AMBI PICTURES ACQUIRES ENGLISH LANGUAGE REMAKE RIGHTS TO “PRINCESS”
Los Angeles, CA – October 14, 2014 – It was announced today that AMBI Pictures Group, the movie development, finance, production and distribution group owned and run by Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi, has acquired the English language remake rights to Arto Halonen’s highly acclaimed, award winning Finnish feature “Princess” based on the amazing real life story of cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen.
Following up on their recent success with “The Humbling,” starring Al Pacino, which is garnering serious Oscar® attention, Iervolino and Lady Bacardi are financing and producing the English language remake with an eye toward aligning with A-list female talent for the picture, and AMBI’s sales arm, AMBI Distribution, is handling worldwide sales. AMBI’s President of Worldwide Sales & Acquisitions, Julie Sultan, brought the project to AMBI and will develop and produce with Iervolino and Bacardi.
Produced by Art Films production AFP OY, the original “Princess” starred many of Finland’s leading actors including Katja Kuttner, Samuli Edelmann, Krista Kosonen and Peter Franzen, and was the fiction film debut of the award-winning documentary filmmaker Arto Halonen, director of Shadow of the Holy Book, Pavlov’s Dogs and The Magnetic Man.
Said Iervolino, “’Princess’ is a remarkable and fascinating story that has proven its commercial viability on the big screen. We know there is a wider global audience who will embrace a retelling and believe that a film of such high pedigree is an attractive piece for actresses of equal stature.”
Based on a true story, “Princess” tells the remarkable and heart felt story of Anna Lappalainen’s redemptive struggle with insanity. In 1945, Finland’s Kellokoski Psychiatric Hospital accepts a new patient, former cabaret dancer Anna Lappalainen. Diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia, she refuses to answer to her real name, insisting instead that she is a Princess and a member of the British royal family. “Princess” demands to be treated with respect, declares the hospital her castle, and holds court with a makeshift collection of ladies-in-waiting. Her delusional charm, and eccentric manner has a surprisingly positive effect on the exhausted hospital staff, the quirky patients, and even the local villagers.
The primitive psychiatric procedures of the time insulin shots, electroshock therapy, and daily “cognac” treatments have no effect on her condition, and soon the stern Doctor Grotenfelt recommends the modern procedure of lobotomy to end her royal delusions. But before his treatment can begin, the nurses argue that life for their patients has never been better, since the arrival of their “Princess.”
In 1995, her memory was honored by a memorial monument in the Kellokoski hospital grounds designed by sculptor Rauni Liukko. It is allegedly the only monument in the world dedicated to a psychiatric patient. The statue symbolizes the flow of life, and is a tribute not to Princess alone, but to all patients who have received psychiatric care.
The original screenplay for “Princess” was written by Pirjo Toikka, Arto Halonen and Paavo Westerberg.
Released in Finland in 2010, PRINCESS topped the Finnish box office for many weeks, and has been one of the most successful films of recent years. The film received numerous awards and international recognition, including the Finnish Oscar equivalent, the Jussi Prize, for Best Actress. In addition to winning the Grand Prix for Best Film at the Cape Winelands Film Festival, Special Mention at the Festroia International Film Festival in Portugal, and the Best Actress award in the main competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, “Princess” was chosen for the Dragon Award competition for Best Nordic Film at the Goteborg International Film Festival. In addition to its critical acclaim, “Princess” has received a series of social and cultural awards, given to director Halonen in recognition of both “Princess” and his career as a whole.
The film “Princess” has even spawned a musical adaptation for the stage, which was the most successful musical in the 2013-2014 season, while playing in Finland’s second biggest theater (Tampereen Työväen Teatteri).
In addition to “Princess,” AMBI’s production slate includes the recently announced romantic comedy “All Roads Lead to Rome,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker; the sci-fi action thriller “Andron: The Black Labyrinth,” starring Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover; the Barry Levinson directed drama “The Humbling,” starring Al Pacino; the thriller “Hope Lost,” starring Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton and Michael Madsen; the action-thriller “2047 – Sights of Death”; the animated feature films “Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad” and “East End;” the Italian dramedy “Tre Tocchi” and actress Martina Stella’s debut screenplay “O.O.B.I.” – a psychological thriller that the company will produce.
Launched in late 2013 by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Gomez del Campo Bacardi, Lady of Bayfield Hall, better known as “Monika Bacardi,” AMBI Group is a consortium of vertically integrated film development, production, finance and distribution companies wholly owned and operated by Iervolino and Lady Bacardi.
Together, they are dedicated to making and delivering high-end, commercial movies for global audiences. With a mandate to serve as a top-tier supplier of mainstream projects for both the studios and major independent distributors worldwide, AMBI pursues top Hollywood talent and international stars and produces six to eight feature films a year.
From offices in Beverly Hills, Europe and Canada, AMBI is devoted to fostering an artist-friendly environment for top filmmakers and talent and willing to explore original stories and edgy material featuring inter-culture concepts.
A highly accomplished filmmaker and businessman, Andrea Iervolino has produced, funded and distributed over 40 feature films including “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Anatomist,” top name a few. He is considered one of the youngest and most accomplished entrepreneurs in the Italian film industry.
Lady Monika Bacardi is the widow of Luis Adalberto Facundo Gomez del Campo Bacardi, Lord of Bayfield Hall, known as Lord Luis Bacardi (descendent of the Bacardi founder, still a family-run company). Renowned for her passion of modern art and love of photography and movies, Monika Bacardi is a highly successful businesswoman who is now committed to producing films, through AMBI, on top of her numerous philanthropic activities.
AMBI Group is active in the distribution of various movie projects in Italy and throughout the world through its satellite company AI Entertainment, a company Iervolino founded in 2011. Iervolino still runs this operation as well as several movie production and distribution companies in Italy, Spain and Canada.
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