BBC Film celebrates four films at Cannes, including Bird

Andrea Arnold’s BIRD will World Premiere In Competition; Rungano Nyoni’s ON BECOMING A GUINEA FOWLSandhya Suri’s SANTOSH and Ariane Labed’s SEPTEMBER SAYS will premiere in Un Certain Regard

Four films backed by BBC Film will screen in Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival next month: BIRD, from award-winning writer-director Andrea Arnold (Cow, Fish Tank, Red Road) will screen In Competition, alongside three films in Un Certain Regard: ON BECOMING A GUINEA FOWL, the second feature from Rungano Nyoni (I am Not a Witch); SANTOSH, the narrative feature debut from writer-director Sandhya Suri (I For India, The Field); and SEPTEMBER SAYS, the feature directorial debut from Ariane Labed based on the novel ‘Sisters’ by British author Daisy Johnson.

Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film, says of the Cannes selections:

We couldn’t be happier for Andrea, Rungano, Sandhya, Ariane and their filmmaking teams, who have made truly brilliant films that we cannot wait for the world to see. The BBC is proud to be a home for their vital work; BIRD, ON BECOMING A GUINEA FOWL, SANTOSH and SEPTEMBER SAYS are four singular films which share a vigour and incision through which they tell us so much about ourselves and our humanity.”

About the films (in alphabetical order):


Written & Directed by Andrea Arnold / Starring: Barry Keoghan, Franz Rogowski

12-year-old Bailey lives with her single dad Bug and brother Hunter in a squat in North Kent. Bug doesn’t have much time for his kids and Bailey who is approaching puberty seeks attention and adventure elsewhere.

BIRD is directed by BAFTA and Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold whose last feature was the BBC Film-backed 2021 documentary Cow, and whose previous narrative features include American Honey, Wuthering Heights, Fish Tank, and Red Road.

Produced by House Productions, and developed with BBC Film, financiers include BBC Film, BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), Pinky Promise, FirstGen and Access Entertainment.


Written & Directed by Rungano Nyoni 

The second feature from Rungano Nyoni, whose acclaimed debut I Am Not A Witch screened in Director’s Fortnight 2017 and won the BAFTA Outstanding Debut award in 2018.

Produced by Element Pictures and developed with BBC Film, financiers include A24, BBC Film and Fremantle.


Written & Directed by Sandhya Suri / Starring: Shahana Goswami

Newly widowed Santosh inherits her husband’s job as a police constable in the rural badlands of Northern India. When a low caste girl is found raped and murdered, she is pulled into the investigation under the wing of charismatic feminist inspector Sharma.

SANTOSH is the narrative directorial debut of writer-director Sandhya Suri (I For India, The Field) who also wrote the original screenplay for the film which stars Shahana Goswami (Zwigato, A Suitable Boy). Suri’s feature documentary I For India premiered in the World Competition section of the Sundance Film Festival 2006, and her first narrative short The Field won the best international short film prize at Toronto Film Festival 2018 and was BAFTA-nominated for best short film in 2019.

Backed by the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and BBC Film in co-production with ZDF/ARTE and CNC, the Hindi-language film shot for 44 days in and around the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is produced by Mike Goodridge, James Bowsher, Balthazar de Ganay and Alan McAlex.

Production companies are Good Chaos in association with Suitable Pictures in India and in co-production with Razor Film in Germany and Haut et Court in France.

MK2 is handling international sales.


Written & Directed by Ariane Labed / Based on the novel by Daisy Johnson / Starring: Mia Tharia, Rakhee Thakrar, Pascale Kann

Sisters July and September are thick as thieves, though very different -September is protective and distrustful of others, while July is open to and curious about the world. Their dynamic is a concern to their single mum, Sheela, who is unsure what to do with them. When September is suspended from their school, July is left to fend for herself and begins to assert her own independence – which does not go unnoticed by September. Tension among the three women builds when they take refuge in an old holiday home in Ireland, where July finds her bond with September shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand or control – and a series of surreal encounters test the family to their limit.

Ariane Labed’s feature directorial debut SEPTEMBER SAYS is based on the novel ‘Sisters’ by British Booker Prize shortlisted author Daisy Johnson and adapted for the screen by Labed; it stars Mia Tharia (Klara and the Sun, The Listeners) and Rakhee Thakrar (Wonka, Sex Education) and introduces Pascale Kann in her screen debut. Labed is a well-known French actress, she won the Volpi Cup for best actress at Venice Film Festival in 2010 for her film debut Attenberg. Labed’s short film Olla premiered at Cannes in 2019.

