Potboiler Productions and Rathaus Films partner on feature adaptation of Kei Miller’s AUGUSTOWN

Potboiler Productions (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE CONSTANT GARDNER, THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND, YULI) has, along with Rathaus Films (DE LO MIO, THE MOUNTAINS ARE A DREAM THAT CALL TO ME), partnered with BBC Film to develop a feature adaptation of AUGUSTOWN, the acclaimed novel by Jamaican poet, novelist, and essayist Kei Miller.




Making his feature directorial debut is Antigua-born Shabier Kirchner, whose longstanding relationships with both Dargavel (who produced Harry Wootliff’s ONLY YOU, on which Kirchner was Director of Photography) and Askwith culminated in bringing the team together.


Kirchner’s journey into feature directing follows the successful festival run of his short film, DADLI, which premiered at Third Horizon 2018. The film went on to play at MOCA Film Forum, Le Cinema Club and Blackstar, and will be added to the Criterion Collection in November this year. Named in 2018 as one of Variety’s Cinematographers to watch, and more recently as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Kirchner’s work as DOP can currently be seen in Steve McQueen’s SMALL AXE. On his passion for both Cinematography and Direction, Kirchner commented:

“I have always wanted to break down the way we’ve been taught to tell stories. The Caribbean is so full of untold narratives, I would love to share as many as I can with the world, so AUGUSTOWN is the perfect place to start”


On Kirchner taking on the project, Miller said:

‘’I thought AUGUSTOWN was finished surprising me. It hasn’t. There’s nothing more exciting than having your book inspire another set of creative people who want to make something out of it. I’m humbled that Shabier loved my novel and thrilled that he’s leading the team that will make a movie out of it”


Adapting the novel for screen is award winning author and playwright Courttia Newland, who co-wrote two of the SMALL AXE films, and is known for his novels including THE SCHOLAR and SNAKESKIN, along with theatrical productions including LOOK TO THE SKY.


Sir Steve McQueen (SMALL AXE, WIDOWS, 12 YEARS A SLAVE), who is actively supporting a new generation of creative talent and diverse voices, has joined the project as Executive Producer under his production company Lammas Park, alongside Gail Egan and Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler, and Eva Yates of BBC Films.


“Having worked with Shabier on ONLY YOU, and seeing the depth of his creative talent, we then spoke about future projects and ambitions, which culminated in AUGUSTOWN. I am absolutely thrilled to be collaborating on this timely and important piece of cinema, with such an impressive creative team and with amazing support from all at BBC Film”, says Rachel Dargavel.


“AUGUSTOWN is an exploration and continuation of many of the themes of Shabier’s directorial debut DADLI. The perspective, characters, and history are completely authentic, fascinating, and original, and I am beyond excited to collaborate with the incredible team we’ve built to tell this story,” says Madeleine Askwith.


“There are so many stories from the Caribbean that need to be illuminated. They are like treasures buried deep below sand. It is wonderful that Shabier is bringing such stories to light,” says Steve McQueen.


Rights to AUGUSTOWN were acquired in a deal brokered by Penelope Killick at David Higham Associates on behalf of Kei Miller.