The story of the Vienna Boys Choir, who were trapped in Australia during WWII, is being turned into a feature film by Studiocanal Australia.

The production company has struck a co-development deal with Australian producer Goalpost Pictures for the project, which is written by Keith Thompson, who adapted 2012 Cannes film The Sapphires.

Vienna Boys Choir tells the story of the Austrian choir whose 1939 World tour saw the choir of 20 young boys aged 8 to 14 trapped in Australia for the duration of the Second World War. What began as a PR exercise for Hitler’s Nazis became a life-changing experience for the boys, all of whom except one chose to remain in Australia after the war.

The film is the second feature to be funded through the Studiocanal Australia Cultivator Fund, following a biopic of Helena Rubinstein.

Thompson said, “I first heard the story of the Vienna Boys almost 30 years ago, but it’s one of those stories that’s impossible to forget since it’s the stuff of a great movie drama.”

Producer Rosemary Blight added, “This is an incredible and enduring story about resilience and hope in the face of some of the turbulent events of the last century and a timely insight into the contribution so many people from afar have made to Australia.”

Studiocanal Australian CEO Elizabeth Trotman said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with producer Rosemary Blight of Goalpost Pictures, writer Keith Thompson and Screen Australia for the development of Vienna Boys Choir. This inspirational and true story will no doubt captivate audiences both here in Australia and around the world.  It’s an exciting project that Studiocanal is very proud to be partnering with through our Cultivator Fund.”