Altitude Acquires HALLELUJAH! Starring Oscar®-Nominee Ralph Fiennes For World Sales And UK & Ireland Distribution
LORTON ENTERTAINMENT TO CO-FINANCE AND CO-DISTRIBUTE
Altitude Film Entertainment has acquired international sales rights to HALLELUJAH! set to star Ralph Fiennes, the multi-award winning and Oscar® nominated actor for his performance in Schindler’s List, The English Patient and including Hail, Caesar, Spectre, A Bigger Splash, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Schindler’s List. The project will be introduced to buyers in Cannes. The film, a Sprout Pictures and Turbine Studios Production, has been developed with BBC Films and the BFI awarding funds from the National Lottery. Altitude Film Distribution will also distribute the film in the UK and Ireland. Lorton Entertainment will co-finance the film and co-distribute with Altitude in the UK and Ireland.
HALLELUJAH! will be directed by Emmy award-winning director Chris Addison of the primetime US show Veep, the UK’s forerunner political satirical show The Thick of It and currently in production on feature film The Hustle starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. The screenplay is by Jon Croker, writer of The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death and whose writing and story credits also include Bart Layton’s American Animals and Nicholas Adams, writer of John Irvin’s The Boys and Girls From Country Clare.
The producers are Andrew Eaton and Gina Carter. Andrew is a Primetime Emmy Award nominee as one of the producers of the hit Netflix series The Crown, a BAFTA award winner for In This World and BAFTA-nominated for Rush directed by Ron Howard and co-starring Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth, and A Cock and Bull Story starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Keeley Hawes. One of the UK’s most prolific independent producers, Eaton set up Revolution Films with filmmaker Michael Winterbottom working together on 20 films together including the Angelina Jolie starrer A Mighty Heart and The Killer Inside Me with Casey Affleck. Andrew’s film credits also include this year’s BAFTA-nominated Jawbone, the successful Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon comical travelogue The Trip and The Trip to Italy, and the acclaimed Red Riding trilogy. Andrew has recently launched a new production company, Turbine Studios, partnering with Tracey Scoffield, David Tanner and Justin Thompson.
Gina Carter has recently produced Idris Elba’s feature directorial debut Yardie which premiered in competition at Sundance this year. She also exec produced Tom Edmunds’ Dead in a Week (or Your Money Back) starring Christopher Eccleston, Aneurin Barnard and Tom Wilkinson. Gina and Andrew are long-term collaborators working together at Revolution Films where she co-produced the Berlin Golden Bear nominated I Want You, Wonderland with Gina McKee and Ian Hart, With Or Without You with Christopher Eccleston and 24 Hour Party People with Steve Coogan and Paddy Considine. She also produced Heartlands starring Michael Sheen, Bright Young Things with Emily Mortimer and Dan Ackroyd, and Snow Cake with Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. Gina also runs Sprout Pictures in partnership with actor, writer, director and TV presenter Stephen Fry which has produced the hit Sky series In The Long Run created by and starring Idris Elba and Bill Bailey, was well as the multi-award winning comedy Moone Boy created by and starring Chris O’Dowd and several series of Little Crackers and Playhouse Presents.
Due to shoot in early 2019, HALLELUJAH! is a feel-good comedy-drama inspired by real events. In the tradition of Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech, the film tells the story of Messiah - one of the most famous pieces of music ever created, and its chaotic, spectacular first performance.
In the riotous, vibrant cities of 18th Century London and Dublin, the drink-sodden and cantankerous composer, GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL, is a forgotten man to all but his faithful, whip-smart valet Peter. Worse still, Handel has lost his inspiration to compose. But when he overhears the singing of famous actress SUSANNAH CIBBER, Handel is moved to once again write some of the greatest music ever heard.
King George II tasks him to create an oratorio to celebrate the new Irish Viceroy in chaotic Dublin. Yet, when Handel approaches Susannah with the news, he is shocked to learn that not only does she has a fear of singing in public, she’s also on the run from her vengeful husband!
The motley crew travel to Dublin only to realise that London’s gin-soaked alleys are no match for the competing, sectarian politics of Dublin’s choirs, the stupidity of English overlords, and the hypocritical morals of the day. Confronted with these odds, Handel has no choice but to defy his critics and keep going. After all, the show must go on!
Producer Andrew Eaton says, “Hallelujah! has been a passion project for me and Gina for a few years. We are thrilled to have Ralph Fiennes and Chris Addison on board and to be partnering with our friends at Altitude on a film we all feel has enormous international and commercial potential.”
Will Clarke, Chairman and Co-CEO of Altitude Film Entertainment says, “We are incredibly proud at Altitude to be working with our good friends Andrew and Gina on Hallelujah! In developing this film they have assembled a highly talented and award-winning creative team led by Ralph, Chris and Jon making it a big draw for the international market. We’re also thrilled to further build our relationship with Lorton Entertainment, following our previous collaborations.”
