Principal photography commences on Debbie Isitt's Nativity
BBC Films, Screen West Midlands and Limelight are pleased to announce that principal photography has begun on Nativity – writer and director Debbie Isitt's new British comedy.
Protagonist Pictures will handle international sales.
Directed and conceived by Debbie Isitt (Confetti), Nativity is an improvised comedy which has attracted an exciting British cast including Martin Freeman (Hot Fuzz, Confetti, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy), Ashley Jensen (Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story, Ugly Betty, Extras), Jason Watkins (Confetti) and Marc Wootton (Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel).
The film is produced by Nick Jones (Confetti) and will be shot entirely on location throughout the UK's West Midlands during a six week shoot.
Martin Freeman is Mr Maddens, a frustrated, under-achieving, primary school teacher.
His long time adversary, Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins), is the teacher at the posh independent school up the road.
Every year, the two schools are embroiled in a bitter rivalry to achieve a five-star review for their Christmas nativity play. Maddens' class always comes runner-up. The story of his life.
This year, Maddens makes an idle boast to Shakespeare that his school's showstopping musical has attracted the attention of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Lore (Ashley Jensen) – who happens to be a big time Hollywood Producer.
They want to make a movie starring his kids – Hollywood is coming to Coventry!
When over-enthusiastic new classroom assistant, Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton), overhears the lie, Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the centre of quarrelling parents, a wannabe show director, and more Mary and Josephs than he can shake a stick at.
Now all he needs to do is persuade Jennifer to make Hollywood pay attention and make their dreams come true.
Isitt's Nativity is a sweet, heart-warming tale of how nothing can get in the way of the true spirit of Christmas.
Debbie Isitt says: "I'm so excited to be making another film with BBC Films and Screen West Midlands. Their enthusiasm and support for my work is fantastic."
Nick Jones, Producer, says: "It's wonderful to be working with Debbie, BBC Films and Screen West Midlands on Nativity. Their understanding of Debbie's process creates a truly supportive environment for this unique and hugely talented filmmaker."
Joe Oppenheimer, Executive Producer for BBC Films, says: "Debbie has a unique talent and vision, and as ever has assembled a wonderful cast and creative team to bring her great ideas to life. We're delighted to be working with her again."
David M Thompson, Executive Producer for BBC Films, says: "I'm a big fan of Debbie's work, having backed her previous film, Confetti.
"She is clearly a highly original talent with a bold and imaginative way of working, as well as a great sense of comedy. With an idea of such charm and wit, I am delighted our association is continuing."
Lee Thomas, Screen West Midlands, says: "Since Confetti, we've been eager to work again with this incredibly talented Coventry-based writer-director.
"Nativity, though conceived locally, promises to be an uplifting family film for a broad international audience and we are very excited about its prospects.
"We're also delighted to be working again with BBC Films, who are bravely committing to a film that has no traditional script – trusting, as we are, in the semi-improvised method of working that Debbie adopts with such success."
Nativity is a BBC Films and Screen West Midlands presentation in association with Limelight, a Mirrorball Films Production. A Debbie Isitt Film.