Feature film Yardie which marks Idris Elba’s directorial debut has just played at the Berlinale after receiving it’s world premiere at Sundance. The film stars both Akin Gazi who plays Arif and Adnan Mustafa in the role of Engin.
The film is an adaptation of Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley’s 1992 crime novel about a courier carrying cocaine from Jamaica to London who decides to go it alone and disappears into the mean streets of Hackney with a kilo of white powder. The thriller has a cult reputation in the UK where it proved a publishing hit.
“I read the book as a teenager,” Idris Elba recalls. “It moved me at the time.”
“There were many touchstones,” he expands. “I’ve been vocal about how much Hackney and that part of east London influenced me as a young man so making a film about someone I can relate to made it easier for me. I could put a lot of myself into it. I could almost imagine the audience who might respond to the film.”
Yardie premiered at Sundance as one of the festival’s two headlining feature productions, and will contend among 11 other films for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize.
It is also listed as one of the top 24 international films to look out for this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film is produced by Robin Gutch and Gina Carter for Warp Films. It is co-financed by Studiocanal, the BFI, BBC Films and Screen Yorkshire. Universal Music is also a partner in the film.
Elba also serves as an executive producer on the film alongside Dan MacRae and Danny Perkins for Studiocanal; Mary Burke and Ben Roberts for the BFI; Joe Oppenheimer for BBC Films; Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire; and Mark Herbert for Warp Films.
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