Winterbottom bows latest

Helmer, producer Eaton financed experimental 'Songs'

LONDON — Keeping up his prolific pace, Michael Winterbottom will premiere yet another new movie, “Nine Songs,” in the market at this month’s Cannes Film Festival.

This is the director, remember, who delivered two films in 2003 — “In the World,” which won top prize at Berlin in February, and “Code 46,” which unspooled in the Venice competition in September — and who has already started shooting his second film of 2004, the soccer drama “Goal!”

“Nine Songs,” formerly titled “Ice,” was shot on a digital shoestring without a script and with virtually no publicity.

It’s the improvised story of an intense affair, with real sex scenes filmed in explicit detail, interspersed with footage of the rock concerts attended by the lovers at London’s Brixton Academy. It features perfs by bands such as Primal Scream, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Franz Ferdinand.

The whole relationship is recollected by the boy from the icy tranquility of the South Pole, where he has been posted as a member of the British Antarctic Survey. Those scenes were shot in Norway.

Pic stars Kieran O’Brien (whose credits include Winterbottom’s “24 Hour Party People” and “Goal!”) and rookie American actress Margo Stilley.

Winterbottom and producer Andrew Eaton financed the experimental project (at a cash cost of around $160,000 plus deferrals) through their own company, Revolution Films, with a contribution of $30,000 from their overall deal with United Artists.

Tartan Films has picked up rights in the U.K. and North America, where Tartan is poised to launch a new distribution company. Pic’s hardcore content is sure to test the ratings boards in both countries.

France’s Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

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