Greek director Theo Angelopoulos will next week commence shooting on The Weeping Field, the first part of his long planned, seven-hour trilogy that tells the story of a couple during the twentieth century.

Set for a 15-week shoot, the most expensive Greek production ever is financed by various national and international sources.

More than 50% of the $4.3m (Euros 5m) budget for the first part of the trilogy comes from the Greek Film Centre and the Cultural Olympics - part of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The three films will have a combined budget of $12.9m (Euros 15m).

The rest comes from a mix of European sources, such as France's StudioCanal, Italy's Instituto Luce as well as the regular Angelopoulos co-producer Amedeo Pagani through his Rome-based Classic Films.

Additional co-production partners are expected to join the project soon.

Angelopoulos has been scouting locations in countries such as the US and Canada, Israel, Iran and Russia where Gorki studios are expected to take a financial stake in the co-production. Telefilm Canada and the German public TV body WDR are also due to feature among the backers.

Scripted by the director and his long-time collaborator Tonino Guerra, The Weeping Field, adapted from a short story by the latter, covers the period from 1919, when the Red Army stormed Odessato, to the end of the Greek civil war in 1948.

The Weeping Field will be shot mainly in Greece. Angelopoulos has opted for two local young acting school graduates, Alexandra Aidini and Nikos Poursanides for the leading parts of The Weeping Field.