Damsels in Distress by Whit Stillman to close (Out of Competition) the 68th Venice International Film Festival

Damsels in Distress

Damsels in Distress, the comedy that marks the return of American director Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco) and a new phase in his highly personal journey into the world of American youth, is to be the Closing night film (Out of Competition) at the 68th Venice International Film Festival (31 August – 10 September 2011), directed by Marco Mueller and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Damsels in Distress will have its world premiere screening Saturday September 10, in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema), following the awards Ceremony.

Damsels in Distress, written, produced and directed by Whit Stillman, is produced by Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer, and stars the new young talents of American cinema Greta Gerwig – the muse of the independent American film movement known as “Mumblecore” (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Baghead, Nights and Weekends), who also starred in the recent Greenberg and was chosen by Woody Allen for his new film Bop Decameron – and Adam Brody (In the Land of Women, Jennifer’s Body, Scream 4). Also starring are Carrie MacLemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Analeigh Tipton, Hugo Becker, Ryan Metcalf, and Billy Magnussen.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and produced by Westerly Film Production, Damsels in Distress is a comedy about a trio of beautiful girls as they set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American university – the dynamic leader Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig), principled Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). They welcome transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) into their group which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men—including smooth Charlie (Adam Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker) and the mad frat pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen)—who threaten the girls’ friendship and sanity.

Damsels in Distress is Whit Stillman’s fourth film as writer-director and his third in collaboration with producers Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer.  His first film, Metropolitan (1990), was a hit at Sundance and the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, as well as receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.  His next two films, Barcelona (1994) and The Last Days Of Disco (1998), again won awards and positive receptions.  The latter story he developed into a novel – The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterward – published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  Stillman is a graduate of Harvard where he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson.  After stints in book publishing and journalism he became involved in the Spanish film industry, working on and appearing in Fernando Colomo’s Manhattan-set comedy Skyline.  For a decade after his last film he was based in Europe, living in Paris and Madrid.  He has two daughters, one in college in the States and the other studying law in Dublin.