Film4 Productions

Film4-backed film deals at Cannes 2016

23 May, 2016 Productions Posted in: Cannes, Uncategorized

In addition to Andrea Arnold’s American Honey taking home the Jury Prize, Film4 are thrilled to report that a number of deals were announced for Film4-backed films in Cannes…

 

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

A24 bought US rights, and Haut et Court snapped up French rights, to the next film from Yorgos Lanthimos. It was also announced that the film will reunite Colin Farrell with the director of The Lobster, which won the 2015 Cannes Jury Prize. Farrell will play Steven, a charismatic surgeon whose ideal life starts to fall apart, after a teenage boy who is trying to integrate him into his broken family starts to behave increasingly sinisterly. Inspired by a Euripides tragedy, the film was developed by Film4 in collaboration with Element Pictures, and is co-financed by Film4 and New Sparta under a partnership brokered by HanWay Films. The film is expected to begin shooting in August.

LEAN ON PETE

A24 picked up North American rights to British director Andrew Haigh’s (45 Years) next film ahead of its shoot in the US this summer. Other deals secured by Le Bureau Sales and Celluloid Dreams on the film included the UK (Curzon Artificial Eye), France (Ad Vitam), Benelux (Lumière), Greece (Seven Films), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Italy (Teodora), South Korea (Beetwin) and China (DD Dream). Film4 supported the development of the film with The Bureau, and are backing the film alongside The Bureau and the BFI. Haigh will direct his own adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s acclaimed novel about 15-year-old teenager Charley, as he embarks on a perilous journey in search of his long lost aunt and a possible home, his only companion the stolen racehorse Lean on Pete.

AMERICAN HONEY

Focus Features acquired the majority of key international territories – including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain, UK, Italy and Scandinavia – to Andrea Arnold’s widely praised Competition entry. Sales agent Protagonist Pictures had already pre-sold to France (Diaphana) and A24 (US) ahead of the festival. The film is a Parts & Labor / Pulse Films Production in association with ManDown, which Film4 co-developed and co-financed alongside Maven Pictures and the BFI.

Andrea Arnold’s Film4-backed American Honey wins Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival

23 May, 2016 Productions Posted in: Cannes

Film4-backed American Honey was among the prizes at the Cannes Film Festival last night, taking home the Jury Prize for British director Andrea Arnold, and earning a Commendation from the Ecumenical Jury.

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It’s the third time Cannes-favourite Arnold has won the Jury Prize, following wins in 2006 for Red Road and 2009 for Fish Tank. She also served on the Jury for the Main Competition in 2012, and chaired the International Critics’ Week Jury in 2014.

Film4’s Head of Creative Rose Garnett commented: “We are so thrilled that Andrea Arnold’s American Honey was selected In Competition at Cannes, and that the Festival’s Jury has seen fit to recognise the film with the Jury Prize. American Honey is a passionate and brilliant odyssey that takes us into the hearts and minds of the young and disenfranchised in modern America. Film4 is proud to have supported the project from its inception. Andrea is one of the great directors working today – and American Honey is a landmark film that places British talent at the centre of the world cinema stage.”

American Honey tells the story of Star (Sasha Lane), a teenage girl from a troubled home, who runs away with a travelling sales crew that drives across the American mid-west selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of who is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard partying, law-bending and young love.

Production wraps on Toby MacDonald’s coming-of-age comedy Old Boys

05 May, 2016 Productions Posted in:

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Inspired by the classic Cyrano de Bergerac story, Old Boys marks the feature debut for MacDonald and producer Luke Morris, the team behind BAFTA-nominated short films, Je t’aime John Wayne and Heavy Metal Drummer and is written by Luke Ponte (Je t’aime John Wayne) and Freddy Syborn (Bad Education).

Film4 and the BFI co-developed and co-financed the film. Creative England and Film Väst, in partnership with Erik Hemmendorff at Plattform Produktion additionally contributed towards production finance. International sales are being handled by WestEnd Films.

