Northern Ireland-Set Thriller Adds English Funding

Screen Yorkshire invested in Andrea Arnold's 'Wuthering Heights'

A regional agency hopes its investment in Yann Demange's "71" will boost production spending in the English region of Yorkshire.

LONDON – Yann Demange's Northern Ireland thriller '71 has secured a cash infusion from U.K. regional movie and TV funder Screen Yorkshire as part of its tapestry of funding.

Screen Yorkshire joins existing funders Film4, the British Film Institute, Creative Scotland and Aver Media on the project being produced by Angus Lamont (Donkey Punch) and Robin Gutch (Berberian Sound Studio).

The deal is part of the regional funder's pledge to fund five low-budget but high-profile movie and TV projects totaling $3.2 million (£2 million).

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Written by playwright Gregory Burke (Black Watch), the movie is now being cast after having undergone development with cash from Northern Ireland Screen.

Set in Northern Ireland, ‘71 is billed as an action-chase thriller about a young soldier who has to survive the night on the dangerous streets of Belfast in the chaotic early years of "The Troubles" (the local name for the decades of ethno-political conflict that subsumed Northern Ireland from the late 1960s into the 1990s).   

Protagonist Pictures is selling the title internationally while Studio Canal inked a U.K. distribution deal for the film.

Other projects enjoying Screen Yorkshire largesse from the organization's Yorkshire Content Fund is U.K.-based production banner Ecosse Films for its victory in Europe day-drama Girls' Night Out, directed by Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day) starring Juno Temple (Killer Joe) and Alexandra Roach (Anna Karenina).

Producers are Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae with HanWay Films selling the film internationally. Lionsgate (UK) is distributing in the U.K.

Girls' Night Out tells the story of when Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret join the crowds to celebrate VE Day and how they are changed by the celebrations in the British capital.

Screen Yorkshire is also backing The Great Train Robbery, a pair of feature-length dramas for BBC1 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the famous British crime in August. One tells the story from the robbers point of view, the other from the police investigating the crime.

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Produced by World Productions, the two dramas are directed by Julian Jarrold (Appropriate Adult) and James Strong (United), and written by Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch).

Reuniting the team behind United, which starred David Tennant, Dougray Scott, Jack O'Connell and Sam Claflin, The Great Train Robbery is produced by Julia Stannard (The Awakening) with executive producer Simon Heath (Line of Duty, The Fear).

Screen Yorkshire chief executive Sally Joynson said: "These investments are the culmination of a fantastic first year for the Yorkshire Content Fund, which is attracting the very best in UK producers and talent to the region."

It is hoped the small investments from Screen Yorkshire will mean that upwards of $32 million (£20 million) in production spend occurs in the English region.

Screen Yorkshire’s previous investment resume boasts cash injections for Paddy Considine’s British Independent Film Awards’ winner Tyrannosaur, Ben Wheatley’s Kill List and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights.