F&ME puts Europe first
by Annika Pham
One of the key London-based production companies involved in European co-productions Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME) has a wide variety of European projects at different stages of pre-production, production and post-production.
Spanish director Miguel Alcantud will start filming at the end of June in Puglia (Southern Italy) his first feature film: Anastezsi, a majority Italian co-production produced by Rosanna Seregni’s Sintra Film with the UK (F&ME) and Spain (Mate Production). The supernatural drama stars Stefano Scandaletti, Derek Jacobi and Angela Molina.
F&ME’s next co-productions with Spain to start filming this autumn are Guillermo Groizard’s thriller Mirror Maze produced by Rioja Audiovisual in Spain, and Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo’s Angosto produced by Alta Films Producción (Spain) with Fado Filmes (Portugal)
But Southern Europe is in fact the part of the world where F&ME is the least active. Indeed, the Northern and Eastern part of Europe is where Mike Downey, Managing Director of F&ME has the most ties. Regular Scandinavian co-production partners are Fridrik Thor Fridriksson’s The Icelandic Film Corporation with whom Downey is finishing Eleven Men Out, a social satire directed by Robert Douglas also co-produced by Solar Films in Finland; Claes Olsson’s Kinoproduction in Finland, currently preparing with F&ME and Filmlance in Sweden directed by Raimo O Niemi, and MRP Matila Röhr in Finland producing with Downey the football film FC Venus.
In Eastern Europe, F&ME is involved in Rajko Grlic’s The Border Post a co-production between Propeler Film (Croatia), Refresh Productions (Bosnia & Herzebovina), Vertigo (Slovenia), Sektor Film (Macedonia), YODI Movie Craftsman (Serbia & Montenegro), and Novotny & Novotny (Austria).
Polish filmmaker Robert Glinski has just completed Call Of The Road based on the novel by Günter Grass and is getting ready to shoot Benek for Apple Film (Poland), Epo Film (Austria) and F&ME.
On the Austrian front, Helmut Grasser ‘s Allegro Film has just delivered the epic film The Headsman which screened at the last Cannes Film Festival, and is preparing another project with F&ME: Racer based on a script by Harald Sicheritz.
According to Mike Downey, the goal for F&ME is to create as big a talent pool as possible by cooperating with different partners in Europe, creating reciprocal financing possibilities. «For example we have acted as minority co-producer on many Icelandic projects, and now are expecting them to reciprocate». That was the case with F&ME’s majority co-production Guy X by Saul Metzstein which premiered in Cannes this year. The film starring Jason Biggs and Natasha McElhone was co-produced in the UK with The Spice factory and in Canada with Wizzfilms, and the Icelandic ‘Producer on the move 2005’ Anna Maria Karlsdottir acted as minority co-producer.
Guy X executive produced –among others-by the director Stephen Daldry (The Hours) who sits on F&ME’s advisory board, was a key production for Downey in the sense that it represented a step towards his company’s next stage of expansion: the making of more mainstream productions in English language. «Europe will remain where we will continue to make movies first», said Downey, but we also plan to make more films with North American partners».
Coming up soon is Fake!, a $25m film about the true life and crimes of Elmyr de Hory, one of the greatest art forger who ever lived. The film written by Michael Kalesniko based on the biography by Clifford Irving, will be directed by Michael Kalesniko (Private Parts) and a US star is being cast for the lead. «It will be a mainstream US vernacular project informed by European sensibilities», concludes Downey.