Fortissimo Films hasgreenlit investments in upcoming productions by rising art-house directorsPierre Paul Renders and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.

Belgium's Renders,who previously made Venice 2001 film Thomas In Love, is to direct Mr Average, a French-language satirical romantic comedy thatshoots later this year.

The producers are innegotiation with a major French star for the role of a man whose taste isuncannily middle-of-the-road and is used as a marketing guinea pig trying tofind out what men like about women.

Mr Average is co-produced by Diana Elbaum of Entre Chien et Loup(Belgium), Jani Thiltges of Samsa (Luxembourg) and Alain Rocca of LesProductions Lazennec (France).

Ratanaruang is to direct InvisibleWaves, a film noir whichaward-winning cinematographer Chris Doyle will shoot. The script is beingwritten by award-winning Thai novelist Praba Yoon (Last Life In The Universe), with the film to be produced by Nonzee Nimibutr andFortissimo co-chief Wouter Barendrecht.

Ratanaruang, who recentlyshot to the forefront of international attention with Venice 2003 film LastLife In The Universe, thisweek collected an eight-award haul at the 12th Bangkok FilmCritics' Assembly in his native Thailand. Awards included best, picture, bestdirection and best screenplay.