Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) Launch Bumper 2012/2013 Production Slate headlined by Isango Ensemble’s township adaptation of LA BOHEME directed by Mark Dornford-May

// 23rd of May, 2012

Produced in Collaboration with Stephen Daldry, leading an impressive Sixteen-Film line-up

London/Cannes 20 May 2012

As Khayelitsha Township-based theatre company Isango Ensemble prepare for the world premiere in London this week of their latest production of Puccini’s La Boheme - Abanxhaxi, Mike Downey and Sam Taylor have pacted with the group to created a film version of this operatic event, ‘very much along the lines, and in the style of Dornford May’s Berlinale Golden Bear winning version of Rossini’s Carmen - uCarmen eKhayelitsha.’ Says F&ME principal, Mike Downey.

Dornford May and Isango’s musical director Pauline Malefane (who also plays Mimi) are currently working on the adaptation which will shoot in Khayelitsha later this year as the first film under the F&ME/Isango banner, F&ME chairman Stephen Daldry will exec produce. Daldry is, along with Downey, Alan Rickman, and Sir Ian McKellan a member of the International Council of the Isango Ensemble.

"The production is a unique partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria." Says F&ME’s Mike Downey, "The striking and brutal realities of the everyday life of the poor, their struggle for food, shelter and medicine is contained within some of the most glorious operatic music ever composed. Mimi's death from tuberculosis cannot but strike a chilling chord in our modern world. Puccini's message is clear and unambiguous - her death is a crime - committed because of our lack of collective humanity."

F&ME is currently in post production on half a dozen films, the lion’s share of which are fed through their relationship with Soho post-production facility Molinare: currently starting sound and picture finishing there is Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company; whilst Andrzej Jakimowski’s Imagine starring Edward Hogg and Alexandra Maria Lara has just delivered as has Jacco Groen’s Lilet Never Happened, and Estonian director Kadri Koussar’s The Arbiter as well as the Croatian portmanteau film Zagreb Stories II - Love, and Mira Fornay’s Slovak story My Dog Killer.

"It’s great to have a number of high profile productions on our slate,"says F&ME’s Samantha Taylor, " But these are supported by a wide range of co-productions from a brace of different countries and cultures and these form part of the mainstay of what we do. We don’t do TV. We don’t do commercials, we make feature films and this year will be a bumper year."

Next up for Downey and Taylor is the $4.5 million EPIC to shoot as a UK-Georgia-France-Russia co-production, written by Ben Hopkins and Pawel Pawlikowski; then comes $4.4 million Cassy and Jude to be shot in Wales with the support of Film Agency Wales. In Jan 2013 shooting begins of Srdjan Dragojevic’s follow up to his Berlinale hit The Parade, on The Porcupine by Julian Barnes.

The rest of the slate is currently filled out with Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s Staying Alive, feature documentaries Children of the Revolution: This is Rio by Julien Temple and Streekids United II - Brazil 2014, Ineke Smits’ N.N., Rajko Grlic’s Miracle at Vipers Glen; Finnish children’s fantasy Rolli and the Golden Key, Antonio Nuic’s The Butcher’s Heart, and Fatmir Koci’s tentatively titled England On My Roof from Albania.

"We have a number of other films in the pipeline," says Downey, "for example we are developing a project with the director David Mackenzie and the Spanish producer Antonio Saura, but it’s just a bit early to talk about them."

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