Alliance Atlantis Communications (AAC) is to finance White Clouds, the Italian-set kidnapping drama that was the last completed feature film screenplay from the late British dramatist Dennis Potter.

Adapted from on the novel Cara Massimina, by Italy-based British expat author Tim Parks, the story involves the abduction of a girl by an English teacher.

AAC Motion Picture Distribution president Patrice Theroux said that the project will go ahead next year as a co-production with Natural Nylon, the Brit-pack production outfit fronted by actors Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sean Pertwee and producers Damon Bryant and Bradley Adams.

Indeed, the Oscar-nominated Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley) was associated with the project as a possible acting lead when it was housed at BBC Films. At the time Palookaville director Alan Taylor was attached with Richard Miller producing. Miller produced James Mangold's Heavy and Maggie Greenwald's Sundance 2000 entry Songcatcher that was acquired recently by Trimark Pictures.

Theroux said AAC's re-engineered motion picture division, headed up by Seaton McLean, will build a new slate expanding its production mix. "We've had success with auteur-driven films and now we want to expand our production mix and bring in a more commercial component." Theroux said the company aims to be producing 10 films annually within 18 months, with budgets in the range of $5m. He added that AAC will continue to back higher budget projects like Istvan Szazbo's Sunshine and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ.

AAC's current slate includes writer-director John Maybury's Marlowe, another Natural Nylon co-production, which will likely shoot this spring or early summer, and Ronny Yu's 51st State, which will go into production in the autumn. Theroux said AAC hopes to sign a British actor in the second role beside lead Samuel L. Jackson.