Julian Bird, Founder & CEO of Lorton Entertainment says “I am thrilled to be working with Andrew, Gina & the Altitude team on Hallelujah. For Lorton, this represents a significant progression in the financing and distribution plans for the company. Hallelujah is a project we have been tracking for some time, to now have the amazing creative team attached is incredibly exciting”.
ALTITUDE FILM ENTERTAINMENT
The Altitude Film Entertainment group comprises Altitude Film Production led by Will Clarke chairman and joint-CEO with Andy Mayson; Altitude Film Sales with Managing Director Mike Runagall; and Altitude Film Distribution with Head of Distribution Hamish Moseley.
The Altitude sales slate includes Billie directed award-winning filmmaker James Erskine and produced by Victoria Gregory and Barry Clark-Ewers; Black 47, directed by Lance Daly and starring Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keoghan, Moe Dunford and Sarah Greene, which received its World Premiere Out of Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival 2018; Beats, directed by Brian Welsh and executive produced by Academy Award®-winning director Steven Soderbergh; Whitney from Academy Award®-winning director Kevin Macdonald and Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn; Maradona from the Academy Award-winning team behind Amy and Senna; Ghost Stories, directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman based on their international smash hit starring Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther and Paul Whitehouse, which will be released wide in the UK on April 13 by Lionsgate; and Black Water: Abyss directed by Andrew Traucki.
Altitude Film Distribution has expanded its slate extensively over the five years since its launch. In 2017 it released the Academy Award® Best Picture winning feature Moonlight, the Academy Award® documentary nominated I Am Not Your Negro, and was responsible for the release of Academy Award® and BAFTA-winning Amy in 2015 and 20 Feet From Stardom. Other releases include BAFTA nominees Lady Macbeth by William Oldroyd; The Florida Projectfrom Sean Baker; Beast written and directed by Michael Pearce; Hugh Welchman and Dorota Kobiela’s Loving Vincent; Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie; Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange and Little Men; Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow; Bharat Nalluri’s Spooks: The Greater Good; Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room; Lili Fini Zanuck’s documentary Eric Clapton: Life In 12 Bars; and Andrey Zvyagintsev's award-winning Loveless. Forthcoming releases include Studio Ponoc’s Mary and The Witch’s Flower; Asif Kapadia’s Maradona; Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney; Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s A Prayer Before Dawn; Marc Meyers’ My Friend Dahmer; Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazz Sicilian Ghost Story; Chloé Zhao’s The Rider; and Brian Welsh’s Beats.
BBC Films is at the forefront of independent filmmaking in the UK, developing and co-producing around twelve films a year. In 2015 BBC Films was awarded the Michael Balcon BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema. Rose Garnett is the Director of BBC Films.
Recent releases include the BAFTA and Oscar nominated Victoria & Abdul starring Judi Dench, William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth, which was nominated for 2 BAFTA Awards including Best British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, Thomas Napper's Jawbone, also nominated for a BAFTA in the Outstanding Debut category, Andy Serkis' directorial debut Breathe starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy and the documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami.
Idris Elba's directorial debut Yardie and The Happy Prince, written, directed by and starring Rupert Everett, both world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and had their European premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival and will open in the UK later this year via Studiocanal and Lionsgate.
Current and upcoming releases include Studiocanal’s The Mercy, directed by James Marsh and featuring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, Lionsgate's On Chesil Beach starring Saoirse Ronan coming to cinemas in May, Apostasy, directed by first time filmmaker Daniel Kokotajlo and eOne's The Children Act featuring Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci due out in August.
In post-production is Chiwetel Ejiofor’s untitled directorial debut based on the novel The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Peter Strickland’s ghost story In Fabric starring Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Out of Blue directed by Carol Morley and starring Patricia Clarkson, The White Crow directed by Ralph Fiennes, Denmark starring Rafe Spall, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Stan & Ollie starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, The Aftermath with Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgård, VS. starring Screen’s Star of Tomorrow, Connor Swindells and Iciar Bollain’s Yuli written by Paul Laverty.
Judy, starring Renee Zellweger as the iconic Judy Garland, is currently in production.
London-based Lorton Entertainment is a Financing, Production and Distribution entity founded by Julian Bird and a consortium of private financiers in 2014. Working in conjunction with companies and individuals in the film and television sectors, we use our unique blend of industry knowledge, access to diverse capital sources and exceptional execution capabilities to bring great ideas to the big and small screen. Films to date include, Supersonic (Mat Whitecross), Maradona (Asif Kapadia), On The Road (Michael Winterbottom), The Escape (Dominic Savage) and Adult Life Skills (Rachel Tunnard), VS (Ed Lily).