Charlie Murphy and Flora Nicholson will lead the cast of Miss Pirie And Miss Woods, a true story LGBTQI+ drama from director Sophie Heldman and Winners producer Paul Welsh.
Based on historian Lilian Faderman’s book Scotch Verdict, it tells the 1810 story of a scandal when a Scottish student accused two of her teachers of having an affair. The producers expect to close finance this week in Cannes, ahead of a shoot in Scotland and Germany in autumn 2023.
Having co-written the film with Nicholson, it will be a second feature for German director Heldman, after 2010’s Colours In The Dark. Edge City Films producer Welsh is working with Bettina Brokemper of Germany’s Heimatfilm and Karin Koch of Switzerland’s Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion on the feature.
Backing is in place from WDR/Arte, German fund BKM, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Culture and Zurcher Filmstiftung.
The story was the inspiration for Lilian Hellman’s 1934 play The Children’s Hour, itself adapted for screen in William Wyler’s 1961 US film of that name starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.
It is one of a slate of new projects at the market from Glasgow-based Welsh, whose Edge City Films has Screen Scotland backing. Other upcoming titles include A Great Hunger, an adaptation of a Liam O’Flaherty novel to which Daphne filmmaker Pete Mackie Burns is attached; body horror I Am Beast; mystery romance 50 Days North; and Last Woman In Europe, the story of the creation of George Orwell’s 1984.
Welsh’s previous features include Hassan Nazer’s Winners, which was the UK entry for best international feature at the 2023 Oscars.