// 19th of May, 2015

Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) have pacted with Tbilisi-based 20 Steps Productions and The Caucasian Film Service on a three picture deal to be shot in the 2015/16 period.

The arrangement follows the three companies’ highly successful partnership shooting and co-producing in Georgia on Pawel Pawlikowski scripted Lost in Karastan, starring Matthew Macfadyen, and Venice opener The President, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

First up to start later this year is How to Sell a War, scripted by hot British writer Tim Price (The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, Teh Internet is Serious Business) and up-and-coming director Rudolph Herzog (The White Diamond, The Paedophile Next Door).  The film is produced by Sam Taylor, Mike Downey and Vladimer Katcharava.

Pitched as ‘The Boss of It All meets Platoon’, the film tells the story of Peggy, a naïve but ambitious young woman with a crippling physical disability, who gets thrown into the deep end when she starts her new career in PR at high-profile company Cube, under the supervision of her ice queen of an Aunt, Kate Hemmings.

Through an innocent misunderstanding on her first day in the office, Peggy ends up becoming indispensable in a highly sensitive case - the Governor of Svaneti, in Georgia, needs to fabricate a humanitarian crisis in order to get NATO backing in his fight to halt Russian annexation. He needs a moral imperative to start a real war, and swing Western public opinion in his favour in order to get British soldiers on the ground.

Development of the project is being co-financed with Creative England, and following an initial recce to the Caucasus earlier in the year, a first draft is due soon after Cannes:

"With Creative England’s support, we have assembled a brilliant team for ‘How to Sell a War' ", says F&ME's Sam Taylor, "a farcical fish out of water story which takes a wry look at the war industry. Playwright Tim Price’s writing is both unique and pure genius, Rudolph Herzog is a vibrant and extraordinary young director and with our long term collaborator Vladimer Katcharava in Georgia, we are going to make something very exciting indeed."  

The second film follows up the partnership of the two companies on a short by Mariam Bakacho Khatchvani (co-writer/director) with a feature called Dede. The project and the team of Khatchvani and Vladimer Katcharava (co-writer/producer) and Irakli Solomanashvili (co-writer) have just been selected for the prestigious Sundance Lab this summer.

 As Georgia fights for its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a young woman struggles to make a life in the remote, isolated villages high in the Caucusus Mountains, where ancient patriarchal laws threaten to separate her from her daughter.

"An exceptionally talented team, from a great film making country," says F&ME producer Mike Downey, "we see co-production as a reciprocal two way street, hence our enthusiasm to engage with talented Georgian film makers at the highest level."

Born in Ushguli, Georgia, Mariam Bakacho Khatchvani directed the short film Dinola, which was nominated for a European Film Award and screened at several international film festivals including Clermont-Ferrand and Hong Kong. Dede will be her feature debut.

Vladimer Katcharava was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. He recently was a producer along with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor on the feature The President, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014 and went on to screen at a myriad of international film festivals.

Irakli Solomanashvili is a Georgian writer known for the films Bolo Gaseirneba, The Conflict Zone, and Gaseirneba Karabaghshi.

The third, as of yet untitled project is in the early stages of development. It is set in London and directed by Tinatin Kajrishvili, whose feature Brides won the Third Audience Award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival - Panorama Section, and the Special Jury and Best Actress prizes at the Sarajevo Film Festival. It was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, Milano Film Festival, Festival do Rio and Stockholm International Film Festival.


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