Canada's Alliance Atlantis has made what is arguably its first foray into the heart of Hollywood, signing an exclusive four year development deal with Bedford Falls Co, the LA-based production company run by Ed Zwick and Marhsall Herskovitz.

Under the arrangement, which kicked off on April 1, Alliance Atlantis will furnish Bedford Falls with a development fund - "in the mid-seven figures" according to Alliance Atlantis - allowing the two companies to co-produce films.

The deal does not prevent Zwick and Herskovitz from producing existing projects with other companies or from taking on directing or writing assignments that also have a producing component.

They were most recently based at Fox 2000 Pictures where Zwick directed Courage Under Fire and The Siege. They were producers on Steven Soderbergh's Traffic and together created hit TV series Once And Again (their TV credits include the landmark series thirtysomething). Zwick also won an Oscar as a producer on Shakespeare In Love which he was scheduled to direct at one time. Herskovitz's directing credits include Jack The Bear and Dangerous Beauty.

The Bedford Falls deal comes in the midst of a furiously busy period for the Toronto-headquartered company. Currently shooting in the south of France is Double Down directed by Neil Jordan and starring Nick Nolte and Ralph Fiennes and in Toronto is Owning Mahowny co-produced with Andras Hamori's H20 Pictures with which Alliance Atlantis has an first-look arrangement. The film is Richard Kwietnowiski's second after Love And Death On Long Island and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver.

Hamori also produced Alliance Atlantis' $25m actioner The 51st State with Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle and is an executive producer on Company Pictures' Morvern Callar directed by Lynne Ramsay which also recently completed principal photography in Spain and Scotland.