Across the River and Into the Trees


Liev Schreiber Colonel Richard Cantwell
Matilda de Angelis Renata Contarini
Josh Hutcherson Jackson
Laura Morante Contessa Contarini
Danny Huston Captain Wes O’Neill


Writer: Peter Flannery
Director: Paula Ortiz
Producer: Robert MacLean, Michael Paletta, Kirstin Roegner, John Smallcombe
Executive producer: William J. Immerman
Production company: Tribune Pictures


Running time: 110 minutes
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound
Colour/B&W: Black & white, & colour
Location: Venice 2021; Post production in UK

Iconic author, Ernest Hemingway's last work immortalised into a full-length feature film:

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."

Ernest Hemingway


Set in Italy during WWII, American Army Col. Richard Cantwell, is a bona fide war hero who faces news of his terminal illness with stoic disregard. Determined to spend his weekend in quiet solitude, he commandeers a military driver to facilitate what is likely a final duck hunting trip and visit to his old haunts in Venice. As Cantwell’s plans begin to unravel, a chance encounter with a young countess begins to kindle in him the hope of renewal. Based on the last full-length novel Hemingway published in his lifetime, ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES captures a fleeting moment of immortality where time stands still. The story contains the great Hemingway themes of love, war, youth and age.




Liev Schreiber to Attend World Premiere of Hemingway Adaptation “Across the River and Into the Trees” at Sun Valley Film Fest


‘Across The River And Into The Trees’: First Look At Liev Schreiber In Ernest Hemingway Drama



“Across the River and Into the Trees” is a novel by American writer Ernest Hemingway, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1950, after first being serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine (six editions) earlier that year. The title is derived from the dying words of U.S. Civil War Confederate General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson: ‘Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees’. Over the years many luminaries have both optioned the novel, written screenplays, and attempted to bring the story to the big screen. The more notable ones being: John Huston, Robert Altman, John Frankenheimer, and Working Title.


The story opens with Colonel Richard Cantwell, a 50-year-old US Army officer, stationed in Italy at the close of World War II. The bulk of the narrative deals with his star-crossed romance of a younger Venetian woman named Renata. Hemingway had met young Adriana Ivancich, with whom he became infatuated, and he used her as the model for the female character in the novel. The novel’s central theme is death, and, more importantly, how death is faced. One biographer and critic sees a parallel between Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. The novel is built upon successive layers of symbolism and, as in his other writing, Hemingway employs here his distinctive, spare style (the “iceberg theory”), where the substance lies below the surface of the plot. Incidentally Adriana Ivancich designed the dust jacket of the first edition of the novel. Adriana became Hemingway’s muse for many years; and historians attribute her to Hemingway’s literary revival which pinnacled in 1954 with him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature ‘most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style’. The role of Colonel Richard Cantwell is seen by many to be the fusion of an actual character, Major General Charles ‘Buck’ Lanham, and Hemingway’s own alter-ego: the heroic, martial figure which forever alluded him. In 1918 Hemingway was seriously wounded in Italy in WW1 having volunteered as an ambulance driver to the Italian Army, after being rejected by the U.S. Army for poor eyesight. The subsequent limp remained as a reminder throughout his life. In 1944 Hemingway again volunteered as an imbedded war correspondent and was immediately thrust into the D-Day landings. He then teamed up with - then to become his life-long friend - Major General Charles ‘Buck’ Lanham of the 22nd Infantry Regiment. Alongside Lanham, Hemingway experience first-hand the relentless brutality of war during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest (1944). It was the longest battle on German ground during World War II; and is the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought. The overall cost of the Siegfried Line Campaign in American personnel was close to 140,000. In 1947 Hemingway was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery during World War II. He was recognized for having been ‘under fire in combat areas in order to obtain an accurate picture of conditions’ with the commendation that ‘through his talent of expression, Mr. Hemingway enabled readers to obtain a vivid picture of the difficulties and triumphs of the front-line soldier and his organization in combat’.


Filming in Venice was an incredible challenge as we were experiencing the hight of the full-blown Covid pandemic. Not only were we - like many others - forced to comply with relentless testing, and similar precautions, our director (Paula Ortiz) contracted covid and we had to suspend filming while she recovered. There was however a silver-lining: Venice was devoid of tourists and we found ourselves perhaps confronted to the actual Venice of 1946.... silent, evocative, and empty.


