Maggie Betts: Variety/YouTube
” writer-director Maggie Betts has booked her follow-up to the coming-of-age nun drama. Deadline reports that she’s sold an untitled original pitch to Focus Features
. Little is known about the project except that it’s a contemporary political drama and Betts will direct. She’ll also pen the script along with Andy Bellin
’ Celine Rattray
and Trudie Styler
are set to produce, while Josh McLaughlin
will oversee the movie for Focus.
,” Betts’ first narrative feature, premiered at Sundance back in January. She won the Breakthrough Director award at the fest. Sony Pictures Classics
snagged the rights to the film and is planning a release this fall. The 1960s-set drama follows Cathleen (Margaret Qualley
, “The Leftovers
”), a young woman who is raised by a non-religious single mother in rural Tennessee. A scholarship to a Catholic School leads Cathleen down a religious path where she pursues a life devoted to God, but on her journey to becoming a nun, she begins to question her faith. The nearly-all-female cast includes Melissa Leo
”), Dianna Agron
”), Julianne Nicholson
(“Masters of Sex
”), and Morgan Saylor
“Focus has made a concerted effort to bolster its roster of female directors,” Deadline observes. “Counting the new deal with Betts, it has put six such films in the mix: the Niki Caro
-directed ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife,’ the Julia Decournau-directed ‘Raw,’ the Sofia Coppola
-directed ‘The Beguiled
,’ the Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
’ and most recently the Massy Tadjedin
-directed ‘Circle Of Treason
.’” In 2016 Focus released women-directed titles such as Lorene Scafaria
’s “The Meddler
,” Rebecca Miller
’s “Maggie’s Plan,” Meera Menon
,” and Maren Ade
’s “Toni Erdmann
Betts previously helmed the documentary “The Carrier,” a portrait of an HIV-positive and pregnant mother, and “Engram,” a short about an elderly man and woman who reconnect after many years.
Check out a video of Betts and the stars of “Novitiate
” discussing what drew them to the project. They explain how rare — and appealing — it was to work on a female-led story.
Maggie Betts to Co-Write and Direct Political Drama for Focus Features
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