Based on Jonny Owen and Dean Cavanagh’s hit youtube comedy series, Svengali will be the first feature to come out of Martin Root and Jonny Owen’s new London based production company Root Films.

Martin Freeman is to star in the first feature to come out of new British production company Root Films – Svengali - a rock and roll comedy based on the YouTube comedy series of the same name, written by Jonny Owen and Dean Cavanagh.

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Cavanagh and Owen wrote the original nine episodes which were broadcast on YouTube last year. The pair have now adapted them into a feature, to be directed by first time feature film-maker John Hardwick, who has directed music videos for Arctic Monkeys, Blur and Travis.

Owen will also star in the film, about a small town guy from the Welsh Valleys who heads for the bright lights of London intent on becoming the manager of the best band in the world, alongside Martin Freeman (who also appeared in the online version), This Is England actress Vicky McClure and Michael Smiley.

Shooting begins on February 27 in Wales, London and Scotland. The film is being privately financed.

It is the first feature to come out of Martin Root and Jonny Owen’s Shoreditch-based production company Root Films, an offshoot of design creative agency Root, set up by Martin Root over 20 years ago.

Root teamed up with Owen after watching the youtube series and seeing the potential for a feature. The pair plan to produce two features a year and already have a number of other projects on the slate, including Blank Canvas, set against an art backdrop, which is written by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh, and is currently in development. They are also developing a comedy sitcom and are currently in talks with a broadcaster.

“We have always covered commercials and virals, so the natural progression was to get involved in features. Our long term vision is to make cutting-edge British films which resonate round the world,” Root told Screen.

“We want to be a young British production company that rather than talking about things, gets things made,” added Owen.