With little encouragement: Paula Ortiz and P, Javier Aguirresarobe enthusiastically embraced the notion of shooting Venice in Black & White. It was felt the obvious medium for telling a ‘shadow-laced’ story such as this. Javier revitalised the style & techniques of acclaimed DP, Gregg Toland (“Citizen Cain”); as an obvious inspiration.


My name is Paula Ortiz, screenwriter and director, and here we present our film “Across the river and into the Trees”, that is the adaptation of one of Hemingway’s last novels, a love, life and death song. The encounter of a wounded man with a young woman who help each other to accept themselves by connecting again with the center of life becoming deeply human again. As you will see on the film, It is a walk for two nights, two people at a vital crossroads (he is at the end of his path, she is beginning hers) and they feel lost, homeless. During those two nights, in their conversation, only through their words, they will find a place, a shelter, a meaning... That’s why through this wonderful character, Hemingway’s symbolic man, and his journey, we find a story that is truly a life song. The film portrays Venice and its beauty and the text where each line of dialogue always has several affective, political, historical, social meanings, we reach on that threshold of Hemingway, between melancholy, memory, and struggle. For my part, from the cinematic proposal I tried to give it the Hemingway pulse, in an aesthetic and ethical contemporanean form. A black and white film that proposes to retain the classic mood, that old air, but at the same time, tries to leave some room for a modern and honest cinematic language. I consider this movie a gift. It has been truly a privilege, as a woman from 21th century, to be able to work and search on Hemingway´s text and its cracks, lights and shadows. This is a beautiful walk through the post-war Venetian night, this anti-war story about the road to death, to life and beauty as necessary cinematographic experience nowadays.


PAULA ORTIZ - Director

Paula Ortiz is a Spanish director from Zaragoza, Spain. Paula was nominated for Goya Awards for Best Picture for “La Novia” (“The Bride”), based on the play by Federico Garcia Lorca; and for “Chrysalis. “The Bride” was on the list of three films selected as Spain’s submissions for Best Foreign Film for the 89th Academy Awards. Paula attended cinema studies for directing at Tisch School of the Arts in New York; and completed a screenwriting degree at UCLA. She has a PHD in English literature.

JAVIER AGUIRRESAROBE - Director of Photography

Aguirresarobe was born in Eibar, Guipúzcoa, Basque Country, Spain. He has worked with Spanish directors such as Imanol Uribe, Montxo Armendáriz, Alejandro Amenábar and Pedro Almodóvar, and with Miloš Forman and Woody Allen. He has won six Goya Awards among other prizes. Aguirresarobe also worked as cinematographer for the film adaptation of New Moon, released on 20 November 2009. He continued his work for the Twilight film series with their other sequels in the series.


Edward Shearmur (also known as Ed Shearmur; born 28 February 1966) is a British film composer. Born in London, England, at age seven he sang in the boys’ choir at Westminster Cathedral. Educated at Eton College, he studied at the Royal College of Music and went on to a scholarship at Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. He worked as orchestration and conducting assistant to Michael Kamen on such films as Licence to Kill, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and the acclaimed Don Juan DeMarco before scoring his first full-length feature film The Cement Garden which won the director’s prize at the Berlin Film Festival. His first major feature score was that of The Wings of the Dove (1997). He has since scored a diverse range of popular films, including both Charlie’s Angels, outings, Cruel Intentions, Species II, and K-PAX.


Stuart Baird has had an extended collaboration with director Richard Donner. For Baird’s work on Superman in 1978, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Film Editing. He received another nomination for editing Gorillas in the Mist (1988). Prior to his working relationship with Richard Donner, Baird worked as assistant director and assistant editor on different projects before editing Ken Russell’s Tommy. Baird worked with Russell on five major motion pictures. He edited Tommy, Lisztomania, and Valentino and served as associate producer on Ken Russell’s Altered States. He also worked as assistant editor on Russell’s The Devils, (1971). After his Oscar-nominated work on Gorillas in the Mist in 1988 and his work with Richard Donner on Lethal Weapon 2, he accepted a position as full-time staff editor at Warner Bros. in 1989. With Warner Bros., he supervised the editing on such films as Die Hard 2 (1990) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). The first two movies Baird directed were studio pictures produced and distributed by Warner Bros.; where he had served as Editor Supervisor. He has directed three films: Executive Decision (1996), U.S. Marshals (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). He was the editor and executive producer of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Baird edited the Columbia Pictures thriller Vantage Point. In the film Star Trek: Nemesis, Baird also voiced the Scimitar computer. To get the job directing Star Trek: Nemesis, Baird performed re-cuts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Mission: Impossible 2 for Paramount Pictures. Jerry Goldsmith was the composer for all of the Baird directed films.

