F&ME strikes three-film deal with Finland’s MRP

// 20th of May, 2008

Screen Daily

The UK’s Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) has struck a deal with Finland’s MRP Matila Rohr Productions for three feature films over the next two years.

The projects are 3D epic Underwater Iceland, psychological thriller The Debt and detective thriller The Priest of Evil.

The companies previously worked together on animated title Quest For a Heart, which has now been picked up for sales by TrustNordisk.

Rohr will produce Underwater Iceland 3D, an epic 3D documentary which is preparing for a two-year shoot. The film is budgeted at Euros 2.2m and F&ME will handle all post-production (they recently made another epic, The Turtle’s Song.)

Rohr said: "The stunningly beautiful sceneries of the ever-changing subterranean Iceland and the surrounding sea, are there to be documented from the tiniest plankton and single cell life to fish, to erupting volcanoes and geysers."

Joona Tena will follow her hit FC Venus with Celtic-themed psychological thriller The Debt, to be produced by MRP’s Mikko Tenhunen with F&ME’s Mike Downey and Sam Taylor. The Euros 2m project will shoot in the British Isles in early 2009.

Tena said: "The underlying theme seems to be how our modern career oriented lifestyles easily force us to make a choice between work and family."

Anders Engstrom’s Priest OF Evil is Leo Viirret’s adaptation of Matti Joensuu’s novel about a Helsinki crime detective -- now to be shot in the English language. Matila again produces with Downey and Taylor. A detective suspects a fanatical priest of brainwashing teenagers into murder. That budget is $4m and it will shoot by the end of 2008.

Matila added: "This adaptation is intended as the template for a series of 13 films for television using the same protagonist."

"After our experience of collaborating with Marko and Ilkka on Quest for a Heart. It seemed natural to replicate the experience," says Downey. "Both Sam Taylor and I are very happy that we can replicate it three times over a two year period with such ambitious projects. We see co-production and reciprocity as the key to developing a mixed portfolio of productions and thus a sustainable business."

Quest For a Heart was a box-office hit in Finland and Norway. The voice cast includes Lisa Stansfield and Mackenzie Crook. The film will roll out at the end of 2008.