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Peter Weir’s "The Way Back" begins shooting

principal photography has begun on six-time Academy Award nominee Peter Weir’s much anticipated epic film, “The Way Back,” the cast of which boasts Jim Sturgess (“21,” “Across the Universe”), Academy Award® nominee Ed Harris (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13”), Academy Award® nominee Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement,” Peter Jackson’s upcoming “Lovely Bones”) and Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “Miami Vice”)**. The film will be shot in Bulgaria, Morocco and India.

Spitfire Pictures is producing for parent company Exclusive Media Group (EMG), the global filmed entertainment group combining Spitfire and London based Hammer Films, backed by strategic Investment Group, Cyrte Investments.

Exclusive Film Distribution is handling worldwide sales and distribution for the film.

Producers are Peter Weir, Joni Levin, Duncan Henderson, Nigel Sinclair and Scott Rudin.

Keith Clarke, John Ptak, Guy East, Simon Oakes, and Jonathan Schwartz will Executive Produce.

“The Way Back” is inspired by Slavomir Rawicz's acclaimed novel “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom,” as well as from other real life accounts, and chronicles the escape of a small group of multi-national prisoners from a Siberian gulag in 1940, and their epic journey over thousands of miles across five hostile countries. It was introduced to Weir by Keith Clarke and Joni Levin. This will be his first film since the multiple Academy Award winning “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” starring Russell Crowe.

Weir has assembled an award winning team of production talent for the film including Production Designer, John Stoddart (“Evelyn,” “Mosquito Coast”); Director of Photography, Russell Boyd (“Ghost Rider,” “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”); Casting Director, Lina Todd (“Beer League,” “You Can Count on Me”); Costume Designer, Wendy Stites (“Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Green Card”); and Editor, Lee Smith (“The Dark Knight,” “The Truman Show”).

ABOUT PETER WEIR

Australian director Peter Weir is one of today’s most celebrated international filmmakers. He first achieved recognition, as well as an Australian Film Institute award for Best Director, with “Gallipoli” in 1981. Starring newcomer Mel Gibson as one of two friends who go off to fight in World War I, it was hailed by international critics and established Weir's reputation outside of Australia. His reputation was further enhanced quickly thereafter with “The Year of Living Dangerously”, also staring Gibson, as well as Sigourney Weaver. A romance set against the backdrop of the toppling of Indonesia's Sukarno regime in 1965, it was screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and proved to be Weir's first international commercial success.

Weir made his first excursion onto American soil with “Witness”, starring Harrison Ford, which documented a culture clash viewed from the eyes of a wounded Philadelphia cop recovering from his injuries in a Pennsylvania Amish community. “Witness” was a worldwide success, and it earned Weir and Ford their first Academy Award Nominations.

Following the Harrison Ford and River Phoenix staring “Mosquito Coast”, Weir directed the breakout hit “Dead Poets Society”, which earned him his second Oscar nomination for Best Director, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and, a French César for Best Foreign Film. Weir subsequently went on to direct his own screenplay and independent production of “Green Card”, the romantic comedy starring Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell, which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

After directing “Fearless”, starring Jeff Bridges, Weir helmed the blockbuster hit “The Truman Show.” Starring Jim Carrey as a man trapped in a TV show about his own artificially constructed life, the film was a surreal, darkly humorous take on contemporary society's obsession with the media and celebrity. It was embraced by both critics and audiences worldwide, earning Weir his third Best Director Oscar nomination, as well as a host of other honors.

Weir took five years to follow up “The Truman Show” with the Napoleonic-era naval epic, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” in 2003. It was greeted with many rapturous reviews and ten Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and, yet another Best Director nod for Weir.

ABOUT SPITFIRE PICTURES

Spitfire Pictures is a Los Angeles based production subsidiary of Exclusive Media Group (EMG), with specialized feature film and documentary divisions.

Spitfire has a very active slate of films in pre-production and development with several highly successful writers including Bill Broyles, Stuart Beattie, Christopher McQuarrie, Justin Haythe, Craig Zahler, Max Makowski, and Christopher Cleveland. Projects set up at Spitfire include the biographical picture about the life of legendary Who drummer Keith Moon, and an adaptation of the best-seller “Moral Hazard” to be directed by Philip Noyce. Spitfire is planning a 2009 release for its latest thriller, “Possession”, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Spitfire’s acclaimed documentary division has produced several heralded docs including “Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who” and the award winning “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan” directed by Martin Scorsese, and aims to deliver 3-4 documentaries per year. The company recently teamed with music legend Billy Joel and Maritime Pictures to produce the feature documentary film “The Last Play at Shea,” documenting Joel’s historic concerts at Shea Stadium on July 16th and 18, 2008. Barry Blaustein’s “Guys N’ Divas: Battle of the High School Musicals” will be released by Lionsgate and Showtime, while Spitfire has teamed again with Martin Scorsese to direct “The Untitled George Harrison Project” documentary.

ABOUT EXCLUSIVE MEDIA GROUP (EMG)

Formed by strategic investment group Cyrte Investments in May 2008, Exclusive Media Group (EMG) is the parent company of Los Angeles based Spitfire Pictures and legendary British Studio, Hammer which now has a combined share holder equity and facility in excess of $100 million. The company is run by Nigel Sinclair, Guy East and Simon Oakes with Sinclair and Oakes serving as Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs (out of Los Angeles and London respectively). East is President and Chairman of the Sales and Distribution Operation.

Under EMG, Spitfire and Hammer operate as two separate production entities. EMG aims to produce 6-8 films per year and to acquire additional pictures for worldwide distribution through its London-based subsidiary Exclusive Film Distribution. The group also develops projects for television and digital platforms.

EMG has over 300 titles in the combined Hammer and Spitfire libraries and will pursue an aggressive library acquisition policy. The Hammer library is noted for its remake potential and the company is in discussions with A-list writers and directors to revive and re-imagine some of the highly touted titles.

Cyrte Investments is part of Delta Lloyd Asset Management, one of the Netherlands major asset managers, which in turn is majority-owned by London Stock Exchange listed Aviva plc, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.

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Chatelin Bruno
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