uglyduckling films


Film & TV Production 


A 50 50 media HOUSE ltd company

About Us

Ugly Duckling Films is a film, tv and media production company that works with unique and distinctive filmmakers to produce bold and powerful drama. 

Founded by Oscar-nominated producer Lene Bausager in 1995, films under the Ugly Duckling umbrella include the Oscar-nominated short Cashback, directed by Sean Ellis (Anthropoid, Metro Manila) and its subsequent feature of the same name, Flashbacks of a Fool starring Daniel Craig, and James Ward Byrkit's sci-fi hit Coherence.

 Find out more. 

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'We Are Your Children' makes UK TV Brit List.

Ryan J Brown's original pilot, 'We Are Your Children', optioned by Ugly Duckling Films, has made the UK TV Brit List.

The project is in active development and being packaged by WME. 

Read more on Screen Daily and Deadline.

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'Rosemary & Basil' completes production.

What's on Stage award nominee Max Gill's latest short, 'Rosemary and Basil', starring Anna Wilson-Jones (Victoria) and Jordan Waller (Victoria), produced by UDF's Sophia Gibber and Lene Bausager, completes production and enters post at Molinare, with editor Josh Mallalieu (You Were Never Really Here)

Read more about the whole team on imdb

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'7 Island City' receives a development award from Northern Ireland Screen.

The next draft of  '7 Island City' will be written by emerging writer Mark McNally (Of the Land of Saints and Sinners) and developed in assistance with Northern Ireland Screen.


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'McKellen: Playing The Part' receives its world premiere at 12th Rome Film Fest.

The feature documentary, directed by Joe Stephenson and produced by Ugly Duckling Films with B Good Films, Great Point Media and in association with Lipsync Productions, received its world premiere at the 12th Rome Film Fest on the 1st of November 2017, at the MAXXI gallery in Rome.

The sold-out screening came after Sir Ian McKellen gave an hour masterclass as part of the Roma Cinema Fest's programme.

Roma Cinema Fest's Official Website


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'McKellen: Playing The Part' gets sales deal, first clip released.

London-based sales and production outfit Independent has boarded feature documentary MCKELLEN: PLAYING THE PART and will introduce the title to buyers at Cannes.

Independent MD Andrew Orr commented: ‘’This is the first of several exciting announcements for us in Cannes this year."

Read more.

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UDF option Sophie Kipner's 'The Optimist'.

Ugly Duckling Films has optioned the rights to Sophie Kipner's debut novel, The Optimist, with a plan to adapt the material into a TV series.

Set to be published in May 2017 by Unbound (UK), The Optimist follows Tabitha Gray, a delusional girl from Topanga, California, as she embarks on a very misguided search for love. What results is a warmly witty and satirical look at the extremity of romantic desperation, as Sophie Kipner pays wry tribute to the deep human need to search for love, despite our manifold absurdities.

A visual artist and writer from Topanga, Sophie's writing has appeared in Kugelmass: A Journal of Literary Humor, Metazen, Amy Ephron's One for the TableFORTH Magazine and The Big Jewel.

Ian McKellen.
— Playing the part


UDF join Sir Ian McKellen doc.

Ugly Duckling Films has jumped onboard to produce MCKELLEN: PLAYING THE PART, a documentary about the life and works of Sir Ian McKellen, directed by Joe Stephenson (Chicken).

Lene Bausager and Sophia Gibber will produce for Ugly Duckling Films, along with Joe Stephenson (B Good Picture Company), and Mark Birmingham of Surreal Film Company.

The documentary will feature rare archive material of early work from stage and screen, never-before-seen photography from McKellen's private collection, and cinematically reconstructed scenes from his life. McKellen has been Oscar-nominated twice: for "Gods and Monsters" in 1999 and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" in 2002. He has been Emmy-nominated five times.

Paper Babylon is an extraordinary screenplay... It is fierce, shameless, frightening, disturbing, eye-watering and unrelenting – and yet one comes away with a sense of the lyrical, the human, the hilarious and the romantically tender. Love and friendship have ultimate primacy over lust and self- indulgence. My heavens this is a film I want to see made!
— Stephen Fry


UDF jump on board 'Paper Babylon'.

Ugly Duckling Films has jumped onboard to produce the upcoming feature PAPER BABYLON with Blue Shadows Films (Butterfly Kisses, Wasp).

PAPER BABYLON is co-written by Henry Eagleton and Greer Ellison (Butterfly Kisses). Des Hamilton is the casting director. The project is receiving development funding from Northern Ireland Screen. Stephen Fry is an ambassador and has deemed the script "extraordinary".

Based on Eagleton’s own experiences, the film follows Josh, recently out of school, as he explores the hedonistic underbelly of London’s Soho gay scene. In his search for love in a loveless world, Josh teeters dangerously close to the perils of chemsex, becoming a victim to its allure. Fuelled by a fantasy with death and harbouring his own suicidal desires, Josh finds himself balancing on an increasingly fragile tightrope between life and death. A coming of age story about self-acceptance, PAPER BABYLON is a challenging but intimate look at how we come to terms with life.

The script was a participant of this year’s CINESTORY. Merlin Merton, Sophia Gibber and Lene Bausager will be producing. Casting will commence next month, with shooting set for the first quarter of 2017.

Said Merlin Merton of the coproduction, “Paper Babylon is an important but difficult story, with complex characters at its core. I’m extremely excited to be working with Lene and Sophia, who will bring their experience, great taste and sensibility to what will hopefully prove a powerful and original piece of filmmaking.”

Speaking on behalf of Bausager and Ugly Duckling Films, Sophia Gibber commented the following: “We’ve long been admirers of Merlin and his team, and were struck by the strength of the script and its subject matter. We’re looking forward to working together on this project, bringing what we deem to be an important aspect of our society’s culture to light."



Kara Smith and Judah London are interviewed by Hillary Frank

Award-winning writer/director Kara Smith, who has two projects with Ugly Duckling Films, and her incredibly talented chef son Judah, are interviewed by Hillary Frank (This American Life) on the latest episode of Longest Shortest Time.

Listen now to hear one of the freshest and most inspirational parenting stories of Kara's generation.

Characters. Makers.
— Ugly Duckling Films


Ugly Duckling Films & Pegasus Pictures

Ugly Duckling Films has teamed up with Icelandic company Pegasus Pictures (Fortitude, Revolution Reykjavik) to produce the satirical romantic comedy One Kiss, written by best-selling author Hallgrimur Helgasson (101 Reykjavik, Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning).

No, we’re not splitting up, we’re just gonna go in two different groups.
— Amir, Coherence


Kara Smith wins place on Guiding Lights scheme

Award-winning writer and director Kara Smith, who has two projects with Ugly Duckling Films, has been chosen to participate in the Guiding Lights mentorship scheme.

Read more about the scheme here.

Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.
— Pablo Picasso



Eddie Redmayne joins project written by James Higginson


Eddie Redmayne has joined Early Man, the film which Nick Park (Wallace and Gromitis directing for Oscar-winning studio Aardman Animation, based on a script by Ugly Duckling Films' favourite, James Higginson. James Higginson has written two scripts for Ugly Duckling Films: 7 Island City and Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning.

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