Four films about a famous Hungarian blood drinking countess are thought to be in development worldwide - but one is taking shape in Hungary itself.

Atlantic Film is currently developing The Loves Of Elisabeth Bathory about the life of the 16th century Hungarian 'Blood Countess' who was rumoured to drink the blood of maidens to keep herself young.

Unlike many other scripts about this controversial figure, the screenplay by Pal Bokor and Eva Pataki concentrates on the love relationships in her life rather than its horror aspects.

The Euros 6m below-the-line budget is large for an Eastern-European production but Pal Bokor, who is also acting as the film's leading producer, has already put together two thirds of it.

Already committed to the project are co-producers Rudolf Biermann of Charlies's (Slovakia), Aydin Sayman of DE Yapimcilik (Turkey) and Dr. Veit Heiduschka of Wega Film (Austria).

Once 80% of the budget is together, Andras Hamori's Canadian company, H2O Motion Pictures is willing to provide the remaining one fifth.

However, the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary has refused to grant any money to the production.

Since the foreign participation is conditional on part of the budget coming from Hungary, the production is currently at a standstill.

The producer is hopeful, however, that when the Foundation decides on its next round of grants that its attitude towards Elisabeth Bathory's story will change.

The Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary declined to comment.