‘Minamata,’ With Johnny Depp, Hillary Clinton Docu Series ‘Hillary’ Selected for Berlin
“Minamata,” starring Johnny Depp, Nanette Burstein’s documentary series about Hillary Clinton, “Hillary,” and Agnieszka Holland’s “Charlatan” have been selected to play in the Berlinale Special section of the Berlin Film Festival, the event said Tuesday.
Also selected in the section are two documentary features, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “Last and First Men,” narrated by Tilda Swinton, and Jia Zhang-ke’s “Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue.”
These five titles join Matteo Garrone “Pinocchio” in Berlinale Special, whose selection was announced last month.
Depp plays celebrated photographer W. Eugene Smith in Andrew Levitas’ “Minamata,” which follows Smith as he takes on a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning the people of Minamata, Japan, in 1971.
The film is based on Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith’s book “Minamata,” which has been adapted by David K. Kessler (“A Hard Day’s Day”).
HanWay Films is handling international sales on “Minamata,” which was developed by Depp’s Infinitum Nihil banner. The star is a producer on the pic alongside Infinitum Nihil’s Sam Sarkar. Levitas under his Metalwork Pictures banner, and Gabrielle Tana (“The White Crow”) are the other producers.
Spanning five decades of Clinton’s career, Burstein’s series interweaves biographical chapters of her life with previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage from her 2016 presidential campaign. Granted unprecedented access, Burstein was able to pose tough questions to Clinton, her closest allies and political adversaries. The film is produced by Isabel San Vargas, Timothy Moran, Chi-Young Park and Tal Ben-David for Hulu.
Burstein is best known for “On the Ropes,” which received an Academy Award nomination for best documentary, “American Teen,” winner of the directing award at Sundance, and Robert Evans’s biography, “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” which was co-directed by Brett Morgen.
“Charlatan” focuses on a herbalist who devotes his life to caring for the sick, in spite of the huge obstacles he faces in his private and public life. The film is inspired by the real-life figure of Jan Mikolášek, whose story was adapted for the screen by Marek Epstein. The pic is produced by Sarka Cimbalova of Marlene Film Production, alongside Kevan Van Thompson. Films Boutique handles international sales.
Holland, the director of Oscar nominated films “Europa Europa” and “In Darkness,” received a Silver Bear for “Spoor” at the Berlin Film Festival in 2017, and premiered her last film, “Mr. Jones,” in competition at Berlin last year.