Film and Music Entertainment buck UK Co-Production Trends and Announce Start of Principal Photography on three features: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, Donkey and Beneath the Surface

// 24th of September, 2008

Two further F&ME projects White Lightnin’ and The Turtle’s Song in last phase of delivery and another three readying to shoot early 2009.

London:  Prolific London indie production house, Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) , run by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor announced this week start of principal photography on three feature film projects, all European co-productions shooting in Iceland, Croatia/Herzegovina and China/Sudan.  Post production on all three will take place in London.

First up is Julius Kemp’s Euro 2 million slasher/horror/thriller Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre a co-production between Kemp and Ingvar Thordarson’s Icelandic Film Company which is currently shooting in the high-seas off the Icelandic coast.

"Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre," says Kemp, "is an epic tale about a group of whale watchers, whose ship breaks down and they get picked up by a whale fisher vessel. The ‘Fishbillies’ on the vessel have just gone bust, and everything goes out of control That having been said, it is an ironic take on the genre that was spawned by the Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

"RWWM is a splatter movie of the goriest kind." says Mike Downey " The story is true to its genre, and the humour as black as it gets. As a post-capitalist fable, the film is very apposite for our times: men turn into beasts and kindness is a weakness that can only lead to defeat. Tongue is kept, however, firmly in cheek."

Pic is written by Sjon Sigurdson who was Oscar nominated for his Dancer in the Dark script as well as recipient of the Nordic Prize for literature. Kemp’s previous films Blossi and Wallpaper were box office hits in his own country as well as internationally. Film and Music Entertainment worked with Kemp on the international cult box office office hit Eleven Men Out a gay football comedy and Astropia last years Icelandic box office champ.

A co-production with the UK and Finland, Ingvar Thordarson produces with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor as well as Solar Films of Finland. Other financiers include The Icelandic film Fund and the Nordic Film and TV Fund. International World sales rights are open.

Shooting concurrently at the other end of Europe in Croatia and Herzegovina  is Antonio Nuic’s much awaited follow up to his award winning 2006 film All For Free. Entitled Donkey, Nuic’s script is an exploration of a dysfunctional Zagreb family who return to their family village for a vacation and where a series of uncomfortable truths and tragedies await them. Produced by Boris T Matic’s Propeler Film and F&ME in association with Jozo Patljak’s Alka Film Donkey is funded by the Croatian Film Centre and the Ministry of Culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina and private equity the film marks the latest in a series of collaborations between F&ME and Propeler Films which started with the hugely successful Border Post in 2005.

"It’s great to be working with Boris T Matic and the Propeler Film team again, " says Downey,  " especially after the huge success of our most recent collaboration Buick Riviera at the Sarajevo Film Festival where we picked up all the major awards including the prestigious Heart of Sarajevo for Best Film. Antonio Nuic is one of the most inspiring film makers in the Balkans at the moment and we look forward to making his first English language film."

Also in the first phase of shooting in Beijing of a year-long shooting process is feature documentary Beneath The Surface. A collaboration between Cologne-based Buesse and Halberschmidt, F&ME, and the ZDF funding is also coming from Germany’s Nordmedia and Filmburo Bremen.  F&ME are currently in negociations with UK broadcasters to come on board.

F&ME is also busy delivering their first two productions of 2008, two debut features by British directors: Dominic Murphy’s White Lightnin’ (sold internationally by SALT) and multiple Emmy Award winning Nick Stringer’s The Turtle’s Song.  Both films will be delivered in the next few weeks and are eyeing festival slots in early 2009.
In a climate which has seen the virtual extinction of international co-production in the UK, F&ME  have three further UK co-productions in the pipeline that will start shooting in the UK in early 2009. The first is the London-set Mission London to be directed by  first time director Dimitar Mitovski from a screenplay by Alek Popov novelist (and former Bulgarian Cultural Attache in London) and BAFTA nominee Steve Attridge.

 Produced by SIA and Camera in co-production with Film and Music Entertainment and UJ Film Studio in Hungary, Mission London  is an adaptation of  Popov’s award winning novel which has been translated into 10 languages and published in territories such as France, Germany, Denmark, and Hungary.  Mission London is satirical comedy written in the style of P.G. Wodehouse presenting traditional Bulgarian situations that are depicted with refined English humour.

Limbering up for a spring shoot in Wales is Finnish director Joona Tena’ s The Debt, a psychological thriller and eagerly anticipated follow up to director Joona Tena's box office hit, the lipstick footie yarn, FC Venus which was remade in Germany in 2006. A leading UK writer is about to be signed to rewrite the current screenplay.

Produced by MRP's Mikko Tenhunen along with F&ME's Mike Downey and Sam
Taylor, and written by Tena, Tenhunen and Quest for a Heart director/writer Pekka Lehtosaari, The Debt will shoot in the Wales in early 2009 on a Euro 2 million budget. Set in a remote lakeside town, The Debt is a supernatural thriller with its roots set in Celtic folklore: in the lake lives a water spirit - who promises fortune and success to you - if you are willing to sacrifice your child for it.

Finally, F&ME’s first foray into 3D filming, Underwater Iceland 3D will be produced by Marko Rohr which is currently being prepared for a mammoth two year shoot in and around the coastal waters of Iceland.  Currently budgeted at Euros 2.2 million all post production on the film will be handled in the UK through Film and Music Entertainment, who are fresh from their own underwater epic documentary The Turtle's Song.

"Our aim with Underwater Iceland 3D," says producer Marko Rohr, "is to exploit the amazing underwater view using vivid colors, clear waters, time-lapse camera work and the latest 3D technology. Using the spectacular underwater landscape around Iceland this 3D epic documentary attempts in its own philosophical way to look for the origins of life where tectonic plate shifts, and temperature changes could have created the first living cells to exist on earth."

Further announcements on F&ME’s slate distribution deal with Maiden Voyage Pictures and 2009 development slate will follow in the next two weeks.

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