F&ME adds to co-production slate

'Debt,' 'Iceland,' 'Mission' join lineup

LONDON — U.K. production shingle Film and Music Ent. has added a string of European co-productions to its lengthy slate.

Finnish director Joona Tena’s psychological thriller “The Debt,” his follow-up to local hit “FC Venus,” is limbering up for a spring shoot in Wales on a Euros 2 million ($2.9 million) budget.

Set in a remote lakeside town, pic is a supernatural thriller drawing on Celtic folklore: in the lake lives a water spirit who promises good fortune to anyone willing to sacrifice their child.

Pic, which is being produced by MRP’s Mikko Tenhunen, and F&ME’s Mike Downey and Sam Taylor, was scripted by Tena, Tenhunen and Pekka Lehtosaari.

F&ME makes its first foray into 3-D filmmaking with “Underwater Iceland 3D,” which will be produced by Finland’s Marko Rohr.

Pic is being prepped for a two-year shoot in and around the coastal waters of Iceland, with a $3.15 million budget. F&ME is handling post-production.

Due to start lensing in London early next year is “Mission London,” to be directed by first-time director Dimitar Mitovski from a screenplay by Alek Popov and Steve Attridge. Pic is a satirical comedy written in the style of P.G. Wodehouse.

Produced by Bulgaria’s SIA and Camera, in co-production with F&ME and Hungary’s UJ Film Studio, “Mission London” is an adaptation of Popov’s novel, which has been translated into 10 languages.

Also on the slate is Julius Kemp’s $2.9 million slasher/horror/thriller “Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre,” which is lensing off the Icelandic coast.

Pic is about a group of whale watchers who get picked up by a whaler, after their own ship breaks down.

“As a post-capitalist fable, the film is very apposite for our times: men turn into beasts and kindness is a weakness that can only lead to defeat,” Downey said.

Pic was scripted by Sjon Sigurdsson, who was Oscar nommed for “Dancer in the Dark.”

It is a co-production between Kemp and Ingvar Thordarson’s Icelandic Film Company, F&ME and Finland’s Solar Films. Other financiers include the Icelandic Film Fund and the Nordic Film and TV Fund.

Shooting at the other end of Europe in Croatia and Herzegovina is “Donkey,” Antonio Nuic’s follow-up to 2006 film “All for Free.”

Nuic’s script is an exploration of a dysfunctional Zagreb family who return to their home village for a vacation. Here a series of uncomfortable truths and tragedies await them.

Produced by Boris T. Matic’s Propeler Film and F&ME, in association with Jozo Patljak’s Alka Film, “Donkey” is funded by the Croatian Film Center, the Ministry of Culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina and private equity.

Feature docu “Beneath the Surface,” helmed by London-based Mareike Schomerus, has just started a year-long shoot in Beijing.

Pic is a collaboration between Cologne-based Buesse and Halberschmidt, F&ME and German pubcaster ZDF. Funding also comes from Germany’s Nordmedia and Filmburo Bremen. F&ME is in negotiations with U.K. broadcasters to come on board.

The crusading docu links the killing fields of Sudan with the ruthless pursuit of oil by Asian investors.

F&ME is set to deliver two pics this year, both feature debuts by British helmers: Dominic Murphy’s “White Lightnin’,” which is being sold internationally by Salt, and Nick Stringer’s “The Turtle’s Song.”

Both are chasing festival berths.

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