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The UK’s Film and Music Entertainment and Albania’s Kkoci Productions pact to produce Elvis Walks Home from a screenplay by Welsh author Jonathan Preece

// 26th of May, 2016

Production begins shooting August 15th. US-based actor Nick Shreli to play the title Role.

Prolific UK production outfit, Film and Music Entertainment led by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor have joined forces with Albania’s Kkoci Productions and Zagreb’s Propeler Films on Elvis Walks Home, based on an original screenplay by Welsh author Jonathan Preece and directed by Fatmir Koci.
 
This is the second collaboration of Preece, Koci and Mike Downey of Film and Music Entertainment , the first being the well-received Amsterdam Express which was the first ever UK-Albania co-production. Shooting is due to [start] in Albania and Bosnia on 15 August.
 
The film tells the story of Mickey an Albanian who used to live in London and is a part time Elvis Presley impersonator. He gets a job entertaining British peacekeeping troops in the 1999 Balkans wars. When backstage problems ensue Mickey (dressed as Elvis Presley) flees - straight into the war zone. He meets and is captured by a group of gypsy refugees caught up in the merciless war. To save his skin he lies and tells them he is a United Nations doctor. The kids put a gun to his head and tell Mickey to take them to the UN refugee camp or they’ll shoot him. When they reach the camp, it is marooned between the warring factions. To stop the fighting Mickey puts on his guitar and sings as Elvis as he walks onto the battlefield. It works: but Mickey is now himself, not Elvis. He buries the white jumpsuit and begins to walk home…
 
The original screenplay 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. The film will also benefit from the UK Tax credit as well as with key private equity funding from the UK and Albania.
 
Mickey is to be played by US-based actor Nick Shreli, who recently wrote and produced the feature film festival success Cash Only.  Shreli was born in Detroit, MI. The son of Albanian immigrants who came to the area for work in the booming auto industry. Nick started out in the business at  2nd City Theater and Detroit Ensemble Theater. He  worked on smaller projects in Detroit's underground Indy scene as well as cutting his theatrical teeth on 8 Mile, which shot in Detroit.
 
Other roles will be taken by Ndricim Xhepa, Amos Zaharia , Dritan Kastrati, Romir Zalla, Ergys Halili,  Maradona Kodra.
 
Koci’s latest film Pit Stop Mafia, has just opened in Tirana, and his previous films include Amsterdam Express, The Time of The Comet and Tirana Year Zero.  Downey and Koci have been working together for a number of years having met in the nineties when Koci attended the Imaginary Academy in Croatia, where Downey gave production masterclasses.
 
Film and Music Entertainment have brought 12 active productions to Cannes this year and on the eve of the festival the company closed a sales deal with WIDE Management for DeDe, Mariam (Dinola) Khatchvani’s debut feature, which wrapped in late January 2016.
 
Antonio Saura’s Latido have also just come on board to handle international sales for Rajko Grlic’s eagerly awaited  The Constitution, which is produced by Zagreb’s Inter Film and co-produced by Rudolph Biermann of Prague’s In-Film and Sever + Sever of Slovenia.
 
The key Cannes film[s] for which Downey and Taylor are currently looking to complete finance on are How To Sell a War by Rudolph Herzog.  Written by up and coming Welsh screenwriter/playwright, Tim Price, the film is a UK/Poland/Georgia co-production  with 20 Steps Productions (Georgia). Kinomedia (Poland).   Also in the latter stages of financing are  The Disciple directed by Koza helmer Ivan Ostrochovsky and written by Rebecca Lenckiewicz and Ostrochovsky, and Konstantin Bojanov’s  My Eyes Are Yours (working title) which is a partnership with Urban Distribution and India’s Overdose.
Currently shooting for the company are Volker Schloendorff’s Return to Montauk - Produced by Regina Ziegler (Ziegler Film) and Volker Schlöndorff in co-production with Francis Boesplug (Pyramid productions/France), Gaumont (France), Conor Barry (Savage Productions/Ireland), and in association with Mike Downey and Sam Taylor at F.& M.E. Film & Music Entertainment (GB).
 
Also in the final days of shoot is Helsinki Film’s Tom of Finland by Dome Karukoski.  Protagonist Pictures has come on board to handle worldwide sales on Dome Karukoski’s biopic about the life of the iconic Finnish artist and human rights activist. Aleksi Bardy wrote the screenplay for the film which tells the life story of Touko Laaksonen, a Finnish man who would become known around the world by his nom de guerre "Tom Of Finland".
 
Continuing their fruitful relationship with Poland, F&ME have come on board  Bodo Kox’s award winning screenplay The Man With The Magic Box produced by Iza Igel at Alter Ego productions.  The company is also in an advanced stage of negotiation with Polish partners to join Andrzej Jakimowski’s new production Once Upon a Time as well as an upcoming collaboration with producers Radoslaw Drabik and Michal Kachinski whose rom-com Planet Single has just been trailblazing the Polish box office since Valentine’s day.
 
Currently in post-production for the company in Berlin is Light Thereafter by AVE writer director Konstantin Bojanov.  The film, a road movie about a young artist’s journey to meet his hero, stars 71’s  Barry Keoghan, Kim (Pusher) Bodnia and Thure Lindhardt (Angels and Demons).  A co-production between UK (F&ME), Bulgaria (Multfilm), Belgium (Leftfield) the film is being sold internationally by Antonio Saura’s Latido Film Sales. The film will be completed in time for Toronto and Venice.
 
Also just at the end of its  post-production phases and headed to delivery in the new year are Rade Serbedzija and Danilo Serbedzija’s co-directing effort, The Liberation of Skopje (Osloboduvanje na Skopje) made in partnership with Igor Nola in Zagreb, Robert Naskov, Medo Tozija and Vladimir Anastasov in Skopje, Arto Halonen in Finland and F&ME in the UK.