“Urban Hymn” is a 2016 British coming-of-age drama, written by Nick Moorcroft and Directed by Michael Caton-Jones. The film was selected for the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival where it received its world premiere in the “City To City” section.
It continued to tour the international film festival circuit, most recently screening at the 46th edition of the Giffoni film festival held in Italy on the 21st of July, 2016, where it won the festival jury award for Best Film.
The semi-autobiographical film, based on Nick Moorcroft’s formative years growing up in Essex, is set against the backdrop of the 2011 England Riots, and follows a neglected and volatile female offender, Jamie, who possesses an amazing singing voice and is torn between her loyalties toward her inspiring, unconventional care worker, Kate, and her possessive and volatile best friend, Leanne.
Letitia Wright stars, and is joined by Shirley Henderson, Isabella Laughland, Ian Hart and Steven Mackintosh.
Critical response to the film since its TIFF premiere last fall has been mostly strong. Toronto Film Festival Director, Piers handling, called “Urban Hymn” “a searing and moving portrait of a pair of disenfranchised teen girls, grounded by a sharp script and sensitive, naturalistic actors”. Meanwhile, The Evening Standard film critic David Sexton said “This film is a turning point for director Michael Caton-Jones” and “develops real power in the relationship between Jamie and Kate and it directly addresses the intractable problem of the dispossessed.” The Guardian said the film was, “Heart-warming social realism, with a great couple of lead performances (from Isabella Laughland and Letitia Wright)”. And Stephen Dalton from the The Hollywood Reporter said it was “hugely refreshing to see a rare British movie whose key cast is almost entirely female, with a rising young black talent as the main star.”
The film was picked up for theatrical distribution in the U.K and Ireland, with a Friday October 7, 2016 release set for the former. No USA distributor attached at this time, nor how wide we can expect the film to travel.