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Pin Cushion
Official Selection

For her first feature, Pin Cushion, British director Deborah Haywood digs into her own teenage memories and unearths something eccentric, peculiar and utterly original.

At the centre is a relationship of cloying co-dependency as Iona (Lily Newmark, Solo: A Star Wars Story), a pale-faced teenager, and her hunchbacked mother, Lyn (Joanna Scanlan, Getting On, The Thick of It), contentedly share meals, pet names and even a bed. Recently arrived in a small Midlands town, they are desperate to make friends. But Lyn, mentally slow and physically burdened, invites only the scorn of her neighbours, while Iona, geeky and ginger-haired, is a too-tempting target for the über-mean girls at her new high school. Brutally exploiting her social and sexual naïveté, they enact a campaign of escalating humiliations.

Holding tight to both as they struggle to fit into a community that patently doesn’t want them, director Deborah Haywood — who shot the film in her hometown and describes it as “emotionally biographical” — fashions a transcendent portrait of mental illness and bullying. Deliberately exaggerated, she shows how slights are magnified when you’re young or otherwise vulnerable.

Most Promising Newcomer, Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut, British Independent Film Awards 2017 • Best Actress, Evening Standard British Film Awards 2018 • Audience Award, Glasgow Film Festival 2018
Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week 2017 – Opening Night Gala 2017 • International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018
Both a funny, entertaining, complex portrayal of female relationships…and a frightening reminder of how bullying can seep from the playground into adulthood.
Australian Premiere
Deborah Haywood
Lily Newmark, Joanna Scanlan, Loris Scarpa
2017 | 85 min | Drama