Elizabeth Banks. (Image: Gage Skidmore)

Elizabeth Banks will lead a new medical drama from New Zealand writer and director Christine Jeffs, produced by the Auckland-based GFC Films.

Based on the novel by Carl Shuker, A Mistake follows an eminent female surgeon (Banks) who has navigated years of casual sexism at the hospital where she works, only to suddenly find herself fighting for her career and reputation after the death of a patient.

Jeffs will also produce with GFC managing director Matthew Metcalfe, while Cornerstone’s Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder are executive producing.

Finance has been provided by the New Zealand Film Commission and Te Puna Kairangi, the New Zealand Government’s Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund.

Cornerstone will handle international sales and distribution, and will commence sales at Cannes. The company is co-repping the US together with UTA Independent Film Group.

Production heads will include cinematographer John Toon, who previously worked with Jeffs on Rain, Sylvia, and Sunshine Cleaning, and production designer Gary Mackay.

Speaking about the project, Metcalfe said he was a longtime admirer of Jeffs’ work.

“I have wanted to work with Christine, one of the most talented filmmakers to ever emerge from New Zealand, for some ten years now and when she first discussed her vision for A Mistake with me, I knew immediately that I wanted to support her to bring it to the screen,” he said.

It is one of three projects Cornerstone and GFC Films are collaborating on, alongside Whina, a biopic of trailblazing Maori leader, Dame Whina Cooper, starring Rena Owen; and Scott Walker’s creature feature The Tank.

In a statement, Thompson and Gooder said A Mistake‘s mix of gender politics, profit versus care, and the manipulation of truth made it “a story of our time”.

“Christine’s screenplay is one of the most compelling we’ve read in a long time and who better to bring it to the screen than Christine herself,” they said.

Principal photography on A Mistake will commence on August 15 in New Zealand.

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