Sarah Jessica Parker is set to executive produce “Front Row,” a gripping documentary feature following a group of talented Ukrainian ballet dancers.
Directed by Miriam Guttmann, the award-winning filmmaker of “Seeds of Deceit,” the documentary is produced by Scenery (“Human Playground”), a joint venture with Banijay Benelux. Parker and Alison Benson are exec producing via Pretty Matches Productions, alongside The Ruderman Foundation.
“Front Row” is represented globally by Banijay Rights and will be introduced to buyers at Mipcom, the international TV conference kicking off Oct. 16. The documentary is expected to be completed in 2024.
In “Front Row,” Guttmann charts the journey of a group of Ukrainian dancers in exile as they form a new ballet company, ‘United Ukrainian Ballet’. While performing Alexei Ratmanskiy’s version of ‘Giselle’ in Washington D.C., Alexis, one of the leading ballet dancers, befriends Oleksandr, a front-line soldier, who lost both his legs in a battle on the Ukrainian border with Russia. A friendship forms and Oleksandr is welcomed into the rest of the ballet company, more than ever determined to dance with his disability.
Parker, who currently serves as a vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the New York City Ballet, says “‘Front Row’ puts perseverance and the human condition on display against the punishing backdrop of war.”
“Giving these dancers an international platform to tell their stories through the power, beauty and grit of ballet is a profound honor,” Parker added.
Described as a tale of adversity and resilience, “Front Row” alludes to the devastation of war through video calls between the dancers and their families back home, contributing to a deep sense of survivor’s guilt among the dancers.
Isidoor Roebers, Scenery’s founder and producer, said: “‘Front Row’ is set to be a fascinating insight into the world of ballet, showcasing the unwavering determination and dedication of a group of dancers from Ukraine.”
‘Front Row’ is a nuanced and multi-layered piece, giving a sneak peek into an untapped world of dance and adversity,” Roebers continued. He said “Sarah Jessica’s involvement in the project, thanks to partnership with CAA, will undoubtedly add an enriching and inspiring dimension, making it an unmissable title for buyers around the globe.” Both Scenery and Parker are repped by CAA.
Now in post-production, the documentary is part of Banijay Rights’ Mipcom roster. Simon Cox, EVP of content and acquisitions at Banijay Rights said the banner was “captivated to join Scenery in producing this incredible story from the outset and now with the equally passionate Sarah Jessica Parker on board.”
“Front Row” was backed by the Netherlands Film Production Incentive and Banijay Rights. Besides Parker and Benson, co-executive producers include Claire Demere and associate producer Gaby Edwards. The film is supported by executive producers The Ruderman Foundation and Bart Meuter.
Parker, who is also an executive producer on the HBO Max show “And Just Like That,” recently starred on Broadway opposite her husband, Matthew Broderick, in the revival of one of the great American comedies, ‘Plaza Suite.’ The play will have its U.K. premiere at the Savoy Theatre in London on Jan. 17.
Credit: Andrew Day