If I wasn't a Jew I'd be a Nazi," says UK producer Miriam Segal. It is a forthrightness designed to make you sit up and pay attention. Her debut film, Good, starts shooting in Budapest this week and Segal is determined it will have a shocking appeal - for all the right reasons.

Viggo Mortensen stars in the film directed by Vicente Amorim, the Brazilian filmmaker whose credits include The Middle Of The World. It is written by John Wrathall. Set in 1930s Berlin, Good explores the Nazis' rise to power through the eyes of an ordinary man and his family who become engulfed by the rise of Fascism. Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker, Ruth Gemmel and Mark Strong co-star.

The film hopes to subvert audience expectations of a film about the Nazis by portraying Mortensen and his family as everyday people with 1930s Berlin playing the genial host to the best party of the century.

"We want to show what it was like to be in Germany in the 1930s," Segal explains. "It was great. If we don't understand that we won't understand why what happened next happened. It could have been us."

Good is a labour of love for Segal who first saw the Tony-award winning play by CP Taylor on which it is based when she was a teenager. A previous incarnation saw Hugh Jackman in Mortensen's role with Lone Scherfig directing, and Studio Hamburg backing. It was set to shoot in Berlin and was well into pre-production when the project collapsed at just the time the German tax funds got shaky. Segal was forced to rebuild the project at Cannes last year as neither Jackman nor Scherfig was still available.

"For the director I didn't want someone English or German, who wasn't able to look at it as an allegorical story," she says. "We certainly didn't want someone who was Jewish. I loved the fact Vicente looked at it as a modern parable."

Segal secured financing from UK-based Aramid Entertainment Fund. Odd Lot International is handling international sales, while the US is being repped by Stuart Manashil of CAA and Graham Taylor of Endeavor. A pre-sale has been secured to Lionsgate UK and the BBC.

"We're now covering over $8m in negative costs which is one of the reasons we've gone to Hungary [to shoot]," says Segal. "And the 20% tax allowance in Hungary is very well established and easy to use."

However, one unforeseen problem (aside from the shortage of hotel rooms due to all the film activity in Budapest) has been the rising strength of the local currency, the forint, which has seen the production lose around $395,000 (£200,000) in three months. But it is a hurdle Segal characteristically sees as a challenge rather than an obstacle.

"When you need to save money you make the best creative decisions," she suggests. "The great thing about Vicente is that he's very pragmatic as he's a partner in the biggest commercials company in Brazil.

"We've had to split how we are financing the film," she explains. "As Hungary is joining the euro in three years, the euro is now legal tender. It's not set at the exchange rate and big companies don't mind taking the risk so we can pay hotels and camera companies in euros. The euro is the most consistent shooting currency."

Segal has been trying to get a film version of Good off the ground for years, through her time at BBC Films, then as a UK TV producer and while line-producing John Maybury's Love Is The Devil. So not surprisingly, she is passionate about the project.

"When people ask me about this film I tell them it's Little Miss Sunshine," says Segal smiling. "It's funny and moving and uplifting. I tell them it's about me, it's about us. It's not a period film about the Holocaust."