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Film and Music Entertainment begin shooting EPIC

// 17th of January, 2013

Ben Hopkins' Epic is a major International co-production between the UK, Germany, Russia and Georgia. Principal Photography begins in Georgian Capital Tbilisi on Sunday 13th. EPIC was developed by the British Film Institute (London), and is supported by the HessenInvestFilm Fund (Frankfurt), Metra Films and the French-German Cultural Channel Arte as well as the Georgian National Film Centre.

Mike Downey and Sam Taylor’s Film and Music Entertainment begin principal photography this weekend a major international co-production at the Georgian Film Studios in Tbilisi. The film,entitled EPIC, which has been in development with the British Film Institute for the last two years has been written by award winning British director Ben Hopkins and BAFTA winning UK writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski. Second unit began in andaround Tbilisi before Christmas moving to Akhaltsikhe next week.

Epic is a gentle black comedy about a confused, washed-up Academy Award winning British movie director who gets invited by a nascent state to make a national Epic in an obscure Caucasus Republic. When Emil Forester receives an invitation to the Embassy of the Autonomous Republic of Karastan in London to discuss his career and to receive an invitation for a retrospective of his films in ‘Karastan- Land of Inspiration’ - little does he know that he is embarking on one of the wildest journeys of his already diverse and colourful career.

The film has been cast by London-based casting agents Wildman Hall, who along with the production team have managed to secure an ‘A list international cast including Matthew Macfadyen as Emil Forester, most recently seen in the BBC’s Ripper Street and whose performance as Darcy oppositeKeira Knightly in Pride and Prejudice is the stuff of cinematiclegend. Opposite him plays stalwart of the latest Twilight - Breaking Dawn mega-franchise, Myanna Buring as love interest and heroine Tulpan. And finally - iconic Australian actor Noah Taylor (Shine, The Proposition) takes centre stage playing himself and also the founder of the Karastani nation TANAT in the film within the film.
"It’s comedy about globalisation and nation-building, sex and art, money-laundering and love." Says director Ben Hopkins whose film Simon Magus played in competition at the Berlinale,"In the case of Epic, reality is absurd, credibility is ridiculous, and authenticity is hilarious. And all set in a fictitious country, that could be one of any number of post Soviet satellite states."

The film is a co-production between London-based Academy Award nominated producers Film and Music Entertainment led by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor, Daniel Zuta’s Frankfurt located Brandstorm Entertainment, Metrafilms’ Artem Vassiliev in Moscow and Tbilisi’s 20 Steps owned by Vladimer Katcharava.

Other key financiers of the film are the British Film Institute (London), HessenInvestFilm Fund (Frankfurt), CinePlus(Berlin/Frankfurt), the Franco-German Cultural Channel ARTE, German film distributor Piffl, and the Georgian National Film Centre
"We have had a long road to production, and have been working here on the ground in Tbilisi for the last four months," says British producer Mike Downey, "But now, with the excellent support of our Georgian and international partners and the Georgian National Film Centre we are ready to start shooting under excellent conditions. We look forward to the next couple of months working in Tbilisi and Axalcixe and we look forward to delivering a major in international motion picture in time for screening in the 2014 festival cycle."

Other key creative elements on the film are executive producer Stephen Daldry, whose first four features, Billy Elliot, The Reader, The Hours, and Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close have all been Academy Award Nominated for best director as well as winning Oscars for Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet. Pawel Pawlikowski is the co-writer, Pawlikowski has won a number of British Academy Awards for his work on films likeThe Last Resort and My Summer of Love.

"The Georgian film industry is in a period of growth," says Georgian National Film Centre CEO Tamara Tatishvili, "and it can grow further by the presence of such international co-productions as EPIC as real partnerships with Georgian companies. The high quality of the level of cast and the international commercial possibilities are very attractive to give Georgian companies a global perspective and to act as a showcase as to just what is possible in terms of international partnerships in Georgia."
The film will move from Georgia to Germany in the last week of February 2012 for a week on location in and around Frankfurt. Post production will take place in Germany from March 15th.

"We are delighted to be able to be participating in this truly commercial international comedy of real scale and size," says 20 Steps Vova Katcharava, "we have already begun pre-selling the film and it has already secured a significant German theatrical release. We look forward to introducing the film to buyers in Berlin and to working with Sam and Mike again."

Film and Music Entertainment have had a bumper 2012, completing shooting on six features The Parade which premiered in Berlin winning the Berlinale Audience Award and 20 other prizes since then; Imagine by Andrzej Jakimowski which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and won best director and Audience Award at Warsaw;Lilet Never Happened by Jacco Groen; Peter Greenaway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company; and portmanteau filmZagreb Stories: Love. Last week Film and Music Entertainment completed shooting on Julien Temple’s latest music documentary Children of the Revolution a social, political and musical history of Rio de Janeiro. In addition, they have just completed shooting on Mark Dornford May’s adaptation of Benjamin Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde as part of thye official celebrations for the Benjamin Britten Centenary.

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