EXCLUSIVE: Elisabeth Moss and Lindsey McManus have boarded writer-director Blerta Basholli’s Hive as executive producers. The Love & Squalor Pictures partners will spearhead the awards push for the Kosovan Oscar entry.
Hive tells the true story of Fahrije (Yllka Gashi) who, like many of the other women in her patriarchal village, has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo in the late 1990s. In order to provide for her struggling family, she pulls the other widows in her community together to launch a business selling ajvar, a local food product from peppers and eggplants, and together they find healing and solace in considering a future without their husbands.
When the film debuted in competition this year at Sundance, it became the first in the history of the festival to win all three top awards—including the Grand Jury Prize, the Audience Award and the Directing Award—in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
Yll Uka, Valon Bajgora and Agon Uka produced the drama shot by Alex Bloom, with Britta Rindelaub, Tomi Salkovski and Paskal Semini co-producing. Moss and McManus join Yll Uka, Agon Uka and Valon Bajgora as exec producers.
“HIVE is an unforgettable, eloquent moving story about the will of survival and empowerment through an unflinching vision,” said Moss and McManus in a joint statement. “The film’s intimate portrayal of a woman’s struggle towards independence moves us to understand the possibility for change, and Blerta’s powerful storytelling masterfully captures the self determination of individuals all over the world to overcome oppression.”
“I have long admired the work of Elisabeth Moss and am honored that she and Lindsey McManus have joined us as partners in our project. I could not be more proud or excited,” said Basholli. “At the core of HIVE, Fahrije Hoti was able to overcome adversity and build her business because of the support of the women in her community. To have the support of Elisabeth Moss and Lindsey McManus as partners in sharing Fahrije’s story makes my heart burst.
Added the filmmaker, “HIVE is about giving hope, and the journey of this film has just been given even more hope with these amazing women joining our team.”
The Kino Lorber title is now playing in select U.S. theaters and will continue to expand nationwide, and to additional international territories. The film opened in New York to the highest grosses for any title since Film Forum reopened following the pandemic.
Up next for Love & Squalor is Shining Girls, an upcoming series exec produced by and starring Moss, which will debut on Apple TV+ this spring. LevelK is handling international sales, with CAA Media Finance representing on the domestic side.