Los Angeles and Paris-based Vendôme Pictures, producer of the 2022 Academy Award Best Picture CODA, has announced new drama feature Ibelin, based on the real-life story of the disabled, British gamer Mats Steen, who went by the name of ‘Ibelin’ in the gaming world.
Morten Tyldum, who was Oscar-nominated in the best director category for The Imitation Game in 2015, is set to direct and Kyle Killen (Halo) will write the script.
Vendôme Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet and Fabrice Gianfermi are producing alongside Tyldum and producer Guri Neby, whose credits include The Monkey And The Mouth and the series Delete Me, for Neby-Tyldum AS.
Principal photography will take place in the U.S. with production dates yet to be set.
When Steen died at the age of 25 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, his parents Robert and Trude mourned what they thought had been a lonely and isolated life for their disabled son, who had been diagnosed with the illness at the age of four years old.
On the day of his funeral, however, they discovered he had enjoyed a rich life in the gaming world, through people who showed up from all over Europe, giving heartfelt speeches about how Mats had touched, enriched and changed their lives, and helped create a community that transcended age, geography and time.
“Ever since hearing about Mats and meeting his family, this is a story I felt needed to be shared with the world,” said Tyldum.
“Making this story into a film with such an extraordinarily talented writer as Kyle Killen, and producing together with the exceptional Philippe Rousselet at Vendôme and my long-time producing partner, Guri Neby, feels like a dream.”
Rousselet suggested Ibelin shared attributes similar to CODA.
“Ibelin, like CODA was, is a very special, rare, simple and yet very moving story. I fell in love with it from the moment Morten and Guri told me all about Mats’ life story. Now, I just can’t wait to share it with the world and between Kyle and Morten, could not be more excited about our creative team.”
Beyond The Imitation Game, Tyldum’s other credits include Headhunters and the limited series Defending Jacob for Apple TV+.
The deals were brokered by Jackie Eckhouse and Emmanuelle Berdugo of Sloss Eckhouse Dasti Haynes LawCo. for Vendôme; Michael Schenkman of Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher for Neby-Tyldum AS and Morten Tyldum; and Danny Greenberg (WME) for Kyle Killen.
Tyldum is repped by CAA, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, Black Bear Management and Anonymous Content and Michael Schenkman. Killen is repped by WME, Syndicate Entertainment and Black Bear Management.