Three veteran British directors are in the finalstages of pre-production on films which will commence shooting in Ireland before the end of the month. The three films aretimed to beat the 31 March deadline on the existing UK tax regime and are among a last group of productionsto utilise the stable but threatened co-production arrangements between Ireland and the UK and, in one instance, between the UK and Canada.

First off the blocks will be long-time Irish residentJohn Boorman's Tiger'sTale which will start rolling on March 20 around Dublin and Wicklow. Starring Brendan Gleeson and Kim Cattrall, Tiger'sTale is the comic story of a successful businessman in contemporaryboom-time, 'Celtic Tiger' Ireland, whose life begins to unravel when he encounters hisdoppelganger.

Tiger's Tale is being produced by Boorman'sown production outfit Merlin Films, and backed by the Irish Film Board and theUK Film Council with Moviehouse Entertainment (UK)handling world sales.

On March 26, from a base in County Monaghan just south of the border with Northern Ireland, Nicolas Roeg will beginprincipal photography on Puffball,his adaptation of the Fay Waldon novel scripted byDan Weldon, the novelist's son.

The Ireland/UK co-production between Grand Picturesand Tall Stories stars Miranda Richardson and Kelly Reilly and is scheduled toshoot over six-weeks on both sides of the border, backed by the Irish FilmBoard, the Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission and the UK FilmCouncil.

Richard Attenborough will be back in the director'schair on March 27 when production gets underway in Belfast on the UK/Canada co-production, Closing the Ring. Starring Shirley McLaine,Closing the Ring is a romantic dramaset in the US and Ireland, about a woman whose life is changed when she findsa gold ring on an Irish hillside. Production will be based for five weeks in Northern Ireland before shifting to Canada where the American sequences will be filmed.

Other films intending to beat the 31 March deadlineinclude Treasure Entertainment's Shrooms, Ecosse and Octagon Film'sBecoming Jane, and Janey Pictures' 32A.