Mirette lives and works with her grandmother Mémé Gâteau who runs a Parisian boarding house frequented by circus performers. One night a mysterious guest named Bellini arrives. While attending to her lonely chores, Mirette secretly discovers him in the courtyard, walking a tightrope he has fashioned from one of the washing lines. She is transfixed and becomes determined to learn.
Undeterred by Bellini’s refusal to teach her this dangerous craft, Mirette steals out to the courtyard each morning, to learn by herself. She falls a great deal, yet continues despite her injuries. Soon she manages one singular crossing. Elated, she runs to tell the only person who could understand… Bellini. Impressed by her determination, he finally surrenders and agrees to teach her. And so Mirette is becoming a wire walker and a loyal friendship develops between the unlikely pair.
A glittering night at the boarding house welcomes Charlie Meyer, the infamous agent from London. Mirette watches the scene in secret, as revelry and song enrapture the boarding house guests. But when Charlie recognizes Bellini sneaking past the affray, the room erupts into gossip and amazement to realise this legendary wirewalker is there in the house with them. Mirette overhears as Bellini’s great secret is revealed – the finest high wire walker the world has ever seen has been left tormented by an accident. He is unable to walk the high wire, the great love of his life.
Mirette confronts Bellini and is heartbroken by his disappearance the following day. Consumed with fear she has lost her mentor forever, she returns dutifully to her chores.
That evening crowds gather in the local square. Mirette follows to find out what is happening. A high wire has been set up. She spots Bellini as he steps onto the high wire to cheers. He tries to take the next step but freezes as fear starts to take hold of him. Ignoring Charlie’s warnings, Mirette races to the opposite rooftop. Now standing on the edge, looking over at her teacher,
she too is scared. Yet to save her mentor, she too must walk the high wire.
Set in Paris in the early 1900s, ‘Mirette’ is the story of a penniless girl brought up by her grandmother. A chance encounter leads to an unlikely friendship and Mirette’s steel, determination and bravery culminate in a young girl conquering not only her own fears but the fears of her inspiring mentor, to become the greatest circus act on earth.
‘Mirette on the High Wire’ won the Caldecott Medal, one of the most prestigious American children’s book awards, seen as the Oscars of children’s books. Other Caldecott winners, such as ‘Where The Wild Things Are’, ‘The Polar Express’,‘Jumanji’, ‘The Inventions of Hugo Cabret’, and ‘The Man Who Walked Between the Towers’, have all gone on to be made into commercially successful family films.
Director Helen O’Hanlon’s first film was hugely successful with selection to the New York International Film Festival, winning Best Director at the Oscar-accredited Bermuda Film Festival and great success at the inaugural Silver Scream festival,winning Best Short Film, Best Actor and the highly sought-after Forry Ackerman Award for Imagination in Film.
Helen’s strengths lie in creating original magical worlds that have universal appeal and she backs that with unrelenting determination to bring her vision to life. This is a wonderful opportunity to join Helen on her creative journey.
TALENT: Dixie Egerickx (Mirette), Jean-Marc Desmond (Bellini), Tom Conti (Charlie Meyer), Miriam Margolyes (Meme Gateau), Bebe Cave (Harlequin)
PRODUCER: Michael Stanish
Stanish’ is the Founder and Exec Producer of Ground Control Films. He is known for his tenacity and enthusiasm for creative work of the highest calibre.
He arrived in London in 2004 after cutting his teeth in the advertising industry producing for Silverscreen in Australia and New Zealand, and across Japan and Europe. Stanish joined Framestore as Senior Producer, post-producing commercials and touching on feature film VFX. A highlight project he produced was the acclaimed ‘Tale of the Three Brothers’ animated segment in Harry Potter 7. He produced VFX for the hugely successful British film ‘Harry Brown’ and worked extensively with the most globally awarded commercials director, Daniel Kleinman. One of his favourites being the 2009 Super Bowl spot for Bridgestone
‘Mr Potato Head’ which won huge public affection and is remembered as the best of that year.
Joining MPC in 2010 as Head of 3D Production in its Advertising division, he produced work for the likes of McLaren, Firestone and pioneered critically acclaimed artistic pieces with Rob and Nicky Carter. Drafted to MPC New York as Head of Production he continued his MPC adventure until he finally set out to realize his dream of starting his own creative studio.
In 2013 he formed Ground Control Films, a production hub representing extraordinary directors, producing acclaimed work for Nike, Adidas and Nintendo.
DIRECTOR: Helen O'Hanlon
Hailed as an ‘exciting future voice in cinema’ at the 53rd New York Film Festival, Helen’s debut film ‘How to be a Villain’ has become a favourite of critics and audiences and won a number of awards, including Best Director at the Oscar-qualifying Bermuda International Film Festival and The Forry Ackerman Award for Imagination in Film at the inaugural Silver Scream Film Festival.
A former Senior VP of Sony Music Publishing, she began her career as a music consultant at EMI, pitching and placing music in TV and film. Quickly rising to global executive level, she ran offices in key markets around the world. Having conquered her corporate universe, she took time out to raise her young daughters and began developing the films running riot in her imagination.
Secretly obsessed with wire-walking for its danger, elegance and metaphors for life, she found a copy of ‘Mirette on the High Wire’ in 2013 and has been passionate about bringing it to screen ever since. She has recently become attached to a highly stylistic and uniquely humorous British feature film. She is based in London.