DARTMOUTH FILMS TO RELEASE MERCURY STUDIOS’ FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
“FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN”
ONTO MORE THAN 100 UK SCREENS FROM 27 OCTOBER
***MERCURY STUDIOS PREMIERES TRAILER FOR THE FILM**
WATCH TRAILER HERE
DIRECTED BY SHEILA HAYMAN AND FEATURING DECCA STAR ISATA KANNEH-MASON
LONDON, UK (22 September 2023) – From Friday 27 October, Dartmouth Films will release Sheila Hayman’s feature documentary “FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN,” produced by Mercury Studios, into more than 100 theatres throughout the UK.
Take a celebrated musical genius, some sibling rivalry, an unknown manuscript, a dash of sass and one sensational revelation and what have you got? “FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN” – the documentary from director Sheila Hayman that features global Decca star, Isata Kanneh-Mason. Anyone who has been to a wedding has enjoyed the soaring musical genius of Felix Mendelssohn. His “Wedding March” may be the best-known classical composition of all time. But Felix was not the only genius in the family. His sister, Fanny was also a brilliant composer, yet most people have never heard of her, and even now only a few of her 450 works are published or performed. Fanny was equal to any of her contemporaries, of any gender: technically brilliant and boldly ground-breaking. Yet not until she was 40 did Fanny dare to defy Felix’s disapproval and publish her music under her own name. Over a century later, the famous pianist Eric Heidsieck was contacted by a record company and asked to produce the first recording of Mendelssohn’s Easter sonata. It was presumed to be the work of Felix; “It can’t be by a woman – it’s a masterpiece,” insisted Henri-Jacques Coudert, producer of the 1972 recording. But in an amazing plot twist, captured as it happened in this extraordinary film, it is once and for all proven definitively to be Fanny’s own piano masterpiece, written when she was only 22.
Tracking down the truth is documentary filmmaker, producer, writer and three times great granddaughter of Fanny, BAFTA winner Sheila Hayman. This film reveals the extraordinary story of Fanny, a composer long sidelined by the custodians of the classical canon. Fanny’s music is brought to life by the gifted virtuoso pianist, Isata Kanneh-Mason, recipient of the 2021 Leonard Bernstein Award and “2021 Best Classical Artist” at the Global Awards. As Kanneh-Mason discovers the Easter sonata, the parallels between her life and Fanny’s – including the challenge of being a pioneer with few role models in classical music — become clear. As moving as it is joyous, “FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN” is the story of a very modern woman – who just happened to live 200 years ago.
Sheila Hayman directs “FANNY: THE OTHER MENDELSSOHN,” with Mercury’s Alice Webb, Marc Robinson and Steve Condie and Annabel Hobley and Maureen Murray serving as executive producers. Hayman is the producer and the editor is Evie Franks. The film was shot in locations including Berlin, New York, London, Oxford and Buckingham Palace.
“Mercury Studios is thrilled to partner with Dartmouth Films, one of the UK’s leaders in the independent documentary space, to bring the untold story of Fanny Mendelssohn to the big screen,” Alice Webb, CEO and Co-President of Mercury Studios states. “We hope Fanny’s journey and Isata’s performance surprises and delights audiences throughout the country.”
On 24 February 2024, Kanneh-Mason makes her Houston debut at DACAMERA in a recital featuring the Houston premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Easter sonata. Kanneh-Mason performs the sonata alongside works by two of Fanny Mendelssohn’s romantic contemporaries: Schumann’s intimate “Scenes from Childhood” and the virtuosic final piano sonata of Chopin. More information and tickets may be found here: https://www.dacamera.com/2023-2024-season-concerts/isata-kanneh-mason-piano/
ABOUT MERCURY STUDIOS
Mercury Studios is a full-service production studio. Current and recent projects include Telluride Film Festival selections American Symphony, a feature documentary by award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman that follows Jon Batiste and If These Walls Could Sing, the untold story of the world-famous Abbey Road Studios directed by celebrated British photographer and filmmaker Mary McCartney for Disney+; “My Life as a Rolling Stone,” a four-part docuseries of intimate portraits of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts for the BBC and MGM+; Shania Twain: Not Just a Girl, a career documentary about the superstar currently available on Netflix; Mixtape, the critically acclaimed feature documentary from Omar Acosta focused on the DJs and artists who shaped the sound and culture of Hip-Hop through mixtapes for Paramount+; and the forthcoming “This Town,” a six-part series for the BBC from writer, creator, and executive producer Steven Knight. Mercury Studios also produced “Sam Smith Live at the Royal Albert Hall” (BBC/Tik Tok) and Billie Eilish’s livestream event, “Overheated,” at The 02 London and the upcoming “Lang Lang Plays Disney” for Disney+.
Editorially independent, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and represents the world’s leading catalogue of music-related content, consisting of thousands of hours of premium music-driven film and television programming.
ABOUT DARTMOUTH FILMS
Dartmouth Films are pioneers in Britain of independent documentaries—finding new ways of funding, making and distributing films which have impact.
Recent titles include the summer box office success Eric Ravilious: Drawn To War (£320,000 gross, on release), Grierson-nominated and the UK’s 2022 entry to the Oscars® Dying to Divorce, BAFTA-winning Men Who Sing and BIFA-winning Children of the Snow Land.
Non-theatrical successes include Resilience, which had a direct impact on the health policy objectives of the Scottish government, and Magic Medicine, which continues to be used as a crucial resource in cross-party efforts to reform drug policy.
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