London-based production house Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) has consolidated its position as one of the key players on the European independent production scene, expanding its 2016/2017 active production slate to 12 pictures including debuts from such major international talents as German documentarist and author Rudolph Herzog, Gomorrah scribe Maurizio Braucci and writer of the Academy Award winning feature IDA, Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Closing out the 2016 slate are the Goteborg opener (and FIPRESCI prize winner) Tom of Finland* (world sales: Protagonist) , Rotterdam HIVOS competition entry Light Thereafter* (world sales: Latido) starring Ireland’s Barry Keoghan and F&ME (Ireland)’s latest co-production, Return to Montauk*(world sales Gaumont) the debut original screenplay of Irish writing legend Colm (Brooklyn) Toibin starring Stellan Skarsgard produced by Ziegler Film (D) in co-production with Savage (IRE) and Pyramide (F) with F&ME acting as minority co-producers with Savage and screened in competition at the Berlinale.
“The first part of our 2016 slate has got off to a stellar beginning,” says F&ME’s co-principal Samantha Taylor, “and with the incredible debut talent attached to our next projects, like Rudolph, Maurizio and Mariam Khatchvani, we hope to make 2017 even better and carry on nurturing the best in European film making talent – writers like Rebecca Lenckiewicz and How To Sell a War writer Tim Price”
At the very end of its post-production period is DeDe, Mariam (Dinola) Khatchvani’s debut feature. The film is a Georgian/British/Croatian/Dutch coproduction with Vova Katcharava’s 20 Steps, Igor Nola’s MP Film Production and JaJa Film Productions. Developed at the Sundance Lab and Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde (Cannes), and supported by the Doha Film Institute and the Georgian National Film Centre. The project was in the Works-in-Progress selection at the Festival du Cinéma Européen des Arcs and is currently looking for a festival berth. World sales are handled by WIDE.
Currently mid-editing is the F&ME (Ireland)’s ELVIS WALKS HOME their second a co-production with Albania, and also written by Welsh author Jonathan Preece in collaboration with director Fatmir Koci. The film was developed with the proceeds of the UK National Lottery through the Arts Council of Wales as well as with cash from Creative Europe’s Media programme. The production also received funding from the Albanian Film Centre as well as key private equity funding from the UK and Albania.
“We are in the business of making World Cinema,” says F&ME co principal Mike Downey, “which is why we have developed over the last 15 years a tight network of ‘two-way street’ partnerships of reciprocal co-production. In this way we bring films like Lost in Karastan and The President to shoot somewhere like Georgia, and then we come back and participate in local films made by local talent like Dede, which is currently shooting. Equally we will also bring Rudolph Herzog’s debut film How to Sell a War to shoot there next summer. Two years ago we set up F&ME Ireland and now we starting to see the benefit of that pre-Brexit move. ”
Continuing their fruitful relationship with Poland, F&ME have come on board to collaborate with long-time partner Andrzej Jakimowski on his latest picture Once Upon a Time in November (working title), the film is being handled internationally by WIDE and F&ME last partnered with Jakimowski on his 2013 Toronto success Imagine. F&ME have also joined as executive producers on Bodo Kox’s award winning screenplay The Man With The Magic Box produced by Iza Igel and Roman Jarosz at Alter Ego productions.
Shooting plans for 2017 include The Dream Girl written and directed by Maurizio Braucci, best known for his award winning screenplays of Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra and Reality. This time Braucci has teamed up with Ida scribe Rebecca Lenckiewicz and the film will shoot in September 2017 as a UK-Ireland co-production. Post production services will be by Windmill Lane and the film will benefit from the section 481 tax credit. F&ME are working exclusively with accountants Grant Thornton in Ireland to access the tax credit.
F&ME are also continuing their working relationship with Rebecca Lenkiewicz on, The Disciple directed by Koza helmer Ivan Ostrochovsky and written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Marek Lescak and Ostrochovsky. The film handles the delicate subject of the Catholic church in Communist Slovakia and two initiate friends who sign up for the Roman-Catholic Theological Seminary, so they can escape the moral devastation of society caused by the “Normalisation Era”, the period that ensued after the 1968 invasion of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia.
The Streetkids United documentary franchise, which follows the Street Child World Cup event as it travels across the globe following soccer’s FIFA World Cup is about to launch the third part in its series, after Durban and Rio, Streetkids United III – The Road to Moscow will get underway before the end of the year. As with the previous instalment, F&ME will team with Jamillah van der Hulst and Conrad Alleblas at JaJa productions to take on the Moscow event.
And finally How To Sell a War, by Rudolph Herzog is just completing its financing and aims to begin shooting in Georgia in the late spring/early summer and full details of the production will be announced as soon as the financing is closed.