Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures, the holding company for Vivendi Deutschland's media activities, has cut a deal with Myriad Pictures to house, co-finance and co-produce Neil Jordan's Borgia and the Ed Pressman production The Tenth Victim.

Babelsberg CEO Gabriela Bacher has accessed state guarantees from the state of Brandenberg with which to co-finance the films. Her deal to bring the state guarantee to the Myriad films is not to be confused with the media funds being developed by Vivendi Deutschland with its consultant CAA.

"The state guarantee allows me to highly collateralise my co-production share," said Bacher. "It's a very recent deal and, considering it was a state guarantee, it was put together quite quickly." Although she wouldn't be drawn on the budget percentage she is contributing, she said it was "meaningful". "Think in gap terms," she added.

Bacher, who took over the studio last year has been working to bring "classy films with European sensibilities and American know-how" to the facility which recently housed Roman Polanski's The Pianist and Jean-Jacques Annaud's Enemy At The Gates. She said she aggressively pursued Borgia which is directed by Neil Jordan and stars Ewan McGregor and Christina Ricci. The film is scheduled to shoot at Babelsberg in late 2002, to be followed immediately by The Tenth Victim.

Bacher will handle production of the films on behalf of Babelsberg, working on Borgia alongside producers Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey of Imagemovers and Jordan's producing partner Stephen Woolley. Nigel Phelps has been hired as production designer to recreate pre-Renaissance Rome on the lot.

The Tenth Victim is a remake of the 1965 Italian film directed by Elio Petri and starring Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni. Pressman acquired the rights from original producer Carlo Ponti and Canal Plus Image.

A futuristic thriller about a society where organised murder hunts are the norm, the film will be directed by Josef Rusnak (The Thirteenth Floor) produced by Myriad's Lucas Foster, Pressman and Jeff Most, and executive produced by Myriad co-presidents Kirk D'Amico and Philip Von Alvensleben, who together with Foster are also executive producing Borgia.