Filming began in Northern Ireland yesterday (Oct 15) on Jonjo Mickybo, designer Terry Loane's feature film debut as writer and director.

Loane previously worked as a designer in theatre and on many short films, including the Oscar-nominated short Dance Lexie Dance, before turning to film writing and direction with the short film Cluck in 1998.

His adaptation of the award-winning play Mojo-Mickybo by local playwright Owen McCafferty is to wrap in December after an eight-week shoot on location in Northern Ireland.

Budgeted at around Euros 3m, Jonjo Mickybo will be one of the bigger feature films to film in its entirety in Northern Ireland in recent times.

Set in the early 1970s when sectarian strife was erupting in Belfast Jonjo Mickybo tells the tale of two boys who live in a fantasy world fuelled by the cowboy antics of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The young leads are played by Niall Wright and John Joe McNeill, while the adult roles are filled by Julie Walters and Ciaran Hinds (reprising their double act from Titanic Town), together with Gina McKee and Adrian Dunbar.

Production duties are shared between first-timer Michael McGeagh of Belfast's New Moon Pictures, and locally-based Mark Huffam whose credits include Saving Private Ryan and Thunderbirds, the recently wrapped live action makeover of the cult TV series.

Jonjo Mickybo is backed by WT2, the low budget division of Working Title, the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and the Irish Film Board. Stephen Daldry is acting as a mentor to the production and exec producing for Working Title.