Former UK distribution firm Feature Film Company has been re-launched as an independent production, finance and consultancy company with an adaptation of football hooligan bestseller Running With the Firm.

Led by Mick Southworth and Martin McCabe, Feature Film Company has announced the start of pre-production for James Bannon’s memoir about his time as an undercover cop in the 1980s, which saw him infiltrate some of English football’s most brutal hooligan gangs.

A joint venture with its new UK funding partner Omeira - which is providing a minimum £10m of production investment in the first year – the Feature Film Company will initially produce up to four low to medium budget, commercially-oriented ‘genre’ movies a year for theatrical release in the UK and international sales worldwide.

Running With The Firm gets close to some of the more notorious figures from football’s most infamous gangs, revealing details of secret police operations that were meant to bring them down and how escaping from the mob proved to be Bannon’s hardest job.

Bannon also wrote the screenplay and production is due to commence in the Spring on locations in the UK and Germany.

Producers are Mick Southworth, Martin McCabe, David Shear and James Bannon. Dan Hubbard is casting. Additional attachments are to be announced shortly.

Southworth said: “Running with the Firm perfectly encapsulates the commercial ethos of The Feature Film Company as it comes complete with a commercial pedigree way above other normal titles in this genre.

“We have put together a fast, smart and exceptional slate of really well-crafted, high quality, commercial products in conjunction with powerful industry partners. This is a really exciting and commercially focussed production play, fit for purpose for new market realities.”

Omeira Studio Partners will play a key role in the FFC’s future production activities. Omeira is a new UK-based EIS qualifying film production company in conjunction with Endeavour Venture.

McCabe said: “Our focus is on customised, commercial projects, mostly UK funded and geared towards market appetites and new media audiences. The economics might be shifting right now but given our experience as theatrical distributors we think it’s a very exciting time to be working on fresh productions with new filmmakers delivering such strong product.”

Upcoming titles

Feature Film Company currently has two films in post production. The first is Cuban music and dance documentary The Cuban Way, directed by Eirene Houston (Day of the Flowers), which is due to premiere at Cannes.

The second, known as Untitled Mandela Project, is a documentary on the life of Nelson Mandela utilising exclusive first person testimony from Madiba and his family, which is also being readied in time for this year’s Cannes.

FFC’s next film co-production, Money and Grime, will begin filming in London this May under first time feature director and promo director Sheridan Demyers. The urban drama centres on the British grime urban music scene, following three boys trying to rise to the top as musicians against a background of crime.

The producers will work with Universal Music Group to provide a showcase for rising and established acts from the UK ‘grime’ and urban dance scene including Angel, Scorcher and Katy B amongst others.

Future titles announced for the FFC slate include the supernatural thriller Of The Dead, a mid- 20th Century re-versioning of Henry James classic gothic horror Turn of the Screw set to film in Canada this autumn.

After that, production is due begin on FFC’s biggest project to date, the historical drama Rebellion, an epic retelling of the legend of Owen Glendower - the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales who instigated a fierce and long-running revolt against the English rule of the country. It is written and produced by award-winning British producer Selwyn Roberts. Film is currently out to casting.

Southworth and McCabe currently have action thriller Born of War, starring James Frain, on international release and St Georges Day (aka Berlin Job).