Denis Villeneuve, director of Toronto festival hit, Maelstrom, has signed to direct a new production to be co-financed by Alliance Atlantis and Toronto-based Rhombus Media, the producers of Francois Girard's The Red Violin and Don McKellar's Last Night. The new film, Boyd, will roll next spring. It will be Villeneuve's third feature and his first in English, as well as his first time directing material not his own. Written by Nathan Morlando, Boyd (a working title) is based on the exploits of Canada's most successful bank robber who cut a swath across the country in the 1950s. Alliance Atlantis Pictures International will handle world-wide rights. Niv Fichman will produce for Rhombus. Backers include Telefilm Canada, the Harold Greenberg Fund and COGECO Fund.

Alliance Atlantis Pictures International has also picked up worldwide rights (excluding the US) to World Traveler, from IFC Productions, the production arm of the Independent Film Channel. Bart Freundlich, who directed The Myth of Fingerprints, will direct Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup in the picaresque story of young man who just ups and leaves his life. Fingerprints producer Tim Perell takes that role again. The film goes before cameras later this month.

The deal was brokered by Alliance Atlantis' Mark Horowitz and Charlotte Mickie and, for IFC, by Jonathan Sehring and producers' representative John Sloss. The film begins production later this month.