2 Aug2023


Beta Cinema has boarded international sales on German-Slovenian-French co-production Not A Word, written and directed by Hanna Slak (Slovenian Oscar Entry The Miner), starring I’m Your Man’s Maren Eggert in the lead. The film was mainly shot at the French Atlantic coast and was lensed by Claire Mathon, acclaimed DoP of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Saint-Omer, Stranger by the Lake and Spencer.

In Not A Word, Eggert plays the ambitious artist Nina. When her teenage son Lars has a strange accident at school, she decides to take a break from city life and together they head to their vacation home on an island on the rugged Atlantic coast. Bound in silence, their already brittle relationship is pushed to the edge.

Not A Word is the fourth feature film for writer and director Hanna Slak, whose previous works Blind Spot (2001), Teah (2007) and The Miner (2017) screened at festivals such as Berlinale, Rotterdam, Locarno, Warsaw, and others. The Miner was the Slovenian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2018, took more than 25 international awards, including three Slovenian Film Awards and the Best Film Award at the Film Festival in Trieste.

Jona Levin Nicolai (The Net, Netflix’s The Grimm Reality) co-stars as the provocative teenage son while Maryam Zaree (4 Blocks, Skin Deep, Undine), Juliane Siebecke, Marko Mandić (Gold, Naked Among Wolves) and Mehdi Nebbou (Deutschland 86, Munich) round out the cast. Christian Petzold regulars Bettina Böhler (editing) and K.D. Gruber (production design) joined the crew. French composer Amélie Legrand composed the impressive soundtrack, based on Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.

The film is produced by Michel Balagué (The Miner, In the Last Days of the City, Sieniawaka) of VOLTE in co-production with Ici et Là, Tramal Films, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Arte and TV Slovenia. The production was supported by Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFF Bayern, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Eurimages, Fonds d'Aide à la Création Cinématographique et Audiovisuelle (FACCA), the Slovenian Film Centre and EACEA MEDIA.

Writer and director Hanna Slak says: “Not A Word tells the story of a relationship crisis between a parent and a teenager. Is it possible to live a meaningful artistic career and be a good enough parent? The question is common, the answers vary depending on societal trends. What I would like to propose is a different variation of the question altogether: Is it really possible to be a good enough artist without living meaningful relationships? I am looking forward to presenting Not A Word in Toronto and expanding on the topic with an international audience.”

Producer Michel Balagué says: “I can't wait to share Not A Word with the public and the industry in Toronto. Hanna Slak knows how to shape image, sound and music into an emotional experience and her powerful visual language and aesthetic sensibility can be fully perceived in this multi-layered story of a mother and her son.”

“Hanna Slak is an exceptionally smart and insightful filmmaker with a keen sense of a timely subject and rightfully a distinctly female perspective on it – you can tell this film is a matter of the heart”, says Thorsten Ritter, EVP Acquisitions, Sales & Marketing at Beta Cinema. “With its universal theme of compatibility of family and work, outstanding photography by Claire Mathon, one of Europe’s leading DoPs, and stellar performances by Maren Eggert and Jona Levin Nicolai, we anticipate strong interest from international buyers.”  

Not A Word is making its world premiere in Toronto in the competitive Platform section. Beta Cinema holds worldwide rights outside France and Slovenia.