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OVID AND THE ART OF LOVE (credit: Glenna Lang)
OVID AND THE ART OF LOVE (credit: Glenna Lang)

Esmé von Hoffman’s new independent feature film Ovid and the Art of Love, about a young poet, played by Corbin Bleu from the High School Musical film series, will world premiere on August 10th at the Festival of Cinema NYC (formerly known as the KEW Gardens Festival.

Set in a mash-up world of ancient Rome and modern contemporary Detroit, this uncannily relevant mash-up of togas, high-top sneakers, and hip-hop pits love against tyranny. Corbin Bleu plays poet Ovid who finds his life in danger when he writes a witty and provocative guide to love and joins a growing resistance to the authoritarian ruler Augustus played by John Savage.

In addition to Corbin Bleu (Disney’s High School Musical), and John Savage (The Deer Hunter), Ovid and the Art of Love also stars Tara Summers (Boston Legal and Ridley Scott’s Mercy Street), Joseph McKenna (Scorsese’s Shutter Island and 12 Monkeys), Tamara Feldman (Gossip Girl), along with Lailani Ledesma (Comedy Central’s Detroit’s), the film is nominated for Best Director, Best MakeUp/FX. Ovid and the Art of Love is executive produced by Greg Johnson (The Squid and the Whale) whose films have been nominated for Golden Globes and Academy Awards.

OVID AND THE ART OF LOVE (credit: Glenna Lang)
OVID AND THE ART OF LOVE (credit: Glenna Lang)

A nation struggles under its vainglorious leader, whose obsession with family values masks his ineptitude and insecurity. Fed up, citizens push back using everything from parody to outright rebellion. It could be the United States in 2019 AD … but in Ovid and the Art of Love, it’s also Rome in 31 BCE.

Set centuries apart but in the same place, Ovid and the Art of Love tells the story of the renowned Roman poet Ovid, whose comic verses and permissive lifestyle provoked the brutal Emperor Augustus’s ire. As Ovid and the emperor’s granddaughter – thrown together by fate – race to escape execution, Ovid’s story asks: In a world of unrest, is love the most radical act of all?

Bringing together togas, high-tops, oration, poetry slams, and hip-hop, this lm tells a timely story about power, pleasure, and politics. Strong women characters clamor for respect and a better place in society. All is set amongst the faded beauty of modern Detroit’s neoclassical architecture.

Corbin Bleu (High School Musical) masterfully transforms into the poet Ovid, whose work has been cherished for over 2,000 years, while John Savage(The Deer Hunter) gives an electrifying performance as Augustus, Ovid’s conflicted nemesis. Tara Summers (Mercy Street, Boston Legal) plays Julia, Augustus’s tough, rebellious daughter, and Tamara Feldman (Gossip Girl, Hatchet) is the emperor’s activist granddaughter. Also starring Joseph McKenna (Scorsese’s Shutter Island and 12 Monkeys) and Lailani Ledesma(Comedy Central’s Detroit’s).

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