE, as ‘Alma’ alongside Derek Jacobi, Elliott Gould and Sophie Nelisse. The plot relates to the story of a long-lost book that mysteriously reappears and connects an old man searching for his son with a girl seeking a cure for her mother’s loneliness.
2017 also saw Gemma on stage in Saint Joan at the Donmar Warehouse, starring as Joan of Arc in Josie Rourke’s production of Bernard Shaw’s classic play. The play ended in February and was live broadcast to cinemas across Britain as part of National Theatre Live.
In 2016, Gemma was seen on screen in THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, Colm McCarthy’s adaption of M.R. Carey’s novel. Gemma stars in the role of ‘Helen Justineau’ alongside Glenn Close and Paddy
Considine. The film was released 23rd September in the UK and will be released later this month in the US.
On stage, Gemma took on the title role of ‘Nell Gwynn’ at London’s Apollo Theatre. Gemma’s critically acclaimed performance gained her a ‘Best Actress’ nomination at that year’s Olivier Awards and the play also received the award for ‘Best New Comedy’.
In 2015, Gemma finished a run in the hit West End musical version of the 2010 film Made In Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre. The story follows the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination. She was also seen in Marjane Satrapi’s horror comedy THE VOICES, starring alongside Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick.
September 2014 saw Gemma play the title lead in her first foreign language role, in GEMMA BOVERY - an adaptation of a Posy Simmonds graphic novel directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) and starring Fabrice Luchini. The film premiered at Toronto Film Festival. In 2013, Gemma starred in four feature films; HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS opposite Jeremy Renner, London-set comedic drama SONG FOR MARION alongside Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp, as vampire ‘Clara’ opposite Saoirse Ronan in Neil Jordan’s BYZANTIUM and as ‘Rebecca Shafran’ in the Brad Furman thriller RUNNER, RUNNER, starring alongside Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.
In 2012, Gemma voiced the character of ‘Shelley’ in A TURTLE’S TALE: SAMMY’S ADVENTURE, an animated feature including voices from John Hurt and Dominic Cooper. She also starred in the title role in TAMARA DREWE directed by award-winning director Stephen Frears, opposite Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans and Tamsin Greig. In 2010, Gemma appeared alongside Sam Worthington as the goddess ‘Io’ in Louis Letterier’s remake of the 1981 epic CLASH OF THE TITANS, based on the classic Greek myth. She also played the lead female role of ‘Princess Tamina’ in Disney’s PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME, directed by Mike Newell, starring alongside Hollywood stars Jake Gyllenhall and Sir Ben Kingsley. In 2009, Gemma starred in J Blakeson’s independent film The DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED, a thrilling tale of kidnapping and intrigue in which she played the title role alongside Martin Compston & Eddie Marsan.
Amongst her other film credits, Gemma starred in Richard Curtis’ THE BOAT THAT ROCKED, a period comedy set in the 1960's co-starring a host of greats such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy and Emma Thompson and in 2008, Gemma starred as iconic Bond Girl ‘Strawberry Fields’ in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, directed by Marc Forster and starring Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench. Her other film credits include Guy Ritchie’s gangster film ROCKNROLLA, THREE AND OUT, directed by Jonathan Gershfield, and the classic remake of ST TRINIAN’S directed by Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson, for which she was nominated for an Empire Award and won a National Movie Award.
For television, Gemma’s heartrending portrayal of the heroic ‘Tess’ in the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ co-starring Eddie Redmayne and Hans Matheson earned her rave reviews and numerous award nominations. She also played the role of ‘Elizabeth Bennett’ in ITV’s costume drama ‘Lost in Austen’. In 2007 she also starred in the BBC’s ‘Capturing Mary’, directed by Stephen Poliakoff, in which she played the character ‘Liza’ alongside Dame Maggie Smith, David Walliams and Ruth Wilson.