Alex Lawther, critically acclaimed for his role as the young Alan Turing in the multi-award winning The Imitation Game, leads an impressive roster of talented young actors, including César and Lumière-nominated French actress, Pauline Étienne (The Nun, Eden), rising star Jonah Hauer-King, currently starring opposite Bel Powley in Ashes in the Snow, Denis Ménochet (Inglourious Basterds, The Program) and Joshua McGuire (Mr. Turner, About Time).

In this vibrant school-set re-working of Cyrano, an awkward but imaginative pupil (Alex Lawther) helps the handsome but spectacularly dim school-hero (Jonah Hauer-King) pursue the fiery daughter (Pauline Étienne) of a visiting French teacher (Denis Ménochet).

“We’ve re-worked the Cyrano story for the Harry Potter generation and what translates is a fresh, offbeat comedy, full of heart. We are passionate about bringing it to the big screen through Toby’s vision and our talented cast and crew.” commented Luke Morris, Producer

“Film4 are proud to be a part of this very funny and touching film. We’re thrilled to have taken it into production with such an exciting cast and to support Toby’s unique, distinctive vision,” commented Sam Lavender, Executive Producer on behalf of Film4.

Natascha Wharton, Senior Production and Development Executive, BFI commented: “Toby has established himself as a stand-out talent through his BAFTA nominated shorts and we are delighted to be supporting him on his first feature, an idiosyncratic teen comedy with a brilliant young cast.”

Paddy Considine’s Journeyman is now in post production

04 May, 2016 Productions Posted in: Cannes, Directors

Paddy Considine’s second feature Journeyman wrapped in mid April after a six-week shoot in Sheffield, Leicester, Doncaster and the surrounding areas. Post production is now underway, and Cornerstone Films will screen a first-look promo at Cannes in May…

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Paddy Considine not only wrote and directed the film but also stars alongside Jodie Whittaker (One Day), Anthony Welsh (My Brother The Devil), Tony Pitts (War Horse) and Paul Popplewell (’71). Many of the supporting cast make their acting debuts and take on roles that closely mirror their actual professions with appearances from boxers, boxing commentators, nurses and an occupational therapist. Journeyman was developed and shot in close collaboration with the boxing community and medical profession.

Cornerstone Films is handling the international sales and distribution and will screen the first-look promo from Journeyman in Cannes.

The film will be released in 2017 and is financed by Film4, the BFI, Screen Yorkshire, and the Wellcome Trust with STUDIOCANAL on board to handle the UK release.

Producer Diarmid Scrimshaw said of the shoot, “Paddy took to simultaneously writing, directing and acting like it was meant to be. He delivered a beautiful performance whilst working brilliantly with the other actors and crew. We are making another very special film here and it is clear that Paddy has a world class skill and capacity that he’s capable of exercising on multiple fronts at once.”

Journeyman tells the story of middleweight boxing champion Matty Burton. As he approaches the end of his career he knows that he must make his money and get out of the game, to secure a home and future with his wife and baby daughter. After a titanic fight with the brash and controversial Andre Bryte, Matty collapses on his living room floor, a delayed reaction to a devastating punch. Awaking from the coma, the real fight begins. Suffering from memory loss and with his personality altered, Matty must begin to piece his life back together as his world disintegrates.

Journeyman is a powerful and beautiful story about loss and, ultimately, triumph. It’s about our identity, and how in life we sometimes have to dig deep into our soul to discover who we really are.

Daniel Battsek takes over as Director of Film4

08 Apr, 2016 Productions Posted in: Film4 staff, News

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham today announced that Daniel Battsek will join the corporation as Director of Film4, following the news that David Kosse is to step down to join STX Entertainment.

Battsek will join Film4 in July, relocating to the UK from New York after fulfilling his contract as President of Cohen Media Group – where he has overseen the acquisition and release of projects including back-to-back Oscar® nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4.   Prior to this role Daniel was President of National Geographic Films, and before that President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films.

