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Acorn TV March 2021 Highlights

1 Mar: KEEPING FAITH SERIES 1 AND 2

The original Welsh Noir and ratings winner follows tenacious lawyer, wife and mother Faith Howells (Eve Myles, Broadchurch, Torchwood), who must deal with the sudden, mysterious disappearance of her husband Evan (Bradley Freegard, Under Milk Wood). Series Two returns 18 months after Faith's life was turned upside and she is drawn into a new mystery, a murder case that sees farmer (Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Peaky Blinders), accused of murdering her husband in cold blood. she must also contend with the fall out of previous events.

8 Mar: OLD SCHOOL

It's cops versus robbers as acting legends Bryan Brown (Gorillas in The Mist) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) team up to play retired criminal Lennie Cahill (Brown) and retired cop Ted McCabe (Neill). The unlikely pair join forces to try and crack a slew of mysteries, but could they be connected to a heist-gone-wrong that happened 12 years earlier, that left both men physically and emotionally scarred? This action-packed eight-part series has the perfect combination of dramatic tension and sidesplitting humour, as this odd couple pay homage to the good old days.

15 Mar: SAFE HARBOUR

When five Australians on a sailing holiday come across a fishing boat full of desperate asylum seekers, they stop to help. They tow the boat and its passengers through the night, but later discover it's mysteriously disappeared. Years later, one of the Australians, Ryan (Ewen Leslie, The Luminaries), gets into a taxi driven by Ismail, one the refugees. Overjoyed to learn they reached Australia, he invites Ismail and his family to a barbeque. It's there Ryan and the others learn the real truth - someone cut the rope leaving the boat to sink and seven people to lose their lives, including Ismail's nine-year-old daughter. As suspicions are raised and fingers pointed, will they find out what happened that night and was it really a coincidence that Ryan saw Ismail again?

15 Mar: THE KETTERING INCIDENT

Hollywood star Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager, Guardians of the Galaxy) takes the lead as a woman with a mysterious past. Set on the isolated island of Tasmania, this tense, gripping thriller follows one woman's journey to find the truth about her past. In 2000, a young Anna and her friend Gillian saw strange lights in the forest, but after going to investigate, only one of them returned. Years later an unwelcome Anna, now a successful doctor Anna (Debicki) returns to Kettering and is drawn back into the past. 15 years later the lights return and another disappearance sees the community ask is history repeating itself and what really was The Kettering Incident?

29 Mar: THE SLAP

Featuring an A-list line-up, this American adaptation of the hit Australian series based on Christos Tsiolkas's 2008 novel The Slap stars Brian Cox (Succession) Melissa George (Mulholland Drive), Thandie Newton (Line of Duty), Zachary Quinto (NOS4A2) Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don't Cry) and Uma Thurman (Kill Bill). When Aisha and Hector host a birthday party in their garden to celebrate his 40th birthday, things go horribly wrong as Hector (Peter Sarsgaard) wrestles with his attraction to the teenage babysitter (Makenzie Leigh), and his cousin slaps a child who is not his own. The party ends abruptly with the child's parents threatening legal action, and a chain of events is ignited that will uncover secrets, challenge core values, and leave the party guests and hosts forever changed.




Blush

Screen favourite Wendi McLendon-Covey, star of Bridesmaids and long-suffering smothering mom Beverly in hit 80s nostalgia sitcom The Goldbergs, takes on a far more serious and hard-hitting role as a desperate housewife whose life spirals out of control in Sundance 2019 hit drama BLUSH from [the Independent Spirit] award-winning writer-director Debra Eisenstadt (Daydream Believer).

In an acclaimed, powerhouse performance, McLendon-Covey swaps the comedy pratfalls and overbearing mother role for which she's famous to look at the flip-side of suburban life as the American dream turns into the American nightmare.

Behind the white picket fences, there are affairs, troubled teens, prescription drug use, and on the surface suburban housewife Cathy (McLendon-Covey - Reno 911, What Men Want) - has it all - a lovely home, a teenage daughter, a husband and a worthy job...But behind the facade her seemingly content life is crumbling and, after agreeing to cat-sit for her sister, she meets a free-wheeling mum and so begins an increasingly fraught journey through a mid-life crisis. Before she knows it, Cathy has become embroiled in another family's imperfect lives just as she needs to sort her own.

