A rom-com movie project situated in a real-life fairy-tale Principality is the recipe that Dutch indie film Producer Muriël Horst, owner of Equs Film, has taken to the Cannes Film Fesival in an effort to stir up interest.

Cooking Up A Country is a screenplay in development based on a self-published novel by the British writer James Vasey, a part-time resident of the self-declared independent Principality of Seborga, the hilltop medieval village based just over the border on the Italian Riviera.

The plot is a love story between an English academic and a Princess, who happens to be a chef in the village restaurant, set against a battle for survival of a traditional lifestyle in a globalised world, a problem that the English outsider and Michelin star chef try to solve.

Like fish ‘n’ chips and Barolo wine, Ben and Alessandra are an unlikely pairing, yet their shared passion for food and wine, and the community where they finally find peace, are the binding agent in their recipe for love.

Granted irrevocable independence in 954 by the Counts of Ventimiglia, Seborga was ceded to the King of Sardinia and Savoy in 1729. However, in 1960 local flower grower Giorgio Carbone revived faded dreams of independence, claiming that the sale was never legally registered and declaring himself His Tremendousness Prince Giorgio 1st.

The picturesque village of Seborga has just 300 residents and overlooks its wealthy neighbour the Principality of Monaco with whom Seborga shared two rulers in the 16th century.

The movie project is supported by Seborga’s real-life Princess Nina Menegato, who says that it will shine a light on the micro-nation’s efforts to seek official recognition.

“We have been working on this for some years and this film would give Seborga a lot of visibility and create great economic opportunities. “Cooking Up A Country” is not just a fun love story, but it is also about bigger themes that the world is struggling with.”

Equs Film owner and Producer Muriël Horst brought Seborga’s ceremonial guard to the Cannes Film Festival for a photo-op on Sunday, May 21, in the company of interested partners, including Producer Mark Foglino (The King’s Speech), Remco Mastwijk CEO visual effects company Filmmore and Roberto Lo Crasto, Head of Production at the Genova Liguria Film Commission.

Seborga is just a one-hour drive from Cannes and guests will be granted an audience with Princess Nina, a ceremonial tour and a lunch to taste local culinary specialities.

Horst who is also a part-time resident of the Principality of Seborga says the project literally came to her. “Have you ever found yourself in a place that is just like a movie? And you are reading a book about that place that is so good and funny that you wished it really should be a movie? So that’s what I did. I set out on this journey to share the story of Cooking Up A Country with the world.”

PHOTO: Princess Nina Menegato Producer Muriël Horst, Equs Film Kaidi-Katariin Knox

Principality of Seborga website: https://www.principatodiseborga.com/en/history