Sands International Film Festival, Scotland’s growing film event, opens its second edition this weekend with world premiere screenings citadelThe iconic Prime Video series from Marvel auteurs Anthony and Joe Russo.
Two episodes of different lengths, but both well under the hour mark, played as a surprise screening for the packed opening night crowd. The audience reaction, which included a mix of industry professionals and students from the festival’s co-organiser, the University of St Andrews, was delighted with huge laughs and gasps for the surprisingly funny yet tricky spy thriller.
The ambitious series is headed by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden, who play members of a secretive global spy agency called Citadel. After a deadly attack, the agency is disbanded, and the memories of its elite agents are erased. With the Citadel out of the way, a powerful new syndicate, the Manticore, is rising into the void. And now it’s up to former Citadel overlord Bernard Orlick, played by Stanley Tucci, to reform the agency and stop the Manticore from establishing a new world order.
Anthony and Joe Russo’s AGBO production organization created the series for Amazon, and the brothers serve as executive producers alongside Mike Larocca, Angela Russo-Otstott and Scott Nemes, with David Weil as showrunner and executive producer. Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Newton Thomas Siegel and Patrick Moran also serve as executive producers. In addition to the Mothership series headlined by Chopra Jonas and Madden, citadel There are also vernacular branches in India and Italy.
The opening night screening was initiated by Joe Russo, one of Sands’ leading supporters with Screen Scotland. Russo spoke to him shortly after the premiere deadline about making citadelThe head of Amazon is working with Jennifer Salke, and she plans to make the Sands an annual pre-Cannes stop on the festival calendar.
deadline: How did you do it citadel go screening? And why bring this series here on The Sands?
Joe Russo: We are here to support the festival. Sands is a festival about emerging filmmakers in an incredible academic setting in a corner of the world that I have a deep affinity for and a family history with.
deadline: That family history, your daughter graduated from St Andrews?
Rousseau: He has done. He graduated a few years back. But later, one of my nephews and two nieces moved here. And a very close friend is now sending her kids here. That’s why we have a deep connection with the university.
deadline: And what is the place of cinema here in St Andrews? What is the goal for Sands?
Rousseau: The ultimate goal for me would be to expand the festival and include other forms of media. Me and my brother are technologists and futurists. We’re interested in what’s next. I think there are a lot of creators emerging in the social media space who are influential. They are self-starters, and Gen Z has a very different philosophy about what media is and where to find information. To them, a story can be a 30-second TikTok, and I’m not here to judge that. I’m here to celebrate the interesting work that I come across. I want to start bringing up emerging voices from all forms of media. Not just in the movies.
deadline: how much commitment to citadel Made by Amazon?
Rousseau: The most important aspect of this project is that Jennifer Salke came to us with a very brave and noble idea, which was, hey, why don’t we tell a story that’s rich enough that we can spin it off into a series and into other markets? . Where we can find the best artists and storytellers from those regions to tell their version of the story in their own language. It was an unbelievable idea. And as people who spent a long time with Marvel communicating with audiences globally, that thought spoke to us.
We love collaborating with people. We love to hear from different voices. We get tired of hearing the same voice over and over again. So if we can use our platform and Amazon’s resources, and are willing to use Amazon’s platform to help Zen artists and other sectors around the world tell their stories at a larger scale, then we are here for this.
deadline: first two episodes of citadel Newton was directed by Thomas Siegel. Do you and Anthony ever go behind the camera?
Rousseau: We certainly could. It’s a function of scheduling for us. But we’re very invested. i was on set with tom [Sigel] He did for most of the shoot. Tom’s awesome. He’s been in the business a long time and has one of the most incredible resumes out there. we worked with him extraction, which was a tough shoot. He even acted as the de facto producer extraction because of his experience. then they worked with us Cherry, He has the ability to tell big stories and highly experimental stories. We wanted to give him the opportunity to direct because we could see that in him and he crushed it.
deadline: How did you land on Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden?
Rousseau: we met madden because we loved him bodyguard, We sat down with him and joked about his ability to play James Bond. A few months later, the concept of citadel was born. We called Madden and said forget what we said about Bond, we think we have something for you here. with Priyanka citadel Built for international appeal, and very few stars have his pedigree and ability to cross markets. Jenn Salke actually recommended her, and we thought it was a great idea.
deadline: Was there a specific moment during your time working on Marvel projects that influenced your desire to tell cross-cultural stories?
Rousseau: When you work in this business and most of your time is spent in Hollywood, you can be exposed to different perspectives. You may lack understanding of how the rest of the world thinks. Without question, the global market is the most important market going forward. It’s dramatically important, and for streamers, this is where they’ll expand from.
So working with Marvel and that huge hype machine, we were fortunate enough to travel the world for months promoting those films where you would meet fans and other filmmakers. We were exposed to new cultures and film industries, where we found relationships that opened up our perspective on global storytelling. As a guy with kids myself, I’m concerned with the trajectory of the world, and without global connections, we’re in a lot of trouble. So taking from that experience, we’ve turned our gaze outward toward other markets and tried to help platform them in the way that Steven Soderbergh did for us all those years ago.
deadline: With that philosophy, how would you like to be the best version of Hollywood?
Rousseau: Definitely a more diverse version and one that is more international. For example, Bollywood is one of the more important film businesses in the world, but has little exposure outside India. thank god for movies like RRR, using a level of technical brilliance, visual effects and legendary storytelling to appeal to a much wider audience. We learn about other cultures from movies like that. So, I think, our goal will be empowerment. We want to support other markets as much as possible so that their stories can reach as widely as possible.
deadline: This is Sands’ second year. How has the experience of running the festival been? what have you learned?
Rousseau: i love it The goal should be to expand a little each year and grow organically over time. Every time I come to St Andrews, I can’t get over how incredible the setting is for the film festival. It’s a city built to support a festival, and it has a lot more infrastructure than what we’re using now.
deadline: Do you want the festival to develop into a market?
Rousseau: A market is always helpful in supporting a festival. It has been helpful for Cannes and other festivals around the world. So I think we can support a market, but it’s about how we can create a market that’s forward-thinking. It doesn’t have to be a huge market, but a compelling market that attracts the right content.
deadline: Will you sand this date in April?
Rousseau: Yeah, I don’t think we’re going to move it.
deadline: It was first last year, wasn’t it?
Rousseau: Yes. We purposely moved it this year to get closer to Cannes. And we might even move it to one weekend next year.
deadline: Why so? It is difficult for films to compete with Cannes.
Rousseau: It’s tough to compete with Cannes, but there’s always room for some counter-programming, too. If you look down to Sundance, there was Slamdance. And if you look at the filmmakers that came out of Slamdance: us, Chris Nolan, Rian Johnson, Pound for Pound, you have some filmmakers that had significant influence to come out of that festival. So there is always a way to counter-program.
deadline: Looking at all the festivals on the calendar right now, is there one template you’d like to emulate?
Rousseau: I think South By Southwest is the most forward thinking festival in the world. I love how it embraces all the different aspects of media and brings them together for conversation. I’d love to follow a similar trajectory as that’s what a modern festival looks like. We have to start somewhere. But as we slowly expand, I want to include music, video game and social media content creators so that a hub for people to gather and talk about what’s happening in the arts Can be made