‘Barbie’ Doc, Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche Film Get U.K. Funding

TV documentary “Barbie Uncovered” and an adaptation of Homer’s “The Odyssey” starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche are among the latest projects awarded by the U.K. Global Screen Fund.

On “Barbie Uncovered,” an unofficial majority U.K. co-production with New Zealand, the U.K. producers are Ross Wilson from RW Productions and Alan Clements from Two Media Rivers who will co-produce with New Zealand’s Daniel Story and Cass Avery from Augusto. It will be directed by Eddie Hutton-Mills and focuses on the unknown history of the global icon Barbie and the dramatic and dark story behind the creation of the world’s most famous doll.

On “The Odyssey” adaptation “The Return,” a minority U.K. co-production with Italy, Greece and France made under the European Convention, the U.K. producers are James Clayton and Uberto Pasolini from Red Wave Films who will co‐produce with Italy’s Picomedia (Roberto Sessa), Greece’s Heretic (Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Giorgos Karnavas) and France’s Kabo Films (Stephane Moatti) and Marvelous Productions (Romain Le Grand, Marco Pacchioni and Vivien Aslanian). The film directed by Pasolini is from a script by John Collee, Edward Bond and Pasolini and will star Fiennes, Binoche, Charlie Plummer, Marwan Kenzari and Claudio Santamaria. Hanway Films are handling international sales.

“Beast,” a minority U.K. co-production with Denmark and Sweden is made under the European Convention. The U.K. producer is Hopscotch Films (John Archer) who will co-produce with Danish Bullitt Film (Vibeke Vogel) and Swedish Plattform Produktion (Alex Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck). The feature documentary is directed by Max Kestner and focuses on one of Denmark’s most turbulent scandals – the killing of a healthy giraffe in a zoo – to inform a global discussion about science, climate, animal welfare and humanity’s responsibility.

“Chennai Story,” a minority U.K. co-production with India is made under the official bilateral U.K.-India treaty. The U.K. producers are Welsh ie ie Productions and Ripple World (U.K.) who will co-produce with Guru Films (Sunitha Tati). The film, which will be directed by BAFTA winner Philip John (“Downton Abbey”) is adapted by John and “Funny Boy” star Nimmi Harasgama from Timeri N. Murari’s bestselling novel “The Arrangements of Love” and is a romantic comedy about love, self-expression and acceptance, set between modern-day Britain and India.

“In the Black,” a U.K.-Canada co-production is made under the official bilateral U.K.-Canada treaty. U.K. producers Daniel Florêncio and Nefeli Zygopoulou from I Made It Films are co-producing with the Canadian CaribbeanTales Media Group, led by Nicole Brooks. The film is also backed in the U.K. by LIPSYNC Productions and in Canada by Telefilm, CBC and the Canada Media Fund. Directed by Frances Anne Solomon, it is an adaptation of the memoir “In The Black: My Life” by Jamaican businessman Denham B. Jolly that chronicles his twelve-year battle to launch Canada’s first Black music radio station.

“Justice for Magdalenes” (working title) is an unofficial minority U.K. co-production with Ireland. The U.K. producer is Farah Abushwesha of Rocliffe who will co-produce with Rachel Lysaght of Ireland’s Underground Films. The feature documentary is directed by Aoife Kelleher and tells the story of an group of women, supported by the activist organization Justice for Magdalenes, whose battle to hold the Irish government accountable for the abuses of the Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Home institutions and forced family separation, takes them all the way to the United Nations.

“Mojo Swoptops” is an unofficial majority U.K. co-production with Belgium. The U.K. producer is Blue Zoo Animation Studio who will co-produce with Belgian Hotel Hungaria. The 52′ x 11 3D animation will be directed by Dominic Minns and the story follows Mojo, a little truck and her best friend Bo, as they help out those most in need.

“Our Island” is a minority U.K. co-production with France, Belgium and Finland made under the European Convention. The U.K. producer is Good Chaos (Mike Goodridge) who will co-produce with French Haut et Court (Carole Scotta), Belgian Versus Production (Jacques-Henri Bronckart) and Finnish Silmu Films (Jenni Jauri). The film, directed by French Vladimir de Fontenay, follows a haunted young Scottish man remembering his younger days on a wild and secluded Island off the coast of Finland with his troubled father.

“Sisters,” a minority U.K. co-production with Ireland, Germany and Greece is made under the European Convention. The U.K. producer is Rachel Dargavel from Crybaby Films who is co‐producing with Irish Sackville Film and Television Productions (Ed Guiney and Lara Hickey), German production arm of The Match Factory (Michael Weber) and Greek Akran Creative Company (Romanna Lobach). The debut feature by French director and actor Ariane Labed follows two sisters born ten months apart and an encounter which forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.

Financed through the U.K. government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the awards allocate over £1.2 million ($1.5 million) through the fund’s international co-production strand. To date the strand has now awarded over £5 million to 33 co-productions.

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