Simon Beaufoy, the writer of This Is Not A Love Song and The Full Monty, has tackled the experience of British Muslims post-September 11 in Spark, a drama which started shooting this week for Channel 4.
The production is UK director Kenny Glenaan's follow-up to Gas Attack, a controversial asylum-seeker drama which won 2001's Michael Powell award for new British features at the Edinburgh film festival. Spark tells the story of Yasmin, a British Muslim woman whose husband is falsely imprisoned as a terrorist suspect.
Archie Panjabi, who appeared in East Is East and Bend It Like Beckham, heads the cast as Yasmin. Sally Hibbin is producing, with the UK's Moviehouse Entertainment handling international sales.
"Spark is about being British, Asian and Muslim, all at the same time," said Hibbin. "It asks what exactly the Muslim problem is, and whose problem it is, especially in Britain in the wake of September 11 and the Iraq war. It is an emotionally resonant and compelling personal story, and all of it is true, though only most of it happened to Yasmin."
The project comes through Peter Dale, head of documentaries at Channel 4, who developed the project with Hibbin's production company, Parallax.
The story has been developed through research and workshops with Muslim communities in the north of England and is based on their experiences.
"Kenny Glenaan's last film for us - Gas Attack - was both provocative and original," Dale said. "Similarly, Spark's power will lie in its contemporary relevance and the authenticity of the voices in it."
The production also marks the launch of the production fund at regional support agency Screen Yorkshire.
"To be able to launch our production fund with an important film, written by one of the region's finest writers, that deals with the issues facing young Asian people today brings together our cultural and economic remits," said Hugo Heppell, head of production at Screen Yorkshire.