Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s critically acclaimed MAYA DARDEL to Receive its European Premiere at EIFF | The Fan Carpet

Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s critically acclaimed MAYA DARDEL to Receive its European Premiere at EIFF

23 June 2017

“Lena Olin is riveting” - Indiewire


Following its World Premiere at this year’s SXSW, Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s critically acclaimed feature MAYA DARDEL will receive its European Premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 23 June. Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have announced that they have acquired North American rights to the film and will release in the US later this year.

Starring Lena Olin (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Enemies: A Love Story) in a spellbinding performance as Maya Dardel, the film’s cast also includes Alexander Koch (The Ghosts, Under the Dome), Nathan Keyes (The Kings of Summer, Ben 10: Alien Swarm), Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black, Sea of Trees), Chris Voss (Five Grand) and Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction, Desperately Seeking Susan).

The film follows the final weeks leading to the ambiguous disappearance of Maya Dardel, an internationally respected poet and novelist, who lived until 2016 in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Maya announces on National Public Radio that she intends to end her life and that young male writers may compete to become executor of her estate. Men drive up the mountain and are challenged intellectually, emotionally, erotically, until one of them begins to fathom Maya's end game.



Lena Olin gives a stand-out performance in the title role of Maya Dardel. Born in Stockholm to actor parents Britta Holmberg and Stig Olin, Lena Olin spent her early career acting on the national stage in Stockholm including in several productions directed by Ingmar Bergman. Her international debut in a lead film role was in Bergman’s After the Rehearsal in 1984. She went on to star with Daniel Day-Lewis in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, followed by Sydney Pollack’s Havana and Roman Polanski’s The Ninth Gate. In 1989 Olin received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Enemies: A Love Story, before collaborating with director Lasse Hallstrom on the film Chocolat which received five Academy Award nominations. Olin’s first American TV role playing the mother of Jennifer Garner’s character in the successful series Alias earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress.

Writer-director Magdalena Zyzak was born in 1983 in Zabrze, Poland. In 2002, she moved to the US to study film production and literature at the University of Southern California. Magdalena's first feature film, Redland, a wilderness drama produced and co-written with director Asiel Norton, won awards at international festivals and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. After making Redland, Magdalena attended Columbia University’s graduate program in creative writing and received an MFA. In 2013, she completed her first novel, ‘The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel’, published to widespread critical acclaim. An absurdist picaresque set in a fictitious Slavic nation at the outbreak of World War II, it was called by The New York Times “unexpectedly moving” and by The Los Angeles Times “wickedly good.” Also in 2013, she produced a second feature film directed by Asiel Norton, Orion, a post-apocalyptic fable, shot in the ruins of Detroit, starring David Arquette, Lily Cole and Goran Kostic. Magdalena then shifted from producing to directing and teamed up with Zachary Cotler to begin work on Maya Dardel and When I'm a Moth. Magdalena has been honored by the national foundation Teraz Polska as an outstanding cultural figure of the Polish community abroad.

Writer-director Zachary Cotler was born in New Jersey in 1981 and grew up in Mill Valley, California. He received a BA in English from Cornell University in 2003 and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2008. He is the author of a novel, ‘Ghost at the Loom’ (2014), a critical monograph, ‘Elegies for Humanism’ (2015), and three books of poetry, ‘Supplice’ (2014), ‘Sonnets to the Humans’ (2013), and ‘House with a Dark Sky Roof’ (2011). His poetry awards include the Colorado Prize, the Sawtooth Prize, the Amy Clampitt Residency, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the largest national prize for poets 30 and under in the United States. He's a founding editor of ‘The Winter Anthology’. Since 2014, he has focused on filmmaking. Maya Dardel is his directing debut. His second feature film with Magdalena Zyzak, When I'm a Moth, is currently in post-production. An “un-biopic” of the young Hilary Clinton set in 1969, during the unverifiable weeks her autobiography has her working at an Alaskan salmon cannery, When I’m a Moth is a parable about America, political narratives, and the absence of free will.

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