Official Secrets

Official Secrets

World Premiere Takes Place at Sundance 2019 Monday 28th January

Official Secrets
, the latest feature film to be made with investment from Screen Yorkshire, will have its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2019 on Monday 28th January. The dramatic true life story, adapted by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Gavin Hood, stars two-time Oscar®-nominated actress Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, two-time Academy Award® nominee Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode.

Based on the book ‘The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War’, Official Secrets tells the true story of British secret-service officer Katharine Gun, who during the immediate run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq leaked a top-secret National Security Agency memo. The memo—which exposed an illegal U.S.-U.K. spying operation against members of the United Nations Security Council—proposed blackmailing smaller, undecided member states into voting for war.

Keira Knightley stars in 'Official Secrets'

Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Tsotsi) directs the gripping thriller and penned the script. Marking his second collaboration with Hood, Ged Doherty (Eye in the Sky, Loving) will produce with Elizabeth Fowler (Devil’s Knot) and Melissa Shiyu Zuo. Claudia Bluemhuber, Anne Sheehan, Hugo Heppell are executive producers.

Writer/director Gavin Hood masterfully dramatiases these real-life events and brings Gun to life as an ordinary woman in an extraordinary situation. By slowly revealing specific details and lingering on pivotal moments, Hood creates an intense atmosphere that captivates you until the very end and begs the question: what would you do? Keira Knightley’s quietly powerful performance as Gun allows us a unique look into the psychology behind her decision to risk both her family’s safety and her own life without always knowing why. The result is a portrait of human nature that focuses on what is best in all of us.

The story of Katherine Gun, and the treatment of her and her husband by the UK Government, remain as relevant and shocking today as in 2003/4. We are very proud of 'Official Secrets'; Gavin Hood has directed a powerful and sensitive film, and Keira Knightley imbues Katherine with passionate integrity and heart-breaking vulnerability.

Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments, Screen Yorkshire

Case Study: How we supported the production


OFFICIAL SECRETS filmed primarily in Yorkshire with investment from Screen Yorkshire, at locations including: Leeds City Centre, Chapel Allerton, Roundhay, Boston Spa, Otley Police Station, Bradford City Hall, Shipley, Keighley and Robin Hood Airport, Doncaster and the Northern Film & TV Studios. Production Offices were based at Prime Studios. Additional scenes were filmed in Manchester and Liverpool.

this film will leave a lasting impression with audiences around the world

eOne’s Chief Content Officer Mark Gordon.

Entertainment One (eOne) finances the project with Screen Yorkshire and Melissa Shiyu Zuo through her company GS Media. eOne will directly distribute the feature film in Canada, UK, Australia/New Zealand, Germany, Benelux and Spain. Sierra/Affinity will represent all other international territories outside of the US.

Screen Yorkshire invested in Official Secrets through its Yorkshire Content Fund, which aims to grow the screen industries in the region. Credits include Hope Gap, Ackley Bridge, Fighting For A City, Yardie, Ghost Stories, Dad’s Army, Swallows and Amazons, Testament of Youth, National Treasure and Peaky Blinders.

Sundance Film Festival 2019 takes place in Utah, US from 24th January – 3rd February. Visit the festival website