New Cinema invests in 'Magdalene,' 'Anita & Me'

CANNES — The New Cinema Fund of the U.K.’s Film Council has announced investments in Peter Mullan’s “Magdalene” and Metin Huseyin’s “Anita & Me.”

Meanwhile, the council’s Premiere Fund is backing “Water Warriors,” a CGI animated sci-fi comedy.

The New Cinema Fund, run by Paul Trijbits with a remit to back experimental filmmaking and new talent, is investing $850,000 in “Magdalene.”

Set in Ireland during the 1960s, it’s the story of four girls imprisoned in a convent-run institution for fallen women, where they work 12 hours a day in the laundry to wash away their sins.

The project, written and directed by Mullan (“Orphans”), stars Vanessa Redgrave and Eileen Walsh (“When Brendan Met Trudy”). It’s produced by Frances Higson and exec produced by Ed Guiney.

“Magdalene” is being co-financed by Scottish Screen and Dumfries & Galloway, with pre-sales to Momentum Pictures in the U.K. and Lucky Red in Italy. Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

Shooting on the $3.8 million pic starts June 26 in Scotland.

“Anita & Me” is adapted by Meera Syal (“Bhaji on the Beach”) from her own best-selling comic novel. It’s a bittersweet story of a young girl growing up in the English Midlands during the 1970s.

The Premiere Fund, headed by Robert Jones, is charged with investing in commercial projects. It is putting $710,000 into “Water Warriors,” produced by Silver Fox Films, about a group of very small aliens who decide to invade Earth but end up landing in a pond.

Voices include Patrick Stewart, Stephen Fry, Antoine de Caunes and Miriam Margolyes. Director is Graham Ralph and exec producers are Simon Channing-Williams, John Coates and Mick Southworth.

(David Rooney contributed to this report.)

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