LosAngeles-based distributor New Films International is moving into productionwith the announcement that it is co-producing an adaptation of Lisa CareyC;sromantic novel The Mermaids Singing starring Jessica Lange,Neve Campbell and Evan Rachel Wood.

New FilmsInternational will retain all worldwide distribution rights to the $10mproject, which is due to begin filming in Eastern Europe in summer 2005, andthe company will commence sales at AFM this week.

TheMermaids Singing centres on three generations of women whose livesand loves leave potent personal legacies. Memoirs Of AGeisha writer Robin Swicord will make her directorial debut from heradapted screenplay.

J Todd Harrisand Tim Daly, who acquired rights to the book while partnered at Daly-HarrisProductions at Paramount Pictures, are set to produce.

New Filmspresident Nesim Hason, vice president of worldwide acquisitions andco-productions Ron Gell and Sezin Sonar-Hason will serve as executive producersalongside Larry Weinberg and Don Schneider of E3(cubed) Entertainment, and Marcand Peter Samuelson of Samuelson Productions.

@;We donC;t wantto just be known as distributors,A; Gell told Screendaily. @;New Films is a placewhere people can come for production money and finishing funds - we want thisto be a home for filmmakers.A;

@;After searchingthrough hundreds of projects, Mermaids stood out as the typeof quality material we were searching for,A; Hason said. @;We are thrilled tolaunch our co-production division teamed with such an outstanding script,wonderful cast and proven production partners.A;

New FilmsC; AFMslate also includes the Courtney Cox thriller November,which Sony Pictures Classics will release in the US in early 2005; the satireMarie And Bruce starring Julianne Moore and MatthewBroderick; Off The Map, a drama starring Joan Allen and SamElliott; comedy 2B perfectly Honest, which stars JohnTurturro; and the drama Book Of Love.