Enys Men to be released in the UK by the BFI
05 October 2022
Enys Men, the latest feature film to be written and directed by Falmouth University’s Distinguished Professor Mark Jenkin, will be released in UK and Ireland cinemas by BFI Distribution in January 2023.
Following on from its successful premiere at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes 2022, Enys Men - the second feature from Jenkin, following 2019’s BAFTA-winning breakout hit Bait - will have its UK premiere at the 66th BFI London Film Festival on 11 October at BFI Southbank, screening in Official Competition.
Enys Men is a mind-bending Cornish folk horror set in 1973 that unfolds on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast. A wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower take a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical, forcing both her and the audience to question what is real and what is nightmare. Shot by Jenkin on grainy 16mm colour film stock and with his trademark post-synched sound, the form feels both innovative and authentic to the period.
The film was produced by Falmouth University Lecturer Denzil Monk for his company Bosena Production, and is presented by Film4 in association with Falmouth University’s Sound/Image Cinema Lab; a multifaceted partner, funder, resource and research centre dedicated to the production and education of independent cinema.
The production crew featured collaborators who live and work in Cornwall, and comprised a number of students, graduates and staff from Falmouth University. Shot in West Cornwall in the spring of 2021 and remaining local for post-production, the film was mixed by School of Film & Television lecturer Rich Butler in the University's own dubbing theatre.
Ella Turner, who worked as a production coordinator on the shoot and herself a graduate from Falmouth, explains: “The students showed their hard work and keenness to learn right from day one, using their initiative throughout the shoot, fitting in with all departments and always ready to help out. I loved working with the team, it's so relieving when you can rely on someone to get on with things.”
Kingsley Marshall, Head of Film & Television at Falmouth and an Executive Producer of the film (as well as enjoying a cameo in a mineshaft cut into a mountain), describes the impact for students: “The Sound/Image Cinema Lab embeds real experiences for students into their time at the University. It helps that many of our partners work with students, and Mark and Denzil are no exception – totally integrating the students into their crew and helping them build their confidence in the practical application of filmmaking.
"We’ve been involving students in feature film production for over a decade now but seeing students working in all weathers on remote locations is a privilege to be able to offer, and extremely rewarding for those involved. Many of these students were second year undergraduates at the time, and we can see the impact on their learning and the ambition of their own practice when they move into the third year, and after graduation – where those involved have moved immediately into roles within the film and television industries.”
About the cast and production team
Mary Woodvine (Poldark, Judge John Deed), who played Sandra in Bait, is 'The Volunteer'. She reunites with Bait co-star Edward Rowe (The Witcher, House of the Dragon) who is 'The Boatman'. Based in West Cornwall, and previously working in theatre, film and television for over 30 years, Mary Woodvine is in almost every scene of the film and gives an astonishing, naturalistic performance, working with minimal dialogue and with the camera following her in extreme close-up.
Filmmaker Mark Jenkin is based in a studio in Newlyn, West Cornwall where he writes, edits and scores his films himself. After making a number of short and mid-length films including Bronco’s House (2015), his debut feature Bait premiered at the Berlinale 2019 and was also released in the UK by BFI Distribution. Through critical acclaim and word-of-mouth it became a huge arthouse hit, eventually screening at hundreds of cinemas and taking over £500,000 at the UK box office. Jenkin and his producers, Linn Waite and Kate Byers, won the BAFTA for outstanding debut by a writer, producer or director. Jenkin received further awards from film festivals around the world and he was honoured with a Grand Bard’s Award for Special Achievement in Cornwall.
Jenkin composed the original score for Enys Men, which – like the soundtrack for Bait - will be released by Invada Records. The soundtrack also features 'Kan Me' written and performed by Gwenno especially for the film. Sung in Cornish, this haunting track ("May Song" in English) appears on Gwenno’s album Tresor (Heavenly) which was released in July and has been nominated for the 2022 Mercury Prize.
In the run up to Enys Men’s release, Jenkin will undertake a Q&A tour around the UK with a number of dates in Cornwall. Mary Woodvine will be present at some of the dates. Full details of the tour will be announced.
To contextualise the film and the inspirations behind it, giving audiences the opportunity to enjoy some rich and rarely seen content, BFI Southbank and BFI Player have invited Mark Jenkin to programme a season, The Cinematic DNA of Enys Men. Including features, documentaries, TV programmes and shorts, the season will run throughout January 2023. Full details will be announced.
In April 2023 Enys Men will be released on BFI Blu-ray/DVD (Dual Format Edition) with contextual extras and on BFI Player where it will join Bait and a selection of Jenkin’s early work.