NZ Film has pre-sold six territories including the UK to BlackSheep, a first film from New Zealand aboutkiller sheep, ensuring the film will go into production this year.

Icon hasacquired UK, Australian and New Zealand rights to writer/director JonathanKing's debut comedy horror. Jiants has taken rights in Thailand,Singapore and Malaysia.

The film is the story of a genetic experiment that goeshorribly wrong. New Zealand's 40 million sheep start turning nasty,frightening the life out of the country's four million humans.

Icon Australia chief executive Mark Gooder said: "Onlya New Zealand filmmaker could come up with a story that turns the cute andcuddly into the evil and menacing. This is a fun project that is simply andundeniably commercial in its intent. Icon is excited to be involved with it atsuch an early stage."

Black Sheep is beingproduced by Philippa Campbell (Rain, Number Two) of Escapade Pictures.

"BlackSheep takes the iconic elements of the farming landscape and culture and putsthem through the horror wringer," says King. "The animals,locations and traditions of the Kiwi countryside burst to life, turn inside outand go for the jugular."

Initial design work for the creatures is being provided byWellington-based Weta Workshop, headed by Richard Taylor. He and his team wonfour Academy Awards for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.