By Liza Foreman
Asif Kapadia has signed to direct Ali and Nino, Academy Award winning writer Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Kurban Said’s best-selling epic love story set in Azerbaijan.
The film will be produced by PeaPie founder Kris Thykier, with Leyla Aliyeva serving as Executive Producer. Leading international sales and financing company IM Global, a division of the Reliance ADA group, will handle worldwide sales. The film is scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2014.
The novel is set in Baku with the historical backdrop of the First World War on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution and the beginnings of the Soviet Union. It tells the love story of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, the male descendant of a royal Muslim family and Nino Kipiani, a beautiful, Christian, Georgian princess.
Producer Kris Thykier comments: “We are delighted to have Asif Kapadia on board to direct this epic story which we hope will resonate with audiences across the world. I’m looking forward to seeing the story unfold under Asif’s expert direction.”
BAFTA award winning director Asif Kapadia directed the documentary Senna (2010), chronicling the life of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, which is the highest grossing UK documentary of all time. Asif’s first feature film,The Warrior (2003) received international acclaim on the festival circuit, winning the Alexander Korda Award for outstanding British film of the year at the BAFTAs.
Director Asif Kapadia comments: ““Ali and Nino is such a poignant and timeless novel and I am thrilled to be collaborating with such a talented screenwriter as Christopher Hampton to bring it to life.”
The film is an Azeri / UK co-production expected to shoot in the first quarter of 2014. Oscar-winning British playwright, screenwriter and director Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement, A Dangerous Method) is penning the screenplay.
The film was written by Kurban Said and published in German in 1937. The love story is arguably one of the most famous works of Azerbaijani literature and has since been translated into 33 languages worldwide with nearly 100 reprints.