U.K.'s Feature Film Company Options Best-Selling Soccer Hooligan Memoir

The indie banner, run by British industry vets Mick Southworth and Martin McCabe, plans to bring James Bannon's "Running With the Firm" to the big screen.

LONDON – U.K. industry vets Mick Southworth and Martin McCabe are teaming to reinvigorate former British indie distribution banner Feature Film Company.

The pair plans to re-launch the company as an independent production, finance and consultancy outfit, kick-starting its production slate with a movie based on undercover cop-cum-soccer-hooligan memoir, Running with the Firm.

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FFC is in preproduction on James Bannon’s book about his time as an undercover cop in the 1980s. The author infiltrated some of English football’s most brutal hooligan gangs.

The re-launched company is partnering with U.K. funding partner Omeira -- which is providing a minimum $16.7 million (£10 million) in production investment in the first year -- to initially produce "up to four low-to-medium budget, commercially oriented 'genre' movies a year, for theatrical release in the U.K. and international sales worldwide."

Bannon's book was released in August 2013 and has subsequently been published in territories including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Holland, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The paperback will be released in June in the U.K.

In Running with the Firm, Bannon shares his intense and dangerous journey into the underworld of football hooliganism, where sickening levels of violence prevail over anything else. He gets up close and personal to some of the hardest thugs from football's most notorious gangs. 

Production from a screenplay by Bannon is due to start in the spring in locations in the U.K. and Germany.

Producers are Southworth, McCabe, David Shear and Bannon.

Southworth said: "Going forward, Running with the Firm perfectly encapsulates the commercial ethos of the Feature Film Company as it comes complete with a commercial pedigree way above other normal titles in this genre."

Omeira Studio Partners is a new U.K.-based Enterprise Investment Scheme-qualifying film production company in conjunction with Endeavour Ventures.