After her encounter with Gemma Jean (Christine Woods - The Walking Dead), Cathy finds another family more messed up than her own, with an estranged husband to flirt with and a teenage son who is becoming increasingly obsessed with her. Can Cathy resolve her own problems and those of the broken souls around her?

Eisenstadt's powerful drama investigates the seedy underbelly of the American dream in the 21st century to try and discover the happiness that eludes those pursuing it.

The film is produced by Peter Wong and Timur Bekbosunov for ACE Pictures Entertainment, Debra Eisenstadt and Cosmos Kiindarius.




Host Limited Edition Blu-Ray Release

Lockdown horror hit, the hair-raising Host from director Rob Savage (Britannia, Soulmates) invites you to join the most chilling Zoom call ever made, as a demonic presence haunts a group of friends in a quarantine catch-up call gone horribly wrong. Fans of the affectingly contemporary, universally acclaimed Shudder Original film can expect a special feature packed Limited Edition Box Set release from Second Sight Films on 22 February 2021.

Six friends get together during lockdown for their weekly video call. It's Haley's (Haley Bishop - Angel has Fallen, Deep State) turn to organise an activity and instead of a quiz, she's arranged for a medium to conduct a seance.

Bored and feeling mischievous, Jemma (Jemma Moore - Wonder Woman, Doom: Annihilation) decides to have some fun and invents a story about a boy in her school who hanged himself. However, her prank gives license for a demonic presence to cross over, taking on the guise of the boy from the made-up story. The friends start to notice strange occurrences as the evil presence begins to make itself known in their homes... will they get to leave the meeting unscathed or will it be the end for them all?




Two Weeks To Live

Emmy Award nominee Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and BAFTA winner Sian Clifford (Fleabag) take centre stage as mother and daughter in the wildly dark comedy Two Weeks to Live. Airing to critical acclaim on Sky, this riotous series is set to arrive on DVD and digital on 15 February 2021.

Strange young misfit Kim Noakes (Williams) was a young girl when her father died under murky circumstances, and her grieving mother Tina (Clifford) whisked her away to a remote rural life of seclusion and bizarre survival techniques... Growing up off grid has left Kim with little clue of how things work, but now it's time to face the real world. Maybe her survivalist skills will come in handy...or maybe they won't?

Setting out for the first time to begin a secret mission of honouring her father's memory, Kim bumps into the socially awkward Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan - Next of Kin), at his and brother Jay's (Taheen Modak - The Bay), local pub, setting in motion a chaotic series of events that puts all their lives in danger. Who would have thought a few drinks and an ill-judged prank could go so violently wrong?

Tina arrives in search of Kim and the unlikely crew soon find themselves on the run from murderous gangsters and the police with a massive bag of stolen cash...but Kim is no ordinary fish out of water - she's more like a great white shark who knows how to strip a Smith & Wesson pistol in six seconds flat and skin a deer to make a sleeping bag whilst perfectly reciting the lyrics to 'I Will Survive'. With her in their team, they might all just get out of this alive...




Hurt By Paradise digital release

Described as the British Francis Ha, Hurt By Paradise is a heartfelt love letter to female friendship and London, from first time writer/director Greta Bellamacina, who also takes the lead. Premiering at Edinburgh Film Festival and screening at Cannes Film Festival in 2019 to critical acclaim, it now arrives on digital on 8 February 2021 courtesy of Patriot Films.

With its strong indie credentials, this British arthouse film will capture audience's hearts and minds. It shines a light on the trials and tribulations of being a young, single mother living in London, exploring the hardships, but always with a sense of humour.

Actor and poet Greta Bellamacina takes the lead as Celeste - a young poet and single mother, trying to make her way in London. We follow her comedically unsuccessful attempts to get her first book published and to find her estranged father. With her best friend, babysitter Stella (Sadie Brown) - a middle-aged failed actress captivated by an online love affair - by her side, will they succeed in their attempts at living life to the full?

Stand out performances from Internet sensation Tanya Burr in her feature film debut and Brit acting favourite Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood, Made in Dagenham) seal the film's empowering female edge.

