British debut feature plays in competition at the San Sebastián Film Festival.

Lady Macbeth

Spanish distribution outfit Betta Pictures has picked up rights to William Oldroyd’s debut feature Lady Macbeth.

Following its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, the period drama is one of the hot tickets in competition at this year’s San Sebastián Film Festival (Sept 16-24).

Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales.

Speaking to Screen, Alex Lafuente, partner and head of acquisitions at Betta, underlined the potential of Lady Macbeth: “I believe Oldroyd’s opera prima will be one of the great finds of this year’s competitive section. [It has the potential] To please both an adult audience and the media covering San Sebastián, [which is] key to ensuring an impact in the local market.”

According to Lafuente, this British art film, an adaptation of Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 Russian novella Lady Macbeth Of The Mtsensk District, “brings a fresh turn to period drama, using both irony and a turn towards film noir”.

Lafuente also underlined the powerful performance of Oldroyd’s lead actress, British newcomer Florence Pugh (The Falling) as a young woman trapped in a marriage of convenience. She stars alongside Cosmo Jarvis and Christopher Fairbank.

Lady Macbeth was produced by Sixty Six Pictures and took part in Creative England’s low-budget film-funding scheme iFeatures.

The film marks another international bet for Betta, which will also release Danis Tanovic’s Death In Sarajevo in January.