JOSE TIRADO - Production Designer

Born in Barcelona, Jose Tirado holds a BA in Media and Communication by Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). After graduating, he moved to Madrid to study at ECAM Film School and, once again back to Barcelona, he completed his studies in ESCAC Film School. After working several years in different fields of the film industry, he discovered his passion for art direction. His other obsession, collecting and conservation of antique furniture, encouraged him to further his education on the topic at the Institute for Furniture Conservation and Restoration. Since 2013 Jose works as a production designer for both cinema, commercials, fashion and music videos. Thanks to this experience, he has taught classes in IED (European Institute of Design) and has been nominated for Best Production Design at UK Music Video Awards, Berlin Ciclope Festival, AWARD Awards (Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association) and twice at APCP Awards (Spanish Association for Commercial Film Producers), in 2018 and 2020. Jose speaks Catalan, Spanish, English and Italian fluently.

STEFANO NICOLAO - Costume Designer

Stefano Nicolao’s atelier is renowned across the world for its stage costumes. Born in Venice in 1954, Nicolao started his career as an actor in Venice’s Avogaria Theatre: from there he moved on to the world of theatre, cinema and television tailoring. After working for Opera Houses and the Venice Carnival, he decided to start his atelier in 1983, while also undertaking a philological study of historical, mostly Venetian, costumes and accessories. Entering his showroom is like travelling to past ages, surrounded by princely clothes and fairy-tale settings. From Rome’s Cinecittà to Hollywood studios, Nicolao’s atelier is appreciated by the best professionals in this field and Oscar-winning costume designers. His costumes featured in famous movies and TV shows and on prestigious stages worldwid



Actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and narrator. He became known during the late 1990s and early 2000s, having appeared in several independent films, and later mainstream Hollywood films, including the Scream trilogy of horror films, Ransom (1996), Phantoms (1998), The Sum of All Fears (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Omen (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Taking Woodstock (2009), Salt (2010), Goon (2011), Pawn Sacrifice (2014), and Spotlight (2015). He later became known to younger audiences for his voice work in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), Isle of Dogs, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (both 2018). Schreiber is also a stage actor, having performed in several Broadway productions. In 2005, he won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the play Glengarry Glen Ross. That year, he made his debut as a film director and writer with Everything Is Illuminated (2005), based on the 2002 novel of the same name. Schreiber has had further success in the television world, most notably portraying the eponymous protagonist of the Showtime drama series Ray Donovan (2013–2020). The role has earned him five Golden Globe Award nominations and three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. He also narrates the HBO series Hard Knocks and 24/7, as well as various PBS programs.


An Italian actress and singer. Her credits include the films Italian Race and Rose Island, and the television miniseries The Undoing. She started playing guitar and violin at the age of thirteen. She attended the liceo scientifico “Enrico Fermi” in Bologna. In 2011, De Angelis began singing in the band Rumba de Bodas. The band also recorded an album, Karnaval Fou, which was released in 2014. In 2015, she was noticed by director Matteo Rovere, who cast her as the lead in his film Italian Race (2016). According to De Angelis, Rovere «saw some of my pictures on Facebook and he wanted to meet me because they were searching for the leading role in this new film and the director didn’t want to get a professional actress because he needed a specific dialect from a specific region in Italy. So, I went to the audition and after, he told me: “You have to do it again, but with a script” and I had three or four auditions after that and then, I got the part». For her debut role, De Angelis was nominated at 2017 David di Donatello for Best Actress; she also wrote and sang the film’s song “Seventeen”, which received a nomination for Best Original Song at the same competition. She was also awarded with a Flaiano Prize and a Nastro d’argento for the Best Newcomer. In 2017, she played the role of Brittia in the ensemble comedy film The Prize by Alessandro Gassmann. In 2018, she starred in the drama film Youtopia. In 2020, she was in the main cast of the HBO’s television miniseries The Undoing and starred in the Netflix’s original film Rose Island, directed by Sydney Sibilia. For her role in Rose Island she was awarded with the David di Donatello for Best Supporting Actress. She co-host the first evening of the Sanremo Festival 2021 alongside Amadeus.


