U.K. Director Asif Kapadia to Helm 'Ali and Nino' From PeaPie Films

Nyay Bhushan

The film adaptation of the classic novel is being written for the screen by Oscar winner Christopher Hampton.

CANNES – U.K. director Asif Kapadia has signed on to direct Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of the classic novel Ali and Nino.

The film will be produced by PeaPie founder Kris Thykier, with Leyla Aliyeva serving as executive producer. IM Global will handle worldwide sales. The project is scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2014.

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An epic love story set in Azerbajan, Ali and Nino was first published in German in 1937 by an author writing under the pseudonym Kurban Said. The identity of the author has long been a subject of controversy. The novel is set against the historical backdrop of the First World War on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution and the beginnings of the Soviet Union. It tells the love story of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, the male descendant of a royal Muslim family and Nino Kipiani, a beautiful, Christian, Georgian princess.

“We are delighted to have Asif Kapadia on board to direct this epic story which we hope will resonate with audiences across the world,” said Thykier. “I’m looking forward to seeing the story unfold under Asif’s expert direction.”

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Kapadia is the director of Senna (2010), which chronicles the life of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna and is the highest grossing U.K. documentary of all time. Kapadia won a BAFTA award for Senna, as well as for his first feature, The Warrior (2003).

“Ali and Nino is such a poignant and timeless novel and I am thrilled to be collaborating with such a talented screenwriter as Christopher Hampton to bring it to life,” said Kapadia.