BFI Picks Up The Rights Of Aleem Khan’s After Love

BFI Distribution have secured the UK film rights to the debut feature from the award-winning British filmmaker Aleem Khan, After Love.

This poignant drama stars British film, TV and stage actor Joanna Scanlan (The Voyage of Dr Dolittle, How to Build a Girl, Pin Cushion) alongside French actor Nathalie Richard (Never Let Me Go, Hidden, Jeune et Jolie) and newcomer Talid Ariss in his first major role.

After Love was selected for this year’s Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week and was in the Official Selection at the 2020 Telluride Film Festival. With Telluride cancelled, the film will have its World Premiere screening at the BFI London Film Festival next month.

In this one, Mary Hussain (Joanna Scanlan), who converted to Islam when she married and is now in her early 60s, lives quietly and happily. Following the unexpected death of her husband Ahmed, she suddenly finds herself a widow. A day after the burial, she discovers that Ahmed had a secret life just twenty-one miles away from their Dover home, across the Channel in Calais. The discovery compels her to go there to find out more, and as she grapples with her shattered sense of identity, her search for understanding has surprising consequences.

Born and raised in Kent, Aleem Khan is a writer and director of mixed English-Pakistani heritage. His debut short film, Diana, premiered at the 2009 BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. His subsequent short, Three Brothers, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2014,  A BAFTA nomination for Best British Short Film followed in 2015 and later that year Aleem was named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow. A 2017 Fellow of both the Sundance Screenwriter’s and Director’s Labs, Aleem is also an alumnus of Guiding Lights, The Locarno Filmmakers Academy and BFI Flare.

Julie Pearce, BFI Head of Distribution says: “I’m so happy that the BFI is releasing this fresh and affecting debut feature. Joanna Scanlan’s performance is extraordinary and compelling and we are delighted to continue the BFI’s long relationship with the super-talented young director, Aleem Khan.”

Matthieu de Braconier, the producer of the film, at The Bureau says: “I’m delighted that AFTER LOVE has found its UK home with BFI Distribution. It was a pleasure, having been very impressed by recent releases, to cement their enthusiasm and commitment for the film. I’m proudly looking forward to them bringing the fruit of Aleem’s unique voice, the crew’s incredibly hard work and the cast’s wonderful performances to British audiences.”

After Love is playing at next month’s 64th BFI London Film Festival, making it’s World Premiere on 15th October and 16th October. More info here. The film will be released in cinemas in the UK and Ireland in spring 2021.