(Louisville, Ky.) – Hart/Lunsford Pictures of Louisville, Kentucky has finalized a financing agreement that includes acquiring the North American rights to “Great Expectations,” a feature film recently shot in England. The film is co-financed by the BBC and the British Film Institute, and is now in post-production. A film version of Charles Dickens’ renowned novel, “Great Expectations” stars two-time Academy Award® nominee Ralph Fiennes, Academy Award® nominee Helena Bonham Carter, and Golden Globe® winner Sally Hawkins. The stellar cast also includes Jeremy Irvine, the lead in Steven Spielberg’s recent Academy-Award®-nominated film “War Horse,” and Holliday Grainger, star of the popular Showtime series “The Borgias.”
Directed by Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), the “Great Expectations” screenplay was written by David Nichols (“One Day”). Two-time Academy Award® nominee John Mathieson (“Gladiator,“ ”X-Men: First Class”) is handling the cinematography, two-time Academy Award® nominee Tariq Anwar (“The King’s Speech,” “American Beauty”) is editing the film, and Stephen Woolley (“Interview with a Vampire,” “The Crying Game”) is producing.
“Great Expectations” will open in theatres later this year, which is the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’ birth.
Ed Hart, managing member of Hart/Lunsford Pictures, remarked, “I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed reading Charles Dickens and “Great Expectations” is one of my favorites. Considering Charles Dickens is acknowledged to be one of the world’s great writers, I’m particularly proud to be associated with this blue-chip production, which has such outstanding talent both in front of and behind the camera.”
Hart added, ”This opportunity presented itself when Unison Films of New York City, which was looking for financing to complete the film, contacted us. We have financed many critically acclaimed projects and are familiar with both the production and distribution sides of the business. The opportunity to make a sound investment and also to be associated with a project of such high caliber made this a perfect fit for us.”
Asked about the strategy for distribution in North America, Hart answered, “We haven’t yet decided if we will sell the rights to one of the many U.S. distributors who have shown an interest or to distribute it ourselves. We might also choose to divide the various ancillary platforms (such as DVD, digital, and television) and sell those separately, while retaining the rights to theatrical distribution. We have plenty of time to formulate a distribution strategy, but our ultimate decision will be based primarily on what’s best for the film.”
As far as distribution outside North America is concerned, Hart stated, ”We’re in the very capable hands of HanWay Films, which is headquartered in London. HanWay has already secured millions of dollars in worldwide pre-sales for “Great Expectations.” We look forward to joining HanWay at the Cannes, Venice, and Toronto Film Festivals to coordinate our distribution efforts, and to collaborating with Unison to make sure “Great Expectations” gets the wide distribution it deserves. It’s a film for all ages with global appeal.”
Edward J. Hart
502/473-0545, ext. 126