SEPTEMBER SAYS is a Sackville, Crybaby, MFP co-production in association with Element Pictures. The film is produced by Chelsea Morgan Hoffmann, Lara Hickey, Ed Guiney, and Andrew Lowe. It was developed by Element Pictures and BBC Film, with support of the Creative Europe Programme, MEDIA, and financed by BBC Film, in association with Screen Ireland with support of Eurimages and NRW in association with UK Global Screen Fund and with the participation of Arte / ZDF. Executive Producers are Claudia Yusef for BBC Film and Greg Martin and Niamh Fagan for Screen Ireland. The co-producers are Rachel Dargavel, Viola Fügen, Michael Weber and Cécile Tollu Polonowski.

The Match Factory is handling worldwide sales.


Firmly established at the forefront of UK film, BBC Film has an ambitious slate featuring many of the most exciting filmmakers working today.

BBC Film’s recent cinema releases include: THE IRON CLAW from Sean Durkin (The Nest) starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Lily James; ONE LIFE directed by James Hawes starring Anthony Hopkins, Johnny Flynn, Romola Garai and Helena Bonham-Carter; Mahalia Belo’s THE END WE START FROM, written by Alice Birch and based on the novel by Megan Hunter, starring Jodie Comer, Joel Fry, Katherine Waterston, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch; Sacha Polak’s SILVER HAZE starring Vicky Knight and Esme Creed-Miles; 2023’s top grossing UK independent film THE GREAT ESCAPER from Oliver Parker, starring Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson; Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping’s BIFA-winning FEMME, starring George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett; Charlotte Regan’s BIFA-winning and BAFTA-nominated SCRAPPER starring Harris Dickinson, Lola Campbell and Alin Uzun.

Upcoming BBC Film titles include: Andrea Arnold’s BIRD starring Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski; ON BECOMING A GUINEA FOWL, the second feature from Rungano Nyoni (I Am Not A Witch); SANTOSH, the debut feature from Screen International Star of Tomorrow Sandhya Suri (I For India, The Field); Ariane Labed’s feature directorial debut SEPTEMBER SAYS based on the novel ‘Sisters’ by Daisy Johnson; HOARD from Luna Carmoon, starring Saura Lightfoot Leon, Joseph Quinn, Hayley Squires and Deba Hekmat which took three prizes at Venice Critics’ Week; Sundance 2024 hit THE OUTRUN directed by Nora Fingscheidt, based on Amy Liptrot’s best-selling memoir and starring Saoirse Ronan and Paapa Essiedu; Martin Scorsese narrated documentary MADE IN ENGLAND: THE FILMS OF POWELL AND PRESSBURGER directed by David Hinton (Berlin Film Festival 2024); BAFTA-nominated director Lucy Cohen’s magical coming-of-age tale EDGE OF SUMMER (Glasgow Film Festival 2024); TUESDAY from Daina O. Pusić, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lola Petticrew and Arinzé Kene; Annie Baker’s JANET PLANET starring Julianne Nicholson, Zoe Ziegler, and Sophie Okonedo; Daniel Kokotajlo’s second film, STARVE ACRE starring Matt Smith and Morfydd Clark; and, Naqqash Khalid’s IN CAMERA, starring Nabhaan Rizwan, Amir El-Masry, and Rory Fleck Byrne.

Acclaimed BBC Film titles in the last few years include: Raine Allen-Miller’s BAFTA-nominated RYE LANE; Charlotte Wells’s BAFTA-winning, and Oscar-nominated AFTERSUN; Jane Campion’s Oscar and BAFTA award-winning THE POWER OF THE DOG; Joanna Hogg’s THE SOUVENIRTHE SOUVENIR PART II and THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER; Fyzal Boulifa’s debut LYNN + LUCY and second feature THE DAMNED DON’T CRY; Palme d’Or winning and multi Oscar-nominated TRIANGLE OF SADNESS from Ruben Östlund; and the four-time BAFTA-nominated and six-time BIFA-winning AFTER LOVE, the debut film from Aleem Khan starring Joanna Scanlan, BAFTA winner for Leading Actress.

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