First up is $15 million 'Jesus Christ Airlines'
LONDON — U.K. helmer Dominic Murphy, whose debut pic “White Lightnin’ ” world preems at Sundance, is partnering with London shingle Film & Music Entertainment on a slate of new projects.Murphy and F&ME principals Sam Taylor and Mike Downey are prepping “Jesus Christ Airlines,” which will be produced by F&ME’s newly revived Mass Prods. label. Kit Peel is scripting the pic, about a family in war-torn Biafra during its failed, three-year attempt to succeed from Nigeria, when the daredevil pilots of Joint Church Aid flew in arms and food to keep the breakaway state alive. Pic is budgeted at $15 million. Project is set to be followed by a series of Mass Prods. pics, to be directed by Murphy and produced by Taylor and Downey, including an adaptation of Iain M. Banks’ novel “The State of the Art” and a possible hook up with another U.K. author, Tibor Fischer. The previous incarnation of Mass Prods. produced Academy Award nominee and Venice Golden Lion winner “Before the Rain,” and Benjamin Ross’ “The Young Poisoner’s Handbook,” which also screened at Sundance. F&ME’s “White Lightnin’,” which screens in Sundance’s Park City at Midnight section, tells the story of charismatic mountain dancer Jesco White and his uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability in rural West Virginia. The pic toplines Carrie Fisher, Ed Hogg and Muse Watson. World sales on the pic, which was made with coin from the U.K. Film Council’s New Cinema Fund and Salt, are being handled by Salt. Momentum Films is releasing the pic in the U.K.