Beautifully shot with Greta's poetry woven throughout, it is both a young, accessible indie, as well as a heartwarming ode to the joys of London life. Hurt By Paradise carries a strong emotional arc and an impactful tragi-comic twist that make it a must see movie.




Clementine Digital Release

CLEMENTINE is the critically acclaimed feature film debut from one-to-watch writer/director Lara Jean Gallagher, who has drawn comparisons to Jane Campion (Slant Magazine). Making waves upon its premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival, this taut, atmospheric drama is now set for its premiere in the UK from Bohemia Media.

Equal parts tense psychological drama and sexual coming-of-age story, CLEMENTINE sees a heartbroken woman become entangled with a younger girl after breaking into her ex's remote lake house in the Pacific Northwest.

Struggling to come to terms with her devastating break-up from girlfriend D, Karen (Otmara Marrero - Start-up, Vandal, Miss Arizona), drives to a remote cabin in the woods where they spent much of their relationship and, craving the closeness she once had with the love of her life, she breaks in and decides to stay.

When the fresh-faced, care-free Lana (Sydney Sweeney - Euphoria, Sharp Objects, The Handmaid's Tale), turns up searching for her lost dog, Karen feels like her solitude has been interrupted, but with Lana's persistence the pair begin to form a closeness.




The Nightingale Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set release

Powerful Australian Western horror The Nightingale, the second feature from lauded director Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), premiered at Venice International Film Festival in 2018 and screened at Cannes Film Festival, provoking a strong reaction from critics and audiences alike. The Nightingale now arrives as a Limited-Edition Blu-ray box set from Second Sight Films on 8 February 2021.

1825, the penal colony of Van Diemen's Land, or present-day Tasmania. Irish convict Clare Carroll (Aisling Franciosi - The Fall, Game of Thrones) works as a servant for the British Colonial force detachment led by Colonel Hawkins (Sam Claflin - The Hunger Games, Peaky Blinders), but when unwanted advances result in a brutal, humiliating attack, Clare is dead set on revenge. Teaming up with Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr - The Furnace), the pair must put aside their differences to achieve their bloody vengeance.

Steeped in the horrors of Australian history, this unflinching tale refuses to soften its often-brutal message, but is a testament to determination, bravery and above all, hope.




Running Naked Digital Release

Making its UK Premiere on World Cancer Day, Running Naked is a wonderful new British feature from Emmy winning director Victor Buhler (Rikers High, The Negotiators), that's guaranteed to make you laugh and cry.

A story with cancer at its heart - yet so very much more, the film stars Matthew McNulty (The Terror, Misfits) and Andrew Gower (The Village, Being Human) as two friends who bond during their teenage cancer treatment and become lifelong buddies... but must face a challenge that leads to a life-changing adventure.

Filmed on location in Stoke on Trent, Manchester and Wolverhampton, Running Naked had its World Premiere at the Beijing Film Festival, to a rapturous response, and is now set for its UK premiere on 4th February 2021, with its digital release on 8th February 2021 courtesy of Now Films with a portion of all profits donated to Teenage Cancer Trust and Weston Park Hospital.

When Ben (Gower) and Mark (McNulty) meet in hospital while undergoing leukaemia treatment, they become inseparable. Their wild boyish pranks on the ward may drive the doctors to distraction but it helps take their minds off their precarious state of health.

Skip forward 20 years and their lives have taken different directions... Mark has forged a successful career as a doctor, while Ben is in a dead-end job with debilitating obsessive tendencies. But they have always maintained their friendship and never fail to meet for their regular catch ups. When Mark receives some shocking news, he's forced to re-evaluate his life and the two men embark on an adventure. As their exploits grow more dramatic, a secret Mark has been hiding comes to light and forces Ben to question everything he knows.

Written by Victor Buhler, Jennifer Knowles and Michael Knowles, the story is a heartfelt and moving tale that draws on Jennifer Knowles' personal experience as a cancer survivor, that balances humour, emotion and drama in equal measure. In a world where cancer affects so many lives Running Naked brings a positive and hopeful message to everyone and anyone whose life has been touched by the disease.



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