Cannes: Jeff Nichols Lands Cannes, Berlin Competition Titles in Same Year

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Jeff Nichols

'Loving' is set to compete for the Palm d'Or just months after 'Midnight Special' was among those in the running for a Golden Bear.

Those attending both the Berlin and Cannes film festivals might have a touch of deja vu when inspecting the competition lineups.

Jeff Nichols, having already given Berlin's Palast one of its biggest talking points in February with his Kirsten Dunst-starring sci-fi pic Midnight Special, is set to enjoy the remarkably rare feat of returning to Europe in May for Cannes' world premiere of Loving. The drama — starring Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga and Nichols regular Michael Shannon (who co-starred in Midnight Special) — will compete for the Palm d'Or at next month's festival, announced as part of the lineup on Thursday. It will be Nichols' second Cannes competition title, following his Matthew McConaughey-starring Mud in 2012. 

Inspired by the documentary The Loving Story, Loving tells the real-life tale of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who were sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying, a sentence that was suspended on condition that they be exiled from the state. They would spend much of the next decade fighting to return home, resulting in the landmark Loving v. Virginia ruling in 1967 that overturned all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the U.S.

Alongside Nichols and the cast, Loving's Cannes bow is likely to see red-carpet favorite Colin Firth descend on the Croisette. Firth produced the film for his new Raindog Films banner, co-founded with ex-Sony Music U.K. chair Ged Doherty, along with Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf for Big Beach, Sarah Green and Nancy Buirski, who directed The Loving Story. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones is executive producing.

While Nichols was promoting Midnight Special in Berlin, Loving was among the major buzz titles in the European Film Market, eventually being nabbed by Focus Features for North America, along with several international territories including the U.K., Germany and Latin America.