Historical Thriller “Gareth Jones” Selected for Competition Programme of Berlin International Film Festival

• 10.01.2019

The world premiere of this film, co-produced by Poland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, will be held in Berlin in February 2019.

This historical thriller “Gareth Jones” made by Agnieszka Holland and co-produced by Poland (Film Produkcja the support of the Polish Film Institute), Ukraine (Kinorob the support of the State Film Agency of Ukraine) and the UK (Boy Jones Films) will participate in the main competition programme of the 69-th Berlin International Film Festival that this year will be held on February 7—17 this year. A full-scale Ukrainian release of the film is planned for autumn 2019.  

“We are thankful to the organizers of the Berlin International Film Festival for the opportunity to participate in the official competition programme. “Gareth Jones” (MR. JONES) is a very powerful and emotional story, which is very important for today’s world, and especially for our country. Besides having good festival potential, the film has all chances to become popular with a wider audience. We can’t wait for the world premiere in Berlin and we keep our fingers crossed!” – comments Yegor Olesov, the film’s producer.

Gareth Jones” (MR. JONES) is a real untold story of a young Welsh journalist Gareth Jones who, in 1933, travelled to the Soviet Union to expose and publish to the world the truth about the crimes of the Stalinist regime and the Holodomor (man-made famine) in Ukraine. He saw the famine with his own eyes, and spoke out against it to the entire world without hesitation. But the world turned a deaf ear, because the politicians of the West were reluctant to recognize and confront this inconvenient story, and the highly-regarded media failed to support him in his crusade to expose the truth, continuing to publish alternative news conceived in Moscow. What first seemed a routine journalist investigation quickly turned into a mortally dangerous endeavour, and its revelations laid the foundation for George Orwell’s famous allegorical novel, “Animal Farm”.

As highlighted by Head of State Film Agency of Ukraine Pylyp Illyenko: “It’s important that out of all the films supported by the State Film Agency of Ukraine, it is Mr. JONES that will compete in Berlinale’s main programme, one of the most prestigious and most visited international film festivals. This film is important not only for the Ukrainian cinema, but for the whole of Ukraine, and therefore its world premiere in the main competition programme of Berlinale will help bring to the world the truth about Holodomor of 1932-1933 as a genocide of the Ukrainian nation .”

The head of the European Film Academy, Oscar and BAFTA nominee and winner of the 2017 Berlinale Golden Bear, Agnieszka Holland, directed the film.   The lead roles in the film were performed by James Norton (War and Peace, Happy Valley, McMafia), Vanessa Kirby (Crown, Mission is impossible: Fallout, Hobbs and Shaw), and Peter Sarsgaard (Jackie, the Magnificent Seven, An Education). Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones), Kenneth Cranham (Maleficent, Valkyrie) will also join the cast, as well as Ukrainian actors Yakiv Tkachenko (The Strayed), Oleh Drach (Battle for Sevastopol, A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa), Volodymyr Fedoruk, Anna Shaidiuk, Anastasia Chala and Alina Kovalska are also joining the film’s cast.

In March 2018, photography took place in Ukraine, followed by an international team working in Poland and Scotland.

TV channel Ukraine is the principal media partner and broadcaster of the historical thriller "Gareth Jones".

Follow the news of the project at this link.

Synopsis: In 1933, Welsh reporter Gareth Jones is looking for his next big story. The latest news brings him to Moscow, where he meets American journalist Ada Brooks. Ada reveals to him the truth about the “Soviet utopia” that has nothing to do with reality. Despite death threats, Gareth starts his investigation. Hiding from the Soviet secret police, bit by bit he uncovers the truth about the tragedy of the Ukrainian people:  the Holodomor, censorship, conspiracies and mass repressions.  Later the Gareth’s work finds a home as the basis of scathing allegory Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Directed by: Agnieszka Holland

Produced by: Klaudia Smieja, Stanislaw Dziedzic, Egor Olesov, Angus Lamont, Andrea Chalupa

Director of Photography: Tomasz Naumiuk

Written by: Andrea Serdaru Barbul

Cast: James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard, Joseph Mawle, Kenneth Cranham, Yakiv Tkachenko, Oleg Drach, Volodymyr Fedoruk, Anna Shaydyuk, Anastasia Chala, Alina Kovalska, and others

Costume designer: Oleksandra Stazko, Gala Otenko

Production designer: Grzegorz Piontkowski, Vlad Dudko

Composer: Antoni Komasa-Lazarkevych

Ukrainian premiere: Autumn 2019

Genre: historical thriller

Produced by: Film Produkcja, Kinorob, Boy Jones Films with the support of the State Film Agency of Ukraine and the Polish Film Institute

Duration: 110 min