Alissa Simon Film Critic U.K. sales agent Mr. Smith Entertainment is launching one of the Marché’s most anticipated genre titles: “Grafted,” from Kiwi helmer Sasha Rainbow.
The smart, surprising, female-led body-horror film marks the feature debut of the L.A.-based, Wellington-born Rainbow, who took a quick break from post-production in New Zealand to talk to Variety.
Penned by Mia Maramara, Hweiling Ow and Lee Murray, “Grafted” follows a bright but socially awkward Chinese scholarship student who arrives in Auckland to study biology and hopes to continue the work of her late scientist father.
Rainbow was brought on board by Murray Francis, one of the film’s producers. “This is where I was interested in going in storytelling,” says Rainbow. “It had uncanny similarities to [the] feature I was writing called ‘The Actress,’ which is all about identity theft and an unhealthy obsession with beauty.” After shooting in Auckland in a combination of private homes, university buildings and urban areas, Rainbow is editing the feature. “It was a delight to see the first assembly on the big screen and it’s so exciting to now be in the dark calm of the cutting room bringing the film to life,” she says.