BFI, FILM4 AND WARNER BROS. PICTURES BACK CHRISTMAS SET ROMANTIC COMEDY STARRING AML AMEEN, AJA NAOMI KING, LEIGH-ANNE PINNOCK AND MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE
24th November 2020, London:
Principal photography has begun on BOXING DAY, the UK’s first ever Christmas set romantic comedy starring an all-black cast. BOXING DAY is the directorial debut from British actor-writer Aml Ameen (The Maze Runner, Yardie) who has co-written the screenplay, with Bruce Purnell, and stars as Melvin. The shoot takes place on location across London during November and December.
BOXING DAY features an exciting ensemble including American actress Aja Naomi King (How to Get Away with Murder), Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock in her first film role and Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe and BAFTA winning actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies).
BOXING DAY is inspired by the diary of Ameen’s life and is a celebration of love and family through a black-British lens. The film follows Melvin (Aml Ameen), a British author living in America who returns home to London for Christmas to introduce his American fiancée Lisa (Aja Naomi King) to his eccentric British-Caribbean family. Their relationship is put to the test, as she discovers the world her fiancé has left behind.
Matthew G. Zamias produces with Damian Jones for DJ Films along with Dominique Telson and 2020 BAFTA breakthrough producer Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Aml Ameen acts as producer and Bruce Purnell as co-producer for their new label Studio113. Jones and Gharoro-Akpojotor previously collaborated on 2019’s BLUE STORY.
“It is such an honour to be teaming up with Warner Bros. Pictures, Film4 and BFI to bring Black British Culture to the world in this universal holiday rom-com. It’s long been a dream of mine to capture films that reflect the wonderfully multi-cultural city that raised me while sharing stories from the diary of my life,” says Ameen.
The BFI (awarding National Lottery funding) and Film4 finance with Warner Bros. Pictures distributing in the UK & Ireland. Rocket Science are handling international sales. Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden and Lauren Dark take on Executive Producer roles for Film4, alongside Farhana Bhula for the BFI and Thorsten Schumacher for Rocket Science.
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Ameen is represented by The Artists Partnership, UTA, Link Entertainment, and Dave Feldman at Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver Thompson.
Aja Naomi King is represented by Gersh, Door 24 and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste is represented by Independent Talent
Leigh-Anne Pinnock is represented by Sairah Pinnock and Modest Management
Notes to editors -
AML AMEEN BIOGRAPHY
Ameen recently recurred on the critically acclaimed BBC/HBO limited series “I May Destroy You.” He can next be seen in Vertical’s sci-fi thriller PARALLEL, which will be released in theaters and on demand December 11th, and RUN SWEETHEART RUN, which Amazon picked up after debuting at Sundance last year. Ameen’s past feature credits include the Idris Elba-directed crime drama YARDIE, Netflix’s action thriller INSIDE MAN: MOST WANTED, Twentieth Century Fox’s THE MAZE RUNNER, Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER, and the cult phenomenon KIDULTHOOD.
About Rocket Science
Established in London, 2016, ROCKET SCIENCE is one of the most globally recognized, international film entertainment companies, working with top tier talent and producers to create compelling content for modern film and television audiences. Since its inception, it has financed, produced, packaged and sold over two dozen critically acclaimed and commercially successful films including: Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, starring Willem Dafoe who was nominated for an Academy Award® for his turn as Vincent van Gogh; David Lowery’s The Old Man and the Gun, starring Robert Redford; and Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, starring Nicole Kidman.
With proven taste and an objective-driven approach, ROCKET SCIENCE’S recent and upcoming slate includes: Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth; Sean Penn's Flag Day; Azazel Jacobs’ French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges; Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, starring Kate Hudson; and Billy Crystal’s Here Today, starring Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal.
For further information, visit: www.rocket-science.net
Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, both new and established.
Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award®-winners such as Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary Amy, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch, Chris Morris’s Four Lions, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years.
