Original Title



Drama, Lgbtq+

Production Year


Country of Origin

United Kingdom

Language Spoken



111 min

Sundance FF (World Premiere) /

World Cinema Dramatic Competition


Mikko Mäkelä
Mikko Mäkelä


Ruaridh Mollica,
Hiftu Quasem
Jonathan Hyde
Ingvar Sigurdsson

Production Company
Bêtes Sauvages

James WatsonBudget


Dries Phlypo
Erik Glijnis
Leontine Petit
Aleksi Bardy
Severi Koivusalo
Ciara Barry
Rosie Crerar
Helsinki filmi,
barry crerar,
Lemming Film

Executive Producers
Lizzie Francke
Mike Goodridge


In this queer drama, we follow Max, a 25-year-old freelance writer and aspiring novelist who seems well on his way to success in London’s cultural spheres. Yet by night, he finds a different kind of exhilaration as a sex worker with the pseudonym Sebastian, meeting men via an escorting platform. Max uses his experiences as Sebastian to fuel his stories and the worthy debut novel that he has been longing to write, finally seems within reach. As Max increasingly struggles to remain in control of a delicately balanced double-life, he must reckon with whether Sebastian is merely a writer’s tool in their quest for the ultimate sense of first-hand authenticity – or whether something more is at stake.

Director & producer

Mikko Mäkelä


Mikko Mäkelä is a Finnish-British writer/director based in London, named by IndieWire as one of 25 LGBTQ Filmmakers on the Rise in 2019. His feature directorial debut A Moment in the Reeds (2017) screened at over 80 festivals worldwide, including BFI London Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Frameline. The film was nominated for The Discovery Award at the British Independent Film Awards as well as two Finnish Jussi Awards (Best Actor & Best Supporting Actor). Mikko is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents (2019) as well as the inaugural BIFA Springboard Programme (2020). Prior to his feature debut, he directed a number of music and fashion promos alongside working as an editor in drama and commercials.


James Watson


Producer James Watson is a British-Panjabi filmmaker from London working through Bêtes Sauvages , founded together with Mikko Mäkelä and a recipient of a BFI Vision Award. Their award-winning debut feature A MOMENT IN THE REEDS earned them both a BIFA nomination, was nominated at the Finnish Jussis and played festivals around the world. First working together on fashion promos, music videos and documentary work as a self-shooting, editing, producing and co-directing duo, they continue to bring their indie-filmmaking ethics to their work and have an expansive slate of projects in development, both as writer/directors and producers of other people’s work in the UK and internationally, across both documentary and scripted.


The cast

Ruaridh Mollica

Sebastian / Max

Ruaridh Mollica will appear in Disney+ series A THOUSAND BLOWS  and as Young Teddy Bass in Paramount+ series SEXY BEAST. He will play Jaz in Sam Mendes and Armando Iannucci’s HBO series pilot THE FRANCHISE.  Other forthcoming credits include BBC drama THE JETTY (Firebird Pictures) and RIDLEY (West Road Pictures for ITV). He plays featured role Patrick in BBC/Netflix series RED ROSE (Eleven Film) and the role of Po as one of the main cast in TV drama WITNESS NUMBER THREE for Channel 5. He began his professional acting career as a child alongside Jason Isaacs in CASE HISTORIES (Ruby Films for BBC).

Jonathan Hyde


Jonathan Hyde is due to star in Hampstead’s DOUBLE FEATURE in early 2024. He has recently wrapped production on THE BRUTALIST for Protagonist Pictures and the final series of THE CROWN. Hyde is possibly best known for his leading roles in cult-hit films such as RICHIE RICH, TITANIC, THE MUMMY and JUMANJI among many others. On the smaller screen, Jonathan most recently played the regular role of Eldritch Palmer in four seasons of FX TV series THE STRAIN and was seen playing David Napley in A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL directed by Stephen Frears for Amazon/BBC. 

Hiftu Quasem


Hiftu Quasem is a Scottish actress best known for her role as Misha in TEN PERCENT (Prime Video). Quasem also appears in Netflix’s THE WITCHER: BLOOD ORIGIN and THE WITCHER series 3; BBC Scotland’s Granite Harbour; BBC’s award-winning series KILLING EVE, THIS IS GOING TO HURT (BBC), detective drama series ENDEAVOUR (ITV), and BBC Two’s mini-series TRIGONOMETRY, THE NEST (BBC) and TRACES (BBC). She is due to star in THE RIG S2 on Amazon Prime Video. Quasem began her career acting in a range of short films such as TEHZEEB and MEET ME BY THE WATER. 

Ingvar Sigurdsson


Ingvar Sigurdsson is considered one of Iceland’s premier actors. His film WHITE WHITE DAY was at Cannes in the Semaine de La Critiques section of the competition where he won the award for BEST RISING STAR. His most recent international films include EVEREST, FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and JUSTICE LEAGUE. He can currently be seen in Baltasar Kormakur’s new Netflix series Katla and has a lovely role in the Robert Eggers film Northman opposite Alexander Skarsgard, and he recently starred in 3 episodes of KILLING EVE. His latest film GODLAND screened in competition at Cannes in Un Certain Regard (Dir Hlynur Pálmason) and he played a supporting role in Zach Snyder’s REBEL MOON.  

"At its heart it is a portrait of a young artist looking for their voice and the tension between self-expression and audience considerations, the difficulties sometimes for a young artist to stay in control of their narrative and how this might come to bear on someone who draws on their own life for their work."

- Director Mikko Mäkelä


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International Publicist


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(International publicist)

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