‘La Storia’ Director Francesca Archibugi to direct UK-Italy co-production ‘The Italian Chapel’

London: Director Francesca Archibugi, whose feminist fascist-era saga “La Storia” was Italy’s biggest TV event of 2023, is set to return behind camera on World War II drama “The Italian Chapel” set in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Inspired by a true story, “Italian Chapel” is centered on a clash between the local Orkney community and prisoners of war who are confined there. Against this backdrop, a secret romance springs up between an Italian prisoner and a Scottish islander.

The film, which was originally developed by Working Title Films and the British Film Institute (BFI), is being co-produced by Andrew Bendel’s U.K. production company Blue Horizon Productions (“Metroland”) in tandem with Marco Belardi’s Rome-based Greenboo Production. Greenboo is the Banijay-owned company behind hits such as “Perfect Stangers,” Gabriele Muccino’s “There Is No Place Like Home,” and Paolo Virzì’s “Like Crazy,” starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, which launched from Director’s Fortnight in 2016.

Archibugi, whose most recent feature “The Hummingbird” starring Pierfrancesco Favino and Bérénice Bejo, launched from Toronto in 2023, is working on her own version of the “Italian Chapel” script based on an original screenplay by John Wrathall (“Twist”).

“La Storia,” pictured above, an eight-episode saga based on a globally bestselling novel by the late great Elsa Morante, scored double digital ratings on state broadcaster RAI in Italy last year and was sold by Beta Cinema to a half-dozen other European public broadcasters.

“The Italian Chapel,” which was announced in Cannes, will be tapping into generous soft money for productions shot between the U.K. and Italy, including national tax credits as well as local funds from Roma Lazio Film Commission and Film London.