Lightyear Entertainment Acquires North American Distribution Rights to "Christopher Marlowe" spy thriller

Elizabethan Poet & Playwright Was Secret Agent For The Crown.

May 16, 2015, 21:11 ET from The Kit Marlowe Film Co. plc

STUDIO CITY, Calif., May 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Arnie Holland, CEO of Lightyear Entertainment, has signed an exclusive deal for Lightyear to distribute the forthcoming motion picture "Christopher Marlowe" in cinemas and on video throughout the USA and Canada.  The Elizabethan-era spy thriller will be directed by Michael John Donahue, DGA, next year in the UK, and produced by the American-owned UK film production company The Kit Marlowe Film Co. plc.  Holland will also be credited as an Executive Producer on the completed film.

"It is unusual for us to become involved this early in the development process, even before the cast is set, but the script by Francis Hamit is so strong and the story so compelling that we feel that it's an opportunity not to be missed," Holland said.  "We expect this prestigious independent film to be widely booked when it is released.  It combines the action-adventure and spy thriller genres with well-researched historical material about the Elizabethan era."

The story follows Christopher Marlowe from his days as a Cambridge University student and apprentice spy to his rising influence not just as the leading playwright of his day but also involvement in secret missions that led to the exposure and defeat of Spanish plans to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, and to invade and conquer England for the Catholic Church.  Marlowe comes to a bad end a few years later, arrested for heresy and then assassinated by his fellow secret agents when he threatens to expose them.

Francis Hamit and his partner Leigh Strother-Vien are also Executive Producers, and the Managing Directors of the UK production company, which was established last year to take advantage of the very generous tax incentives offered by the UK government.  The project has received a Letter of Comfort from the British Film Institute regarding its probable eligibility for a 25% rebate on its production costs there.  The balance of the budget will be raised from private equity and debt through the UK's EIS program.  Distributors in other territories are being sought.

Hamit said, "We are producing this film in the UK, not just because of the history behind it, but because our our respect for the deep bench of acting talent to be found there and the high interest we have already attracted.   It will be a UK production throughout.  We have been able to enlist many people from the UK entertainment community who are providing us invaluable guidance and assistance."

Hamit first told this story through his critically acclaimed 1988 stage play produced in Los Angeles by the Shakespeare Society of America.  The film has been developed over the last five years with help from Donahue, and additional research into Marlowe's other career as a spy for the Crown and the repressive government he served.

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SOURCE The Kit Marlowe Film Co. plc