For the stage, in early 2010 Gemma make her West End debut at the Garrick alongside Rupert Friend and Tamsin Greig, in Douglas Carter Beane’s Award-winning Broadway comedy ‘The Little Dog Laughed’. She also returned to the stage in November 2010 at the internationally renowned Almeida Theatre in Henrik Ibsen’s ‘The Master Builder’, for which, Gemma’s performance earned her critical acclaim for her ‘spellbinding’ turn as ‘Hilda Wangel’. Gemma also starred in ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ at the Shakespeare's Globe new Sam Wanamaker theatre, for which she received rave reviews. Her previous theatre credits include the role of ‘Rosaline’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in ‘Love Labour’s Lost’ directed by Dominic Dromgoole. After gaining an award for ‘Best Supporting Actress for ‘Kent’, she gained a full scholarship to RADA where she took lead roles in productions such as ‘An Ideal Husband’, ‘Titus Andronicus’ and ‘The Beggar’s Opera’.
About GUGU MBATRHRA-RAW (Vera)
Gugu Mbatha Raw is an award-winning actor of the stage and screen. Her stage performances include HAMLET (2009) alongside Jude Law in the West End, ELSINORE in Denmark and Broadway, and NELL GWYNN (2015), for which she was nominated for ‘Best Actress’ at the 2015 Evening Standard Theatre awards.
In film, Gugu has starred in LARRY CROWNE (2011) alongside Tom Hanks, and period drama BELLE (2013) for which Gugu won Best Actress at the 2014 BIFA Awards. She has also starred in CONCUSSION (2015) alongside Will Smith, THE WHOLE TRUTH (2016) starring Keanu Reeves and Renée Zellweger, MISS SLOANE (2016) with Jessica Chastain, FREE STATE OF JONES with Matthew McConaughey and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017) where she played the playful character of Plumette.
In 2016 Gugu starred in SAN JUNIPERO, the only episode of Netflix anthology series BLACK MIRROR ever to offer a happy ending. It has been widely celebrated by both critics and the viewing public since its release as a socially important and otherwise enrapturing piece of art. Starring Gugu Mbatha Raw and Mackenzie Davis, the episode had higher critical ratings than the show's other episodes, and some critics considered it one of the best television episodes of 2016. In addition to several other accolades, "San Junipero" won two Primetime Emmy Awards in the Television Movie and Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special categories.
In 2018, Gugu starred in Disney’s blockbuster fantasy A WRINKLE IN TIME opposite Oprah Winfrey and Reece Witherspoon whilst also appearing in romantic tragicomedy CLOVERFIELD PARADOX and comedy drama IRREPLACEABLE YOU. She also appeared in film drama FARMING, based on the writer/director’s Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje childhood which tells the story of a young Nigerian boy, ‘farmed out’ by his parents to a white British family in the hope of a better future. Instead he becomes the feared leader of a skinhead gang.
This spring Gugu plays lead superhero ‘Ruth’ in supernatural thriller, FAST COLOR which follows Ruth as she is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Later in 2019 she will star in MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN alongside Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Willem Dafoe which tells the story of a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna.
Furthermore, 2019 will see Gugu appear alongside Angelina Jolie and Michael Cain Peter Pan in COME AWAY, the prequel to Peter Pan and Alice and Wonderland. She will also appear in Apple TV drama series MORNING SHOW starring Billy Crudup, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. The series explores the unique challenges faced by the women and men and who carry out morning TV.
Gugu has recently completed filming on the anticipated pageant comedy drama MISBEHAVIOUR where she will star alongside Kiera Knightly and Jessie Buckley. The screenplay comes from Rebecca Frayn, with revisions by Gaby Chiappe, and is based on the true story of the first black woman to win the Miss World competition.
She has just recently finished filming for her lead role in humanitarian drama SEACOLE which follows the story of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican doctor who sought to work with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War.
About REBECCA SUN (Moderator)
Rebecca Sun was most recently a senior reporter at The Hollywood Reporter, where she covered the business of entertainment and wrote about inclusion and representation in media. In 2019, the nonprofit collective Gold House named her to the A100 list of the most impactful Asians and AAPIs in culture. Her work has been recognized via GLAAD Media and Southern California Journalism Award nominations, and she has received a National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in January 2013, she spent eight years as a writer and editor at Sports Illustrated in New York. A native of the Bay Area, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from NYU and a bachelor’s degree in biology and English from Duke University.