Start-up Danish production outfit, FilmPeople, has begun production on its first independent project, Polle Fiction (pictured), a feature comedy based on a TV commercial.

This is only the second feature to be based on a television advertisement concept, although it is the first to go into production; as Rowan Atkinson's Johnny English (based on the Barclaycard commercials) which is to be produced by the UK's Working Title, has yet to go before the cameras.

FilmPeople was established six months ago by Thomas Lydholm and Peter Bose in co-operation with PeopleGroup, of which major advertising house Wibroe, Duckert & Partners holds the majority stake. The producer duo came from the now defunkt Per Holst Film, along with producer Jones Allen. Earlier this year, FilmPeople co-produced Little Big Girl (Ulvens Datter) with ASA Film, currently in postproduction.

Having been submitted as a concept only this April, the $1.6m (DKR13.3m) feature is now already in production, having been fully financed by private capital, a rare situation in the subsidy-heavy Nordic region.

Based on a TV commercial for cellphone provider Sonofon, Polle Fiction is a wacky comedy about a misfit named Polle, who lives in a small rural village. When an accident at work promises a huge compensation claim, he is targeted by an attractive single mother.

"When you look at the TV commercials created by Wibroe, Duckert & Partners' Peter Stenbaek and Henrik Juul, it was obvious that the characters had potential for a feature film," Thomas Lydholm, producer and MD of FilmPeople, told ScreenDaily.

A classic underdog, Polle has to learn to use a cell-phone in the TV spots. Even though only five episodes of the commercial have been screened so far, the popularity of the characters is such that catchphrases have entered the popular language. The small town of Snave, where the ads are based, has had its city-sign stolen 18 times, while local tradesman are enjoying a boom in tourism and commerce.

The script was written by Jens Aage Pedersen and Lars Andreas Pedersen with additional ideas from Peter Stenbaek, Henrik Juul, Thomas Lydholm, Jonas Allen and director Soren Fauli. The latter, who directed the commercials, made his feature debut earlier this year with the comedy Count Axel.

Sonofon, the cell-phone provider, put up 45% of the budget, with Erichsson, SF-Film, Universal Music and another unnamed investor providing the rest, along with FilmPeople.

Polle Fiction shoots on location for six weeks, and will be post-produced at Digital Film Lab. It stars the same unknown actors as the commercials including Jens Andersen, Per Otto Bersang Rasmussen and Henrik Bechman.