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The Henchman starts shooting

Vienna-based Allegro Film began shooting today in Styria on one of the biggest Austrian co-productions ever, Simon Aeby’s The Henchman starring, fresh from his Wimbledon success, Nikolai Coster-Waldau, Eddie Marsan (Gangs of New York, 21 Grams) and Steven Berkoff (Rambo, Octopussy). Delegate producer is Helmut Grasser.

Directed by Swiss-born Simon Aeby, whose Wes Bentley starrer Three below Zero won him the prestigious Max Ophuls newcomer award, The Henchman was written by Austrian writer Susanne Freund along with BAFTA/RTS award winning screenwriter Steve Attridge, whose recent credits include Guy X (starring Jason Biggs).

Set in the Austrian Tyrol, at the beginning of the 16th century, The Henchman tells the story of two orphan boys are being raised under the protection of the Church. As they grow Martin and George develop as inseparable blood brothers. When they reach adulthood Martin becomes a soldier, George starts, thanks to the Archbishop’s favour, a career in the church and becomes Prior in the monastery of his childhood. Thus begins a medieval morality story in which despite the dawning of a new age of enlightenment, blood brothers become arch enemies and friendship turns to hate.

“ This dramatic historical period in which the Catholic Church tries to maintain its power at all costs and brutally tries to suppress all forms of reformation, bears the potential for a great film. ” says delegate producer Helmut Grasser whose Dog Days directed by Ulrich Seidl won Grand jury prize in Venice, “ Why is our humanistic approach to solve conflicts so often increasingly replaced by pure militant power?"

Henchman is a co-production between the UK’s Film and Music Entertainment, Switzerland’s T+ C Film, Luxembourg’s Samsa, Germany’s Home Run Pictures and Hungary’s Eurofilms. The film will move on to studios in Hungary where it will take advantage of the Hungarian tax credit scheme started last year. Other financiers involved include the Austrian Film Fund, the Vienna Film Fund, the Swiss Ministry of Culture, the Luxembourg film Fund, Cine Styria, ORF, SFDRS, and Invicta capital.

Other cast members include John Shrapnel (Troy), Anastasia Griffiths (Alfie) and Peter McDonald (Felicia’s Journey) whilst technical credits include cinematographer Vladimir Smutny (Kolya, Dark Blue World); soundman Colin Nicholson (The Jacket, Young Adam) and production designer Christophe Kanter responsible for Michael Haneke’s La Pianiste and Funny Games.


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