David Kosse will continue working for Film4 during the transition period on a consultancy basis until October.

Battsek will inherit the increased spend announced by David Abraham and David Kosse in February 2016 of £25 million for the year, with the ambition of maintaining similar increased levels of Film4 funding in future years.

Under Battsek’s leadership, Film4 will continue to seek out new partnerships like those announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films in February, which allow the company to take a greater stake in certain projects, with a view to seeing more of the returns flowing back to Film4 for investment in the company’s future slate.

Battsek also inherits a development slate which includes new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haigh, Steve McQueen, Martin McDonagh, Clio Barnard, Bart Layton, Garth Davis and Mike Leigh, as well as completed or near completed films from Andrea Arnold, Ben Wheatley, Ang Lee, Paddy Considine, Susanna White, John Cameron Mitchell, acclaimed theatre director Benedict Andrews, newcomers Toby Macdonald and Michael Pearce, and Danny Boyle.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham commented: “Daniel Battsek’s passion for independent, filmmaker driven cinema, and experience in film production, development and distribution at the highest level in both the US and UK markets, are second to none. He’s a perfect fit for the Film4 brand. We’re thrilled to bring this talented British executive back to the UK.

“As demonstrated by our record breaking year at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs, Daniel will inherit a Film4 business in fine creative and commercial health from David Kosse.  We’re sad he couldn’t have been with us longer but he’s had an incredible impact in the time he has led the division.  Both the exciting upcoming slate and the increased funding for original film we announced earlier this year are testament to the successful strategy implemented by David.   I’m delighted that he will be working alongside Daniel on a smooth transition over the summer and ensuring that it is business as usual for Film4 over this period.”

Daniel Battsek added: “I am hugely honoured to have been offered this opportunity. My career began with so many of Film4′s early productions and I have retained strong ties with British filmmakers throughout my time in the US. Joining Film4 feels almost like coming full circle. I look forward to returning to the UK and putting the experience I’ve gained on both sides of the Atlantic to good use.”

David Kosse said: “Film4 is a unique organisation and a very special brand and it was a difficult decision to leave, but joining STX at this stage is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.  Over almost two years, I’m incredibly proud to have put in place a new strategy for Film4 which has boosted funding for the film industry to a record level and to have introduced an exciting new slate of high quality productions and developments with a diverse group of filmmakers.  David Abraham and the Channel 4 leadership team have been fantastic partners since day one and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months.”

Having worked at the cutting edge of the independent sector on three continents, Battsek brings 30 years’ production, development and distribution experience to Film4. For the last three years Battsek has served as President of New York based Cohen Media Group, where he has overseen the acquisition and release of arthouse/crossover releases including back-to-back Oscar nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4. Prior to that he spent 2½ years at National Geographic Films, where as President he acquired projects for development and production including the  Oscar nominated documentary Restrepo, as well as National Geographic branded large screen and Imax 3D projects. Battsek relocated from the UK to New York in 2005, where he served for five years as President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films. Projects he greenlit and/or acquired there included Oscar winners The Queen, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood and Oscar nominees The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Happy-Go-Lucky.

From 1991 to 2005, Battsek held the position of EVP and Managing Director, UK Distribution and European Production & Acquisitions at Buena Vista International, UK, where he oversaw all aspects of UK distribution for 18-25 releases per annum from Walt Disney Studios and their partners including Pixar and Miramax Films. At BVI, Battsek also set up a Comedy Production Label in 2001 which financed and produced three films, including Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots. Prior to that, Battsek spent six years as Managing Director of Palace Pictures, where he was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of quality independent titles from around the world for release in the UK, and he also spent three years as a Sales & Marketing Executive for Hoyts Entertainment in Australia, where he first cut his teeth in distribution.

Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division, which develops and co-finances films and has an established track record for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking.  Film4 has developed and/or co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years – Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, Yann Demange’s 71, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.