Land represents the directorial debut of actress Robin Wright and could be poised to shake up the awards scene. Ahead of world premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in a week or so and coming out next month just time for Oscar consideration is this new film that pits one woman against the elements as she runs away from upheaval in her own life when tragedy strikes.

As part of Focus Features’ presentation at Deadline’s Contenders Film awards-season event, Wright, who also plays the lead role, and her co-star, Oscar nominated actor Demián Bichir, joined in a discussion about this ambitious and stunning independent movie that like others in this worldwide pandemic suddenly mirror issues and feelings we are all dealing with in one way or another.

Wright, who says she had to cast herself out of necessity (or run into a financial wall) in the role of a woman who is reeling from a family tragedy and seeks to escape in a run-down log cabin situated alone in the wilderness atop a mountain, takes the reins behind the camera after previously directing several episodes of her Netflix series House of Cards. As to why she chose this script, a finalist in the AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriting competition, it simply spoke to her because of the times.

“It resonated with me,” she says, especially after reading it at a moment when so many random mass shootings were taking place in America. “How much loss people were experiencing, and grief and pain and how they were dealing with it.” She adds that the outbreak of so many shootings was making us immune, compounded by the ugliness and hate prevalent in the past four years of the Trump administration, and the past 11 months of the pandemic.

“At its heart it is about friendship and human kindness,” she says. “The last four years have provided so much ugliness. The world needed to see the beauty in the humans that we are.”

Bichir says he was attracted to the film because with his character, “everything comes from his soul.” That could be said about this film as well, all shot in Alberta, Canada, pitting the filmmakers against nature in ways that ultimately give us hope for humanity.

Check back for the panel video.

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