NFM backed North East film set for Slamdance premiere

Posted: 19th January 2012

UNCONDITIONAL, a new British film shot in the North East after investment from Northern Film & Media and Northstar Venture’s Finance for Business – North East Creative Content, will premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, USA, 20-26 January.

Written by BAFTA winner Joe Fisher, UNCONDITIONAL is the darkly humorous and twisted love story of two teenage twins (Owen and Kristen) played by Harry McEntire and Madeleine Clark, who fall under the spell of a charismatic man (Liam) played by Christian Cooke, offering love on one condition: the boy becomes his sister.

British talent cracking the US

American audiences will soon see Christian Cooke playing lawyer Danny Evans with Danny Huston, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Dominik García-Lorido in the Miami-mobster set TV series, Magic City.  Next Christian will be seen as Mercutio in the new feature film of Romeo and Juliet with Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth and Paul Giamatti, directed by Carlo Carlei and written by Oscar™-winner Julian Fellowes, which will film in Italy.    Very much an emerging British star, Christian has also starred in Paramount’s Destination Wedding, the BAFTA-nominated series The Promise and was the co-lead in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s British comedy hit, Cemetery Junction.

Harry McEntire is currently starring in the Showtime series Episodes with Golden Globe-winner Matt LeBlanc and will be seen later this year in John Carter, the big budget sci-fi film based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel and directed and co-written by Oscar™-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton.

UNCONDITIONAL marks the feature film debut for actress Madeleine Clark who plays Harry’s twin sister in the film. 

“Madeleine was the last person among hundreds seen during casting,” says producer Clare Duggan. 

 “She was from Redcar, near to where we planned to film, and had heard about the auditions from a friend. A hugely natural young actor who gives a breakout performance in this film, Madeleine is also a gifted songwriter and has just recorded her first album.” 

Also starring in UNCONDITIONAL are Melanie Hill (Stardust, From Hell and Brassed Off) who plays the twins’ mother in the film and James Bolam (The Last Days of the Lehman Brothers, Celebration, The End of the Affair) who plays Hutch, a coastal guesthouse owner.

Director makes debut film in North East

UNCONDITIONAL marks the feature film directorial debut of Bryn Higgins who also produced the film with executive producer Clare Duggan of Stone City Films. Higgins most recent drama, Garrow’s Law, has been nominated for BAFTA and Royal Television Society awards.   

BAFTA-winning director of photography Paul Otter shot UNCONDITIONAL at locations across the North East including South Shields, Newcastle’s Quayside and Sunderland. The film’s haunting score was written by John Lunn (Downton Abbey, Little Dorrit, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands).

 “With UNCONDITIONAL we have been able to bring together highly talented filmmakers, actors and crew to create a story that captures the excitement, intensity and fears that collide in young love in a very intimate, challenging and human way,” adds Duggan.

“I love stories that expose how ordinary people often have rampaging inner lives or put themselves under unbearable pressure trying to be normal or how our search for love can get us into a real mess - Joe’s wonderful script shines an unerring light on all three,” says Higgins.

Northern  Film & Media/Northstar Ventures investment

UNCONDITIONAL is Stone City’s first feature film and was filmed in the North-East after receiving investment from the Finance for Business - North East Creative Content Fund, a unique partnership between Northern Film & Media (NFM) and Northstar Ventures. The Finance for Business – North East Creative Content Fund was backed by the European Regional Development Fund. Development funding was provided by BBC Films. 

Other feature films backed by the Finance for Business - North East Creative Content Fund include Paul Andrew Williams’ Song for Marion starring Gemma Arterton, Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp, Dan Turner’s The Man Inside starring Peter Mullan, and The Liability, starring Tim Roth.

“Darkly humorous thriller UNCONDITIONAL is a fine example of the slate of distinctive, intelligent films that have been funded and made in North East England recently,” says Tom Harvey, Northern Film & Media’s chief executive and executive producer of Unconditional.

“Investment has helped to revitalise the industry here and has been transformational both for the region and the talent we have been able to support.”

The film will be screened at 3pm on Friday 20 January in the Slamdance Main Screening Room, Park City.  Christian Cooke will be attending Slamdance with producer Clare Duggan.

Click here to visit the Unconditional website.


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