EXCLUSIVE: Benelux deal signed at Rotterdam festival for period drama starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny.

Love and Friendship

Amsterdam-based Cineart has acquired Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, which received its European premiere at International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) this week following its Sundance debut. 

Cineart will release in Benelux this summer, after negotiating a deal with the film’s French producer Lauranne Bourrachot of Chic Films and Dutch co-producer Raymond van der Kaaij. Amazon Studios secured US rights last year and Curzon Artificial Eye has taken the film for the UK. Protagonist reps world sales rights.

The film is screening this week at IFFR, where it is nominated for the VPRO Big Screen Award.

Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Stephen Fry and Emma Greenwell star in Love & Friendship, which reunites the two lead actresses with Stillman for the first time since 1998 cult classic The Last Days Of Disco.

Based on the Jane Austen novella Lady Susan and set in the 1790s, the story follows young widow Lady Susan Vernon (Beckinsale) who visits estate of her in-laws, to wait out the colourful rumours about her dalliances circulating through polite society.

Whilst there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and for her eligible but reluctant debutante daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark).

The waters are troubled by the arrival of the handsome, eligible Reginald DeCourcy (Samuel) and silly but cheerful - and very rich - Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).

Sevigny plays Lady Susan’s friend and confidante Alicia Johnson, with Fry as her husband, the “very respectable” Mr Johnson.

The film is produced by Damsels In Distress and Metropolitan director Stillman, Katie Holly and Lauranne Bourrachot, and co-produced by Raymond van der Kaaij.

It is a Westerly Films production in association with Blinder Films, Chic Films, Revolver Amsterdam, Irish Film Board, Arte and the Netherlands Film Fund.

Filming took place in Ireland in February 2015.