The British Film Institute has named its 2022 crop of ‘Great8’ films, eight features from emerging U.K. filmmakers that it will showcase to international distributors and festival programmers in the run-up to the Marche du Film in Cannes.

Of the features, Mark Jenkin’s Enys Men has been selected for the official Directors’ Fortnight competition, while Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun is in Critics’ Week. The other six films are all in post-production.

Now in its fifth edition, the 2022 Great8 showcase is funded and run by the BFI and the British Council, in partnership with BBC Film and Film4, and will see unseen footage from all of the titles introduced by their filmmakers and exclusively screened on May 12 to buyers and festival programmers and made available across five different time zones. All of the features will be available to buyers during the Cannes Marché. Previous titles include Harry Wootliff’s True Things, Jim Archer’s Brian and Charles, Rose Glass’ Saint Maud and Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch.

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“Great8 has established itself to become an excellent showcase that presents work from some of the U.K.’s most talented and diverse talent, each with a unique story to tell,” said BFI director of industry and international affairs, Neil Peplow.

“We have seen how films from previous Great8 line-ups have gone on to be successful with worldwide audiences, and are excited by the interest being shown by buyers, programmers and industry in this year’s line-up which includes two films featuring in key Cannes sidebar selections as well as sneak peeks from six titles nearing completion.”

The 2022 crop of Great8 titles is as follows:

AFTERSUN
U.K.
Drama
Director/Writer: Charlotte Wells
Producers: Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Mark Ceryak
Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall
Production: Pastel, Unified Theory, BBC Film, BFI, Creative Scotland, Tango
Sales: Charades

Synopsis – Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father 20 years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between miniDV footage as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.

BIRCHANGER GREEN
U.K.
Sci-fi
Director/Writer: Moin Hussain
Producers: Michelle Stein
Cast: Faraz Ayub, Natalie Gavin, Claire Rushbrook, Simon Nagra, Steve Oram, Jeff Mirza
Production: Escape Films, Film4, BFI, Screen Yorkshire
Sales: Bankside Films

Synopsis – Adam works night shifts at a motorway service station and lives a small and lonely life. Upon hearing that his estranged father has died, he finds himself in search of answers. Piecing together a complicated image of a man he never knew, Adam starts to become convinced he descends from an alien race.

BLUE JEAN
U.K.
Drama
Director/Writer: Georgia Oakley
Producer: Hélène Sifre
Cast: Rosy McEwen, Kerrie Hayes, Lucy Halliday
Production: Kleio Films, BBC Film, BFI
Sales: Film Constellation

Synopsis – It’s 1988. Thatcher’s government has just passed a law that stereotypes lesbians and gays as paedophiles, recruiting children for their ‘deviant’ lifestyles. Female Physical Education teachers are prime targets for homophobic accusations, and as a result, Jean is forced to lead a double life. During the week she’s a respected member of staff; at the weekend she slips surreptitiously into Newcastle’s gay scene with her girlfriend, Viv. But when she’s confronted by one of her students in a lesbian bar, Jean is pushed to extreme lengths to save her job and her sanity.

ENYS MEN
U.K.
Horror
Director/Writer: Mark Jenkin (Bait)
Producer: Denzil Monk
Cast: Mary Woodvine, Edward Rowe, Flo Crowe, John Woodvine
Production: Bosena, Film4, Sound/Image Cinema Lab
Sales: Protagonist Pictures

Synopsis – Shot on 16mm, this Cornish folk horror film unfolds on an uninhabited island in the Celtic Sea where a wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower takes a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical.

A GAZA WEEKEND
U.K./Palestine
Comedy
Director: Basil Khalil (Ave Maria)
Writers: Basil Khalil, Daniel Chan
Producer: Amina Dasmal
Cast: Loai Noufi, Stephen Mangan, Mouna Hawa, Maria Zreik, Adam Bakri,
Production: BFI, Film4, Alcove Filmed Entertainment, Twickenham Studios, Faiza Saleh Ambah, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
Sales: Protagonist Pictures

Synopsis – Israel is sealed off after the outbreak of a deadly virus and Gaza has become the safest place in the region, leaving a British journalist and his Israeli girlfriend trapped on the wrong side of the border. With no one else to turn to, they must entrust two Palestinian street merchants who promise a way out in exchange for much needed cash. What follows is a hilarious culture clash comedy-adventure as the couple desperately try any and everything to get back home. A refreshing laugh-out-loud comedy from the U.K.-Palestine team behind the Oscar-nominated short film Ave Maria.

KENSUKE’S KINGDOM
U.K./Luxembourg/France
Animated family adventure
Directors: Kirk Hendry (Junk), Neil Boyle (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
Writer: Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Producers: Camilla Deakin, Ruth Fielding, Stephen Roelants, Sarah Radclyffe, Barnaby Spurrier, Adrian Politowski, Martin Metz, Jean Labadie, Anne-Laure Labadie
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Cillian Murphy, Raffey Cassidy, Aaron MacGregor, Ken Wanatabe
Production: BFI, Align, Lupus Films, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Jigsaw Films, Melusine Productions, Le Pacte, Bumpybox, Film Fund Luxembourg, Ffilm Cymru Wales
Sales: Bankside Films

Synopsis – A young boy, shipwrecked on a remote island, discovers he is not alone when he clashes with an old Japanese soldier marooned there since World War II. But as dangerous invaders appear on the horizon, it becomes clear they must join forces to save their fragile island paradise. Kensuke’s Kingdom is a hand-drawn animated feature film based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo.

SCRAPPER
U.K.
Comedy drama
Director/Writer: Charlotte Regan (Standby)
Producer: Theo Barrowclough; Executive producers: Daniel Emmerson, Michael Fassbender, Conor McCaughan
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Olivia Brady, Lola Campbell, Ambreen Razia, Alin Uzun
Production: DMC Film, BFI, BBC Film, Great Point Media
Sales: Charades

Synopsis – Georgie is a 12-year-old girl who lives on her own in London. She’s happy about it, in fact she’d rather have it that way. She steals bikes with her best mate Ali and sells them on to get by. At home, her flat is filled with magic – the resident spiders are constantly making snarky comments and she seems to be building a strange tower into the sky from her mum’s bedroom. When her estranged father turns up out of blue, she’s forced to confront what’s really going on.

SWEET SUE
U.K.
Comedy drama
Director/Writer: Leo Leigh (Swansea Love Story)
Producer: Scott O’Donnell, Andy Brunskill, Tim Nash
Cast:  Maggie O’Neill, Tony Pitts, Harry Trevaldwyn
Production – Somesuch, Sums Film & Media, BBC Film
Sales: Hanway Films

Synopsis – Sue is back on the dating scene. She meets a mysterious biker called Ron at her brother’s funeral and sparks fly. But when Ron introduces her to his social-media influencer son, Anthony, Sue finds herself in an increasingly surreal battle of wills with this ambitious teenager who, despite showing no signs of talent, is convinced that his dance troupe ‘Electric Destiny’ is tipped for stardom. Will she find the purpose and imagination to bring this little unconventional family together for a chance at happiness? Sweet Sue is an intimate comedy-drama that delves into finding love late in life.

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