Goran Stolevski’s Macedonian film Housekeeping for Beginners, his third feature, is bound for the Venice Film Festival, where it will screen in the Orizzonti (Horizons) competition.
Anamaria Marinca leads the cast as a gay woman who owns a house that serves as a space for a group of queer people who otherwise have nowhere to go. After her partner falls terminally ill, she realises she may also be responsible for her partner’s two young daughters.
Causeway Films’ Kristina Ceyton and Sam Jennings, who produced Stolevski’s first two films, YouWon’t Be Alone and Of An Age, are co-producers.
The Venice bow for continues an impressive run for Stolevski. The Macedonian-Australian filmmaker’s debut feature You Won’t Be Alone premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022 to acclaim and was acquired by Focus Features for the US. It vaulted Stolevski onto Hollywood’s radar, with Variety naming him one of its 10 Directors to Watch. Locally, the project would go on to be Australia’s submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature.
Proving to be prolific, Stolevski went on to make Of An Age and Housekeeping for Beginners in quick succession, joking to IF earlier this year that the experience had made him a “spoiled princess”. However, it hasn’t come easy: he made 25 shorts across 17 years before You Won’t Be Alone and had written more than a dozen feature scripts, but found it difficult to get a foothold in the Australian industry in order to move into long-form.
Among the 23 films to screen in competition at this year’s Venice are Ryusuke Hamguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, Michael Mann’s Ferrari, Pablo Larraín’s El Conde, David Fincher’s The Killer, Agnieszka Holland’s The Green Border, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Ava DuVerney’s Origin and Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla.
As with Toronto, the impact of the actors and writers strikes in the US hang over Venice. There is a healthy selection of US titles on the line-up, but under the strike rules, members of SAG-AFTRA are barred from promoting struck projects by attending premieres or film festivals, conducting interviews, or via social media. Whether talent will attend for independent projects, unaligned with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) remains to be seen.
After Toronto had described Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel as a “Canadian premiere”, it had been guessed by IF and other outlets such as Deadline that the film, starring Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick, Hugo Weaving and Toby Wallace may premiere in Venice, but it is not so. Instead, it seems it will most likely have a Telluride berth.
The Venice press conference also saw an unexpected shoutout for Australian film when festival director Alberto Barbera mistakenly described actor Caleb Landry Jones (who will be seen in Luc Besson’s Dogman) as Australian – no doubt a nod to the Texan’s highly convincing accent in Justin Kurzel’s 2021 film Nitram.
Venice Film Festival runs August 30 — September 9.