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In August 2002, Jeff Abberley and Julia Blackman established Scion Films. This filmmaking partnership was initiated with the aim of financing and producing British feature films of significance.
Eastern Promises marks Scion's fourth collaboration with Focus Features, following Phillip Noyce's acclaimed Catch a Fire, starring Tim Robbins and Derek Luke; Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice, starring Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley; and Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener. For the latter film, Rachel Weisz won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award, and Mr. Meirelles was a Golden Globe Award nominee.
Upcoming for Focus release, on behalf of Scion Mr. Abberley and Ms. Blackman are executive-producing Academy Award-winning writer/director Martin McDonagh's suspense thriller In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. The film is currently in post-production.
Scion's slate of films in release or due soon also includes Julian Jarrold's Becoming Jane, starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy; and Mary McGuckian's Intervention, starring Jennifer Tilly, Andie MacDowell, and Ian Hart.
The company's previous projects include Michael Winterbottom's [Tristram Shandy:] A Cock and Bull Story; Joel Schumacher's worldwide success The Phantom of the Opera; Antoine de Caunes's Monsieur N.; Nick Hurran's It's a Boy Girl Thing; Mary McGuckian's The Bridge of San Luis Rey and Rag Tale; and Richard E. Grant's Wah-Wah.
Immediately prior to forming Scion, Mr. Abberley and Ms. Blackman together for two-and-one-half years ran the film financing arm of Future Film Group (FFG) which was involved in U.K. film financing, production distribution, and post-production. Mr. Abberley was one of the founding partners of the company and was director of the group with Ms. Blackman, who was also a lawyer for FFG. The company was involved in the financing and production of, among other films, Gurinder Chadha's sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham; Fred Schepisi's all-star Last Orders; Mike Barker's To Kill a King; Nick Hurran's Undertaking Betty; and Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game.
Mr. Abberley previously was an advisor on production financing for film and television projects. Ms. Blackman previously was a lawyer who advised on film financing structures and tax issues for clients with film and television projects. Both also recently executive-produced Richard Attenborough's Closing the Ring.