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Start of Post Production on three features: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, Donkey and A Congregation of Ghosts

// 21st of May, 2009

Film and Music Entertainment buck UK Co-Production Trends and Announce Start of Post Production on three features: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre, Donkey and A Congregation of Ghosts - with three further co-productions readying to shoot in 2009. Total budgets amount to $17,000,000.

London: Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME), the prolific London indie production house, run by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor announced this week that three feature film projects have all moved into post, all European co-productions which shot last year in Iceland, Croatia/Herzegovina and the UK. Post production on all three is taking place in London at the Molinare facility where Film and Music Entertainment are now based.

With production figures last year down in the UK by over 23%, F&ME’s recently established alliance with post production house Molinare is helping them buck the trend and establish a respectable throughput of production in a shrinking production arena.

First up is Julius Kemp’s Euro 2 million slasher/horror/thriller Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (RWWM) a co-production between Kemp and Ingvar Thordarson’s Icelandic Film Company which is currently editing.

"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 was 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, and a deal could be concluded in Cannes.

Editing concurrently 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."

Finally on the post production slate is Mark Colicott’s directorial debut A Congregation of Ghosts. The film tells the story of the bizarre life of an eccentric vicar who alienated his congregation and preached to cardboard cut-outs is being brought to the big screen. The film, starring Edward Woodward tells the story of legendary the Reverend Frederick Densham, a vicar who made himself so unpopular with his parishioners that they boycotted his church in Warleggan on Bodmin Moor. .
Edward Woodward is best known for his legendary role in the cult film of The Wicker Man in 1973 and his lead role in the 1970s spy series, Callan. The film is a collaboration with Whitechapel films.

Limbering up for a shoot in Wales later this year 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 new draft has just been delivered and the final stages of financing are underway

Produced by MRP-Nordisk's Mikko Tenhunen along with F&ME's Mike Downey and SamTaylor, and written by Tena, Tenhunen and Quest for a Heart director/writer Pekka Lehtosaari, The Debt will shoot in the Wales in late 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.

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.

In addition to this Downey and Taylor, along with their partners at Molinare are in advanced negociations to join Ilkka Matila’s MRP-Nordisk produced Priest of Evil, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Matti Joensuu. Featuring the hardened detective of his previous novels: Dteective Sergeant Timo Harjunpää: the story takes place in the middle of Helsinki where there is an invisible mountain called the Brocken, where lives a man who calls himself an Earth Spirit, conjuring a vision to destroy the world. We might call him a dangerous religious fanatic, dwelling in the bowels of the underground train system. But Matti Joensuu, a former police inspector who has clearly seen plenty of madness and evil, writes crime fiction like a dark fairytale - and Priest of Evil is no exception.

F&ME is screening in Cannes their three completed 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. In addition to the Goran Rusinovic’s Buick Riviera is being sold by Bavaria Film International.

F&ME recenty agreed an exclusive representation deal with newly coined WME. Their TV library is handled by Content film International, and ancillary distribution by Warner/Filmbank.