Terence Davies' 'Sunset Song' Begins Scottish Shoot

Sunset Song Still - H 2014
Ricardo Vaz Palma/Iris Productions

Sunset Song Still - H 2014

The movie adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 classic novel stars Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan and Kevin Guthrie.

Terence Davies' movie version of Scottish author Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 classic novel Sunset Song has begun its location shoot in Scotland.

Billed as an intimate epic, Davies's much-anticipated film stars Agyness Deyn (Pusher), Peter Mullan (War Horse) and Kevin Guthrie (Sunshine on Leith). The novel is widely regarded as one of the most important works in Scottish literature. Sunset Song was adapted for television in 1971 by BBC Scotland but has never been made into a film.

The story is set in the early 20th century in northeast Scotland during a time of great social upheaval and unrest. Deyn plays a young woman coming of age as her family is beset by tragedy. The distant rumblings of World War I bring some of the worst aspects of the modern world to this remote rural community.

Sol Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter's Liverpool-based production banner Hurricane Films, IRIS Productions and SellOutPictures are mounting the project for the big screen.

Fortissimo Films is handling the international distribution rights for the film and will be shopping it to buyers in Cannes next month. Sunset Song is set to deliver later this year, for distribution in 2015.

The film shoot began in New Zealand to capture the March harvest season, followed by interior work at Filmland in Luxembourg.

The U.K.-Luxembourg co-production is financed by Luxembourg Film Fund, the British Film Institute's film fund, Creative Scotland, BBC Scotland and private equity.

The film is being produced by Boulter and Papadopoulos, together with Nicolas Steil from IRIS Productions and Bob Last of SellOutPictures. Lizzie Francke is the BFI Film Fund executive on the project.

Papadopoulos said: "With Terence’s distinctive style, and themes that are as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century, we’re confident Sunset Song will resonate with audiences the world over."

Sunset Song will be Davies' first feature since 2011's The Deep Blue Sea, another period drama, which featured Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston. The veteran director's other work includes The House of Mirth (2000) starring Gillian Anderson and the acclaimed documentary Of Time and the City (2008).

Bob Last of SellOutPictures said, “After working with Terence on House of Mirth, we were looking for another ambitious project to do, and Sunset Song was a story that Terence not only loved but that would allow him to take his eye, vision and poetry out into the landscape, a first for him. Our ambition for the film and the opportunity to capture the grandeur of the Scottish landscape drove the use of 65mm film, a first for Scotland and an exciting addition to Terence's pallette.”

BFI Film Fund chief Ben Roberts described Davies as "one of our finest filmmakers, whose visually stunning and emotionally penetrating films have opened the eyes, hearts and minds of audiences around the world."

Added Roberts: "We are excited beyond belief by how he is working with the landscape and bringing his long-cherished Sunset Song to the big screen, supporting our fifth film with Scottish roots after Under the Skin, Sunshine on Leith, The Angels’ Share and For Those in Peril."

The project got a boost last year after Hurricane Films got Working Title co-chairman Tim Bevan on board as part of the 2013 mentor set-up administered by independent charity organization Nesta (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts).

Bevan, one of the U.K.'s biggest producer names, whose credits include Les Miserables, Atonement and Love, Actually, provided support in areas of project development and production for Hurricane Films through the mentoring process, focusing on the banner's next two features, Sunset Song and A Quiet Passion.