With just 18 days to go before the U.K. is set to exit the European Union, Sky has acquired “NYET – A Brexit U.K. Border Farce.” The timely short film hails from Alex Helfrecht and Jorg Tittel’s shingle Oiffy (“The White King”) and will be available to millions of Sky subscribers in the U.K. on the Sky Arts channel.
“Nyet” mines a seam of black humor in which post-Brexit British border ports are clogged and there is an illicit trade in food from the European mainland. The short stars Olivia Williams (“An Education”), Beatie Edney (“Poldark”), and Garry Mountaine (“The Lobster”) alongside newcomers Gabriella Moran and Dmitri Gripari. the latter pair play a young couple caught in post-Brexit customs hell in the film. The actors all gave their time for free.
The U.K. is entering another crunch Brexit week, with talks with European Union negotiators deadlocked and a crucial vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for the U.K.’s withdrawal set to go before the British parliament.
In the film and TV business there have been warnings of the effects of a Brexit that sees the U.K. leave the EU without a trade deal. A vocally pro-remain crowd gave “NYET” a warm reception at a screening in London, Friday. More broadly, an overall slim majority of U.K. voters opted to exit the EU and the film will be in front of a wider mix of leavers and remainers on Sky Arts when it goes out in a primetime slot on March 17.
Post-screening there was a lively debate about Brexit and the role of satire in society. David Schneider, who wrote “The Death of Stalin” screenplay with Armando Iannucci, said humor is a useful Trojan Horse in polarizing political times and a useful “way of smuggling in a message and getting a conversation going.”
“Part of what I’m trying to do…is spread a message and change people’s minds,” Schneider said of his own work. “Sometimes I just rage – [but] sometimes I ask go how can I state thus hypocrisy in a way that is funny?”
Check out the trailer for “NYET” below.