Principal Photography Has Begun On Acclaimed Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha’s New Coming Of Age Comedy Drama BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Ground-breaking filmmaker Gurinder Chadha has begun principal photography on her heart-warming new comedy drama, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT. The film is a hybrid musical that is firmly rooted in the great British tradition of quirky comedies, but with a dash of youthful exuberance inspired by John Hughes’ films from the 1980s.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, developed from Gurinder Chadha and British Journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s shared passion for Bruce Springsteen and based on Manzoor’s celebrated rite of passage memoir Greetings from Bury Park, chronicles his experiences as a British Muslim boy growing up in 1980’s Luton and the impact Springsteen’s lyrics had upon him.
Chadha and Manzoor met Springsteen at the London Premier of his film The Promise in 2010 and discovered he had not only read but admired the book.
“I quickly pitched him the film we wanted to make from the book on the Red carpet and to our excitement Bruce nodded and said, “Sounds good - talk to Jon”. We then spent several years developing a script we knew had to impress Springsteen and managers Jon Landau and Barbara Carr or there would be no film without his music and blessings." said Gurinder Chadha
“Growing up in eighties Luton as the working class son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants my world felt very small. In the music of Bruce Springsteen I found both hope and wisdom on how I could transcend my circumstances and make my dreams to be a writer come true. The fact that I was so affected by Springsteen’s songs shows just how powerfully music can transcend race, religion, nationality and class. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is also a tribute to my late father whom I often fought in my teenage years not realising his generation also had dreams they were not able to follow.” added Sarfraz Manzoor
They embarked on the feature film adaptation alongside Chadha’s longtime writing partner Paul Mayeda Berges (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, BRIDE & PREJUDICE, ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING). Presenting a personal story that resonates on a global stage, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is reminiscent of Chadha’s much-loved and acclaimed films that have taken characters new to the screen and transported them to people’s homes and hearts internationally.
“At a time of such political and social instability in the world, this film provides us with a vital reminder of our shared humanity and the transformative power of music on both a personal and global scale.” added Gurinder Chadha
Chadha and producing partner Jane Barclay (GOSFORD PARK), have gathered a distinctive cast of new and familiar British comedy talent including Kulvinder Ghir (STILL OPEN ALL HOURS), Golden Globe® nominee Hayley Atwell (THE AVENGERS franchise), and BAFTA® nominee Rob Brydon (THE TRIP) Sally Phillips (BRIDGET JONES DIARY) and introducing Viveik Kalra (ITV’s NEXT OF KIN) and Nell Williams as romantic leads.
Producer Jane Barclay comments “We’ve had an overwhelming response to the power of this story whose emotional and social themes are so relevant in today’s world.”
The film, due for completion in early 2019, is currently shooting on location in the UK.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is an Ingenious Media and Levantine Films presentation of a Bend It Films production and was developed with support from the BFI. eOne were quick to come on board after being moved by the script, acquiring distribution rights in the UK and Australia.
Cornerstone Films is handling international sales rights on the film and will introduce it to the buyers at the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival.
Levantine Films and Peter Touche of Ingenious Media are producing the film alongside Gurinder Chadha and Jane Barclay. Hannah Leader, Paul Mayeda Berges and Tracy Nurse serve as executive producers on the project, and Alice Dawson (THE PARTY) is the co-producer.
Chadha will be reunited with long-time collaborators Emmy® Award winning cinematographer Ben Smithard, BAFTA winning editor Justin Krish and production designer Nick Ellis.
About Bend It Films
Bend It Films was founded by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges in 2002 to make independent, diverse, commercially appealing British films for a global audience.
Its award-winning films include BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, BRIDE & PREJUDICE, IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE, VICEROY’S HOUSE.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM was nominated for a Golden Globe® for Best Film (Comedy or Musical), a BAFTA for Best British Film, a European Film Award for Best Film, and a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Original Screenplay. At the time of release, it was the highest grossing British produced, British distributed film of all time and is the only film to be distributed in every country in the world officially, including North Korea.
BRIDE & PREJUDICE is the only film ever to open at Number One in the UK and Indian Box Office charts on the same day.
In 2006, Gurinder Chadha was awarded an OBE for her services to British Cinema.
About Levantine Films
Founded in 2012 by Jamal Daniel, Levantine Films is a feature film production company that identifies, develops, produces and finances character-driven, socially relevant and commercially viable projects. Most recently, Levantine Films produced Hidden Figures, which grossed $230 million worldwide and was nominated for three Academy Awards® including Best Picture. Levantine Films also produced The Fundamentals of Caring, starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival as the Closing Night Film, as well as the Golden Globe® nominated Beasts of No Nation directed by Cary Fukunaga.
About Ingenious Media
For 20 years, Ingenious has been at the forefront of investing in the global creative economy and in that time has raised and deployed over £9 billion In the last decade Ingenious has been involved in the production of a diverse slate of films, including the award-winning Life of Pi, Avatar, OscarÒ-nominated Carol, Brooklyn and Selma, five films in the successful X-Men franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, breakout British hits Suffragette and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as acclaimed television programmes such as The Fall, Dr. Foster and The Honourable Woman.
Titles currently in production include Judy starring Renée Zellweger, Lone Scherfig’s Secrets from the Russian Tea Room and forthcoming releases include Adrift from director Baltasar Kormakur.
About Cornerstone Films
Cornerstone Films is a London/LA based international film production and sales company. A leader in its field, the company was launched in the spring of 2015 by Mark Gooder and Alison Thompson. Cornerstone represents and curates a diverse slate of films of enduring quality, ranging from commercial wide release movies to talent-driven films from world-renowned filmmakers.
Cornerstone’s slate includes: Bart Freundlich’s remake of Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding starring Julianne Moore, Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, Sophie Hyde’s Animals, Mike Leigh’s upcoming British historical drama Peterloo; Christoph Waltz’s directorial debut Georgetown starring Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave, and Annette Bening; The Kill Team by Academy Award® nominated director Dan Krauss, starring Nat Wolff and Emmy award-winner Alexander Skarsgård; Daniel Kokotajlo’s award-winning Apostasy which had its world premiere in the Discovery section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival; Julien Temple’s Ibiza – The Silent Movie featuring music by world renowned DJ Fatboy Slim; boxing drama Journeyman by writer, director and actor Paddy Considine which had its world premiere at the London Film Festival; Henry-Alex Rubin’s crime-thriller Semper Fi; John Turturro’s dramatic comedy Going Places starring among others Turturro and Susan Sarandon. Currently on release is BAFTA Award-winning director Joel Hopkins’s Hampstead; starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson. In addition, the company previously handled Mick Jackson’s Denial, starring Academy Award® Winner Rachel Weisz alongside two-time Academy Award® nominated Tom Wilkinson; Vincent Perez’s Alone in Berlin starring Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl, and Brendan Gleeson; and Asif Kapadia’s Academy Award® winning Amy Winehouse documentary Amy.
About Entertainment One
Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specialises in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales, family programming, merchandising and licensing, and digital content.
Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.
Entertainment One’s robust network includes newly-launched MAKEREADY with Brad Weston; content creation venture Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; leading feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures; unscripted television production company Renegade 83; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning digital agency Secret Location.
The Company’s rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 80,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.