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Image of Cheng Pei Pei and Ben Whishaw at a table in Lilting

Lilting premieres to critical acclaim

Date posted: 17.01.2014

Breaking News 25 January: Lilting wins Cinematography Award
Congratulations to Ula Pontikos whose beautifully haunting work on Lilting caught the eye of Sundance judges and won her this coveted Cinematography Award in the World Dramatic competition. See the full list of winners

If the reaction to Lilting's premiere is anything to go by, Film London Microwave's eighth production is set for great critical acclaim. Reviewers packed the cinema last night to watch the film as it opened the World Cinema Dramatic competition at the internationally renowned Sundance Film Festival, emerging full of positive reviews - with Variety praising the "intimate and sensitive" film, while Hollywood Reporter celebrated Ben Whishaw's "Intensely moving performance".

Starring Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) and Cheng Pei Pei (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), the debut feature from Cambodian-born, London-based writer-director Hong Khaou is a touching exploration of love across a language divide.

The reviews are in

Reaction to the film's premiere has been overwhelmingly positive, with major publications issuing glowing reviews:

"Intriguing relationship dynamics and an intensely moving performance from Ben Whishaw as a bereaved gay man drive Lilting, an intimate drama about two strangers unable to communicate but drawn together by the common language of grief." – The Hollywood Reporter

"Barriers of age and culture, sexuality and shame are overcome with delicacy and grace in Lilting [...] Hong Khaou displays a sure touch with actors and a sharp ear for the stop-and-go rhythms of two people trying to prevail past not only a language gap, but also the intense privacy of their own grief. " – Variety

"A deft and delicate drama, writer/director Hong Khaou's debut film is the gently moving story of how a mis-matched pair try and overcome the loss of someone they both love deeply as they try and bridge a cultural and language barrier." – Screen

Lilting's Journey from script to screen

A talent that has been recognised and nurtured by Film London since his first short film in 2005, Hong Khaou applied to the fifth round of Microwave in 2011.

After being greenlit for the scheme in May 2012, the Lilting film-making team underwent training and were assigned high-profile mentors to help guide them: Michael Winterbottom acted as Hong Khaou's mentor whilst producer Dominic Buchanan received guidance from Ken Marshall.

"My involvement in Lilting was an easy choice once I had met Dominic and Hong," said Marshall. "Not only are they both good, talented people but they possessed a beautiful script that moved me to tears."

The film completed principal photography in December 2012 and in May 2013 Film London announced that Curzon Film World's Artificial Eye would distribute Lilting in the UK, with Protagonist Pictures to manage international sales.

Following its screening at Sundance Film Festival, Lilting will benefit from the BFI's pilot US Distribution Fund, which offers funding to attract theatrical distribution and reach wider audiences in the US.

The winner of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition is due to be announced on Sunday 26 January.

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