Film4’s recent releases include Rose Glass’s Saint Maud, Sarah Gavron’s Rocks, Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield, Coky Giedroyc’s adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s How To Build a Girl, Nick Rowland’s Calm With Horses, Michael Winterbottom’s Greed, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang and Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona. Forthcoming releases include Jonathan Butterell’s Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, Florian Zeller’s The Father, Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse, Ben Sharrock’s Limbo and Cathy Brady’s Wildfire. Films in production include Eva Husson’s Mothering Sunday, Michael Pearce’s Invasion, Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor, Will Sharpe’s Louis Wain, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, and Chasing Chaplin from Peter Middleton and James Spinney.
For further information please visit www.film4productions.com.
About the BFI
The BFI Film Fund invests over £30 million of National Lottery funding a year into developing and supporting filmmakers with diverse, bold and distinctive projects, that have a cultural relevance or progressive ideas, and which reflect people from different backgrounds, as well as a range of activities to increase the opportunities for audiences to enjoy them.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BFI funds across features and talent development are open and are processing applications and awarding funds as quickly as possible.
The BFI supported eight feature films that premiered at the BFI London Film Festival this year: After Love written and directed by Aleem Khan, also selected for Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival; the Festival’s closing night premiere Ammonite, written and directed by Francis Lee and starring Saorise Ronan and Kate Winslet; Herself directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Clare Dunne which world premiered at Sundance; Limbo written and directed by Ben Sharrock; Yemi Bamiro’s feature debut One Man and His Shoes; Supernova, directed by Harry Macqueen starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci; Sundance World Documentary Audience winner The Reason I Jump from Jerry Rothwell; and Wildfire written and directed by Cathy Brady.
Also on the BFI slate are Mitch Jenkins’ The Show written by Alan Moore and starring Tom Burke and based on Aneil Karia’s Sundance World Dramatic Competition title Surge which won Ben Whishaw an Audience Award for Acting.
Recent and upcoming releases include: The Roads Not Taken directed by Sally Potter and starring Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning and Salma Hayek which premiered at the Berlinale; Saint Maud, the debut feature from Rose Glass; Rocks from award-winning director Sarah Gavron and producer Faye Ward, which both premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival; the award-winning debut feature Lynn + Lucy directed by Fyza Boulifa; and Eternal Beauty, written and directed by Craig Roberts; Rialto, the sophomore feature from director Peter Mackie Burns and several debut features including Body of Water, from writer/director Lucy Brydon; and Looted from Rene Pannevis and Chino Moya’s Undergods.
Currently in prep, production or post are Ali & Ava directed by Clio Barnard starring Adeel Aktar and Claire Rushbrook; The Souvenir – Part II directed by Joanna Hogg starring Tilda Swinton and Richard Ayoade; True Things, directed by Harry Wootliff and starring Ruth Wilson; Benediction, written and directed by Terence Davies and starring Jack Lowden; Pirates, the feature directorial debut from Reggie Yates; Censor directed by Prano Bailey-Bond starring Niamh Algar; Chasing Chaplin from three-time BAFTA nominees Peter Middleton and James Spinney; and Triangle of Sadness, Ruben Östlund’s English-language debut, starring Woody Harrelson.
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural and education charity that:
Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
- Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
- Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
- Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The Interim Chair of the BFI Board of Governors is Pat Butler.
About the National Lottery
Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million of funding has been made available to support communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.
The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times.
By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.
About Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures is a part of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, which also includes New Line Cinema, Warner Animation Group and DC-based film production. Warner Bros. partners with the world’s most inspiring storytellers to create extraordinary entertainment on every screen for the global audience. Warner Bros. Pictures Group has been at the forefront of the motion picture industry since its inception and continues to be a leading creative force, producing the broadest slate of films comprised of worldwide theatrical releases and films premiering exclusively on HBO Max. To date, Warner Bros. remains the only studio to cross the $1 billion mark both domestically and internationally 19 years in a row—an industry record