UK production company Parallax Independent Production has started shooting Blind Flight, the story of the kidnapping and imprisonment in the Lebanon in the 1980s of Brian Keenan and John McCarthy.

Based on the book An Evil Cradling, the production stars Ian Hart (Backbeat, Land and Freedom) as Keenan and Linus Roache (Priest, Wings of the Dove) as McCarthy. Shooting is to take place in Belfast, Glasgow and Tunisia.

Newcomer John Furse will direct from a script by himself and Keenan, with the collaboration of McCarthy. Young Lebanese actors will play the guards.

"Blind Flight is both a 'prison drama' and a 'love story' involving the search for personal freedom in extraordinary conditions," Furse said.

Roache added: "The intensity of the relationship between Brian and John has an intimacy and depth of trust that is very rare. Ian and I are fascinated by the challenge of bringing it to the screen."

Optimum Releasing has picked up UK rights, marking the indie distributor's move into boarding films at financing stage. Financing comes from the Film Council's New Cinema Fund for low-budget films and fellow support bodies Scottish Screen, the Glasgow Film Office, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Irish Film Board.

Matrix is providing UK tax-based funding, while ZDF/Arte and the Royal Bank of Scotland are also backing the project. UK-based Moviehouse Entertainment handling international sales.

"Blind Flight is a story the time of which has come again," said producer Sally Hibbin, who regularly produces Ken Loach's films. "The search for cultural understanding and a sense of common humanity has never been more important."