F&ME Launch New Production Label

// 9th of December, 2008

"White Lightnin'" Director Dominic Murphy and Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) Kickstarts MASS Production as Long Term Multi Picture Production Partnership

Upcoming British director, Dominic Murphy, whose debut feature White Lightnin' will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, is to team again with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor of Film and Music Entertainment on a slate of projects to be produced by their newly revived MASS Productions label.

"Our partnership on White Lightnin' worked out really well," says Murphy, "we made an ambitious film with minimal resources and in tough conditions, so we are all enthused about going forward together in this new venture."

Murphy’s powerful debut feature was one of the first films to be selected this year by Geoffrey Gilmore and his team, White Lightnin’ tells the story of charismatic mountain dancer Jesco White and his uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability in rural West Virginia.. In his struggle to live up to his father’s legacy as the finest mountain dancer in Appalachia and beyond, he leans on memories of his father (D. Ray White), Elvis Presley, Jesus, and his wife Enid (aka Priscilla).

First up for Murphy, Downey and Taylor is the Biafra set Jesus Christ Airlines (working title), which is currently being scripted by Kit Peel. Peel, a former journalist in the African circuit and opera libretto writer, is about to deliver his version of the events in the lives of one family set against the backdrop of the Biafra Airlift. For almost two amazing years, the daredevil pilots of Joint Church Aid flew in arms and food to Biafra over Nigerian air space, keeping the small, breakaway West African state alive. Murphy spent part of his childhood in Nigeria with his family.

"We will have a solid draft of Jesus Christ Airlines by the time we get to Sundance," says F&ME managing director, Mike Downey, "and it will mark a complete change of direction for Dominic. Nothing could be further from the backwoods of White Lightnin' than the killing fields of Biafra."

Downey and Taylor are no strangers to shooting in Africa having produced the Sundance hit of two years ago, Son of Man, directed by Mark Dornford May in the Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town.

Other projects in the pipeline for the trip are an adaptation of an Iain M. Banks story and a possible hook up with UK author Tibor Fischer. But according to head of production Sam Taylor, it's very early days on these two.

Murphy and the F&ME team will keep in place their production vehicle Mountain Productions, the company that Downey, Taylor and Murphy formed as a partnership with Vice Films in order to produce White Lightnin'.

"We have further plans to work with the Vice Group after the successful completion of White Lightnin'," says Taylor.

Industry insiders will recognise the MASS Productions shingle from a previous incarnation, when in the nineties it produced Academy Award nominee/Venice Golden Lion winner Before the Rain, and also another Sundance alumnus, Benjamin Ross' The Young Poisoner's Handbook.

White Lightnin' is a F&ME/Mountain Productions film made with coin from the UK Film Council New Cinema Fund and SALT. World sales are being handled by SALT and UK distribution will be by Momentum Films. The film stars Carrie Fisher, Ed Hogg and Muse Watson and was shot on location in West Virginia, Ohio and Croatia.

Downey, Murphy and Taylor will are currently casting around for US and UK representation for the MASS Productions vehicle.

Other films currently in the pipe-line for F&ME include feature nature documentary from double Emmy Award winning director Nick Stringer, TURTLE: The Incredible Journey, which is just completing; multi award winner from Sarajevo Film Festival Buick Riviera; latest offering from Antonio Nuic and Propelor film, Donkey and Icelandic horrow/slasher, Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre by Julius Kemp.

For further information please contact:

Katy Moylan 0207 379 3973