Stephen Graham as Benjamin in ORTHODOX 1

THN favourite, cult-legend and all-round top bloke Stephen Graham is set star in ORTHODOX, and we’ve just received news from Zeitgeist Films that principal photography has begun on their full-length feature. The synopsis first and then scroll down for more information on this really interesting and indie film project:

Benjamin, a man persecuted for his commitment to the Orthodox Jewish faith, is pushed towards the fringe of the religious community. Taking up boxing as a means of self-defence, he quickly finds himself out of his depth in a criminal underworld.

Shooting for 3 weeks in and around Newcastle, ORTHODOX is a product of the success of the short film of the same name written and directed by David Leon, which premiered at the London Film Festival in 2012. Leon, winner of the Best Narrative Short award for his film MAN AND BOY at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, and Screen International’s 2012 ‘Star of Tomorrow,’ will once again take on the roles of writer and director.

Around 70% of the footage from the original short will feature in the finished film and all original cast remain attached to the project including: Stephen Graham (THIS IS ENGLAND, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) who also joins the project as an Executive Producer, Michael Smiley (KILL LIST), Christopher Fairbank (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) and Giacomo Mancini (TOP BOY).

Alongside Leon, ORTHODOX is produced by Daisy Allsop.  Gareth Wiley (VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA) and Stephen Graham take on the roles of Executive Producers and producer Allsop had this to say:

“Thanks to the support of our original cast and the positive reaction to the short we are excited to be expanding the film to feature length and watching these characters evolve.”

Director/Writer David Leon added:

“The world that these characters inhabit is so rich it’s always seemed like a natural canvas for a film. Benjamin is a man caught between two worlds, the Orthodox Jewish community and mainstream life, yet the challenges he faces are much like those that we all have to confront. Through the decisions he makes he becomes an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances.”

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Ingenious Media has backed the production company through its new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) fund. Ingenious is the largest investor in the UK’s creative industries and has backed independent British films including Girl With A Pearl Earring, Brick Lane and Vera Drake.  Orthodox will benefit from its deep industry expertise and the unique global network of relationships it has developed over the past 14 years.