In a move bound to trigger controversy, UK public funding body the Film Council is likely to invest in Portman Film and Granada Film's Bloody Sunday, a feature about the real-life shooting of 13 unarmed civilians by members of the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland.
The project, being made through Jim Sheridan's company Hell's Kitchen, is expected to be one of the larger productions backed by the Council's low-budget National Lottery production fund, the New Cinema Fund.
Shooting is scheduled to start this month in Derry and Dublin on the project, which charts the events of a single day in 1972, a turning point in the Northern Ireland Troubles which drove many young men into the ranks of the IRA and helped fuel 25 years of violence.
"We hope the film we make will be non-partisan, dispassionate and humane," said writer-director Paul Greengrass, who has re-teamed with producer Mark Redhead after their collaboration on the acclaimed TV drama The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Bloody Sunday stars Waking Ned's James Nesbitt as civil rights activist and MP Ivan Cooper, and Nicholas Farrell as Brigadier McCellan.
Greengrass, whose feature credits include The Theory Of Flight, aims to lay out the complex dynamics of a struggle. "It will not be a film that tells simplistic truths," he said. "The style will be hyper-realistic, as if we had been able to field at least four crews to Derry on that fateful day."
Don Mullan, author of influential book Eyewitness Bloody Sunday, is acting as consultant and co-producer. Sheridan, director of In The Name Of The Father and My Left Foot, will executive produce with Hell's Kitchen partner Arthur Lappin and Pippa Cross of Granada.