September 20, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND to release November 3rd!

From Deadline:

Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have set a November 3 release date in select cities for the SXSW Grand Jury Award-winning film Most Beautiful Island from filmmaker Ana Asensio. The psychological thriller was picked up this summer by Orion and Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Read full article here…

June 20, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND to be released by Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films

Orion Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films have acquired North American rights to Most Beautiful Island, a psychological thriller from Glass Eye Pix directed, written, produced by and starring Ana Asensio. It won a Grand Jury Award in the narrative competition at SXSW this year.

Shot on Super 16mm, the pic chronicles one harrowing day in the life of Luciana, a young immigrant woman struggling to make ends meet in New York while striving to escape her past. As Luciana’s day unfolds, she is whisked through a series of troublesome and unforeseeable extremes. Before her day is done, she inadvertently finds herself a central participant in a cruel game where lives are placed at risk, and psyches are twisted and broken for the perverse entertainment of a privileged few.

Natasha Romanova, David Little, Nicholas Tucci, Larry Fessenden and Caprice Benedetti co-star. Jenn Wexler, Chadd Harbold, Fessenden and Noah Greenberg produced, and Peter Phok, Jose María Garcia, Ahmet Bilgen, Selim Cevikel, Christohper Todd and Gill Holland are executive producers.

The deal was negotiated by Peter Goldwyn on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn and Andrew Herwitz and Lucas Verga of Film Sales Corp. on behalf of the filmmakers. It comes ahead of the film’s bow Wednesday at BAM Cinemafest.

Check out the article…

June 15, 2017
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IndieWire: MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND one of 20 movies that define this year in cinema

From Indiewire:

Ana Asensio’s SXSW winner burst onto the scene when it bowed at the festival back in March, and as it hits BAM and readies for a theatrical rollout, the timely feature will likely only garner more well-deserved attention. Our review explained, “Asensio, a thirtysomething Spanish actress whose work is virtually unseen on these shores, not only wrote, directed, and produced this fraught metropolitan thriller, she also appears in just about every frame. And while the film might begin by suggesting that its heroine was chosen at random (a mesmeric prologue follows seven different women as they weave through the sidewalks of Manhattan, the camera picking them out of a crowd as if to wordlessly reassert that most of the Naked City’s seven million stories remain untold), Asensio’s compulsively watchable lead performance splits the difference between the specific and the representational.”

See it at the NY premiere at the BAM Cinema Fest this Wednesday 6/21. Tix on sale!

June 5, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND at BAM: buy your tickets now!

May 3, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND to unspool at BAM CINEMAFEST June 14—25 2017

March 20, 2017
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Variety reviews MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND

From Variety: “Ana Asensio’s directorial debut reveals a surprising, strong-willed side to her undocumented New York immigrant character.”

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March 20, 2017
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SXSW Photo Round-Up!

SXSW comes to a close! We’ve gathered pics from throughout the festival, including the MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND and LIKE ME premieres and the GEP / Dogfish Pictures / Palomo Films party.

Check out the gallery here.

March 15, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND wins Grand Jury Prize at SXSW

From Yahoo:

At a packed Paramount Theater this evening, the SXSW Film Festival, now at the halfway mark, handed out their big film awards. The fest’s two big competition jury prizes went to director Ana Asensio’s “Most Beautiful Island” …

Shot in super 16mm, it tells the story of undocumented female immigrants struggling to start a life in New York. It is a feature film debut for Asensio, who also stars and wrote the screenplay. “Island” is being billed as a dramatic thriller and was produced by the New York horror master Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix.

March 14, 2017
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Austin Chronicle: MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND “an intriguing and slow-burn reinvention of survival horror.”

SXSW Film ReviewMost Beautiful Island

Poverty and immigration power this taut thriller

There’s a key image that unlocks the central metaphor of Most Beautiful Island: cockroaches, fallen into a tub of water, scrabbling to survive. But are they treading water, treading each other down, or creating a raft for mutual survival?

In her directorial debut, seasoned Spanish TV actress Ana Asensio heads to a grimy New York of undocumented workers and lousy cash-in-hand jobs. In the lead role of Luciana, she’s on the run from her old life, washed up in the Big Apple, and living gig to gig. There’s a measured bitterness and a self-destructive streak that seems destined to take her down risky paths.

Asensio’s opening act is one of measured subtlety. Rather than have her characters engage in long, declaratory exposition about life without documentation, she paints their stresses in smaller brushstrokes, like having them pass over a Craigslist job ad because it requires a social security number. There’s almost a dash of mid-Nineties Ken Loach, or more recent Joe Swanberg (also a fan of Super 16, on which this was shot) in the lo-fi depiction of daily grind, of owing the bodega for ice cream or taking crappy jobs to make ends meet.

But this is not Swanberg’s Chicago: this is Larry Fessenden’s New York. As one of two titles under the genre-bending auteur’s Glass Eye Pix shingle (along with Like Me) at SXSW this year, there’s more seething under the skin than dealing with ungrateful kids on a babysitting gig. Her friend/fellow migrant Olga (Natasha Romanova) tells her of a deal that sounds too good to be true: a few hours at a party, no stress with a big payday. Of course, if it sounds too good, it is too good, and there’s something more sinister at the end of the cab ride than bad DJs and watered-down martinis.

Asensio sets herself an almost impossible challenge: a slow, tense second act that is just the mounting tension of a waiting room. How can the third act possibly pay off that invested time? Well, it does. Moreover, she creates a final resolution that avoids any of the trite defaults of a thriller.

Most Beautiful Island is a character study of survival in a capitalistic, hierarchical world that is not completely bereft of humanity. Arsenio gives Luciana a true inner life, and even the antagonists make deep emotional sense. And then she puts everyone through a ringer that matches the most devious and nail-biting stories of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, an intriguing and slow-burn reinvention of survival horror.

March 9, 2017
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MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND on No Film School’s must-see SXSW list

First-time writer-director Ana Asensio’s Most Beautiful Island is a movie you won’t easily forget. The psychological thriller follows a day in the life of an undocumented immigrant woman trying to make ends meet in New York. She decides to take an odd job to get herself out of financial straits, but when she shows up, she’s forced into a dangerous underground world in which her life hangs by a delicate thread. Shot in gritty Super-16, the film intimately captures the desperation and ignominy facing many American immigrants. – Emily Buder

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