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02/11/2009

Coastal Brings Feature Film To North East

The Newcastle-based company behind TV dramas Wire in the Blood and Place of Execution, Coastal Productions, is making a move into feature films with a story about a boy with leukaemia who wants to live out all his dreams before he dies.
Starring Greta Scacchi, Ben Chaplin, Emilia Fox and Phyllida Law, Ways To Live Forever, is based on the award-winning debut novel by Teeside writer Sally Nicholls. Her novel won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2008 and has already been translated into 12 languages.
Principal photography begins on November 2 on location in the North East of Engalnd, demonstrating Coastal's continuing commitment to the region.
Funding for the £2 million project comes from Life & Soul Productions and El Capitan Pictures in Spain, with additional support from Northern Film & Media's North East Content Fund.
The film tells the heart-warming story of 12-year-old Sam (Robbie Kay), a boy who loves collecting fascinating facts, wants to know about scary movies and spaceships, try his first beer and kiss a girl. He also wants to know what happens when you die.
Determined to find the answers to his questions and tick off the items on his wish list, Sam writes a diary with the help of his friend and fellow leukaemia sufferer Felix (Alex Stel who played the lead in Danny Boyle's Millions). His record of events and observations is funny, sad and life-affirming.
Executive Producer Sandra Jobling, who set up Coastal Productions twelve years ago with actor Robson Green said: "We are very excited about facilitating on this feature film, and particularly proud that the Spanish and English Production companies readily embraced the idea of shooting in the North East, where the original novel is set.
"Having encouraged the North East-based associate producer Will Nicholson to go to Cannes in May to explore possibilities, a relationship between Spain and the North East flourished. The initial plan was to shoot a week of exteriors here. But with Will and I showing the way of what was possible, they decided to come and shoot the whole film here.
"Ways To Live Forever is such an amazing story, with plenty of laughter as well as tears. We are thrilled to be working with such a high profile cast and talented production team who are all committed to making a film of the highest quality."
Robson Green added: "From its humble beginnings twelve years ago, Coastal is now proudly embarking on its first film. We're so excited to bring a feature to the North East and to show off our region on the international stage. It's a tribute to the wealth of talent we have in this area."
Producer Martyn Auty (A Touch of Frost, Heidi, A Foreign Field) said: "Life & Soul Productions is committed to projects with strong positive values. Sally Nicholls' brilliant book fits our aims exactly and we are sure her story, brought to life by our great cast, will resonate with the audience as they join Sam on his journey to make every last minute count."
Director Gustavo Ron (Mia Sarah) who also wrote the screenplay Ways To Live Forever, added: "The North East of England is the perfect setting, with its natural and beautiful locations and amazing skies. I believe it will bring its soul to the film."
Tom Harvey, Chief Executive of Northern Film & Media, said: "We're delighted to help Coastal facilitate bringing this feature to the region with a £150,000 investment from our North East Content Fund. This project will create jobs, bring inward investment to the region and help raise its profile as a centre of commercial and creative production. Northern Film & Media is delivering on its promise to help bring production back to the North East across film, TV, games, interactive media and music."
(KMcA/BMcC)
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