Actor and producer. Hutcherson began acting in the early 2000s and appeared in several commercials and minor film and television roles before landing his first major role in 2002 in the pilot episode of House Blend. His first film role was in Miracle Dogs (2003) on Animal Planet, followed by a motion-capture performance in The Polar Express (2004) and a voice-acting role in Howl’s Moving Castle (2005). Hutcherson’s other early film appearances include Little Manhattan and Zathura: A Space Adventure (both 2005), RV (2006), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), and The Kids Are All Right (2010). In 2011, 18-year-old Josh landed the leading role of Peeta Mellark in the box office record-setting film series The Hunger Games, released yearly in 2012–2015, for which he won three MTV Movie Awards and a People’s Choice Award. In the same period, he also played a lead role in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and voice role in the animated film Epic (2013). Throughout his career, Hutcherson has expressed an interest in directing and producing. He has served as an executive producer in Detention (2011), The Forger (2012) and Escobar: Paradise Lost (2015), while also playing a lead role in each film.


Laura Morante was born in Santa Fiora, province of Grosseto (Tuscany), the daughter of lawyer and playwright Marcello Morante, who was the son of Irma and Francesco Lo Monaco, from Sicily, and brother of the novelist Elsa Morante. Laura’s mother is Maria Bona Palazzeschi. Originally a dancer, Morante started her acting career on stage at 18 years old, in the theatrical company of Carmelo Bene. She made her film debut in Oggetti Smarriti (Lost Belongings), directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci, whose brother would direct the second film in which Morante would appear, La Tragedia di un uomo ridicolo (The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man). She eventually had her breakout thanks to Nanni Moretti, who gave her the title role in Bianca. After her marriage to French actor Georges Claisse, Morante moved to Paris, where, thanks to her participation in numerous productions, she acquired a certain notoriety in European art cinema. Returned to Italy, in 2001 she eventually won the David di Donatello for best actress her performance in Moretti’s The Son’s Room. Later she was nominated for the David di Donatello in the same category in 2003, for Gabriele Muccino’s Remember Me, My Love, and won the Silver Ribbon for best actress for Love Is Eternal While It Lasts (2003) by Carlo Verdone. Morante attracted considerable attention with her performance as the neglected Madame Jourdain, with whom the young Molière, played by Romain Duris, falls in love, in the 2007 release Molière. She also provided the voice of Helen Parr/Elastigirl in the Italian-dubbed version of the Pixar animated film, The Incredibles. Very active in France, in 2012 Morante made her directorial debut with the French-Italian co-production Cherry on the Cake, for which she was nominated for the David di Donatello for Best New Director.


Actor, writer, and director. In 1989, Huston directed Mr. North which starred his half-sister, Anjelica Huston. Huston was nominated for Best Male Performance at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2003 for his performance in the independent film Ivans Xtc. His film credits include Birth and Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, for which the ensemble cast was nominated for a 2004 Screen Actors Guild Award. Huston received the Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Constant Gardener. He appeared in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, Peter Berg’s The Kingdom, Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock. He starred in The Congress, which opened the 45th Directors’ Fortnight sidebar at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Huston co-starred as gossip columnist Dick Nolan in Tim Burton’s film Big Eyes. He portrayed The Axeman in the FX thriller series American Horror Story: Coven and Massimo Dolcefino in American Horror Story: Freak Show. He starred as General Erich Ludendorff in the 2017 film Wonder Woman and as Wade Jennings in Angel Has Fallen. From 2018 to 2019, he had a role in the first two seasons of the Paramount drama series Yellowstone. Huston is a graduate of London Film School.


Robert K. MacLean - cell: +1-604-828-0126; mail:
Kirstin Roegner - cell: +1-475-292-4272; mail:
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