Marco Cherqui's Paris-basedproduction house Chic Films is teaming up with Why Not Productions on the nextproject from director Jacques Audiard, whose The Beat That MyHeart Skipped was the hit of Berlinlast year.

The film is called TheProphet. Currently putting the final touches on the script, based on anoriginal idea from writers Abdel RaoufDafri and Nicolas Teurfaillit,Audiard will start shooting in Franceat the end of the year.

The story of a young orphan of North African descent, thefilm traces his rise to criminal fame, aided by the Corsican mafia, as the headof France'ssuburban gangs. No budget has been set but casting is to begin shortly.

Beat leads thepack in France'sCesar nominations with ten including Best Picture, Director and Actor. Theceremony will be held February 25.

No sales agent is yet attached to The Prophet, although Chic's Lauranne Bourrachot told Screenthat he is looking to close a deal during EFM.

Also on Chic's line up is The Third World People by Antoine Desrosieres.Shot in English and starring Kristin Scott Thomas and EdouardBaer, the film is budgeted at Euros 4.9m. Shooting should begin in South Africa this summer on the adventure comedythat brings together two westerners against the backdrop of AIDS research.Scott Thomas will play Jeanne, a hard-nosed journalist who takes herselfslightly too seriously while Baer will play Guido, her cameraman, who's lookingfor some good old-fashioned vacation sex.

Shooting will also begin on A Fond by Frederic Jardin this summer. Afamily holiday comedy, the film is a Euros 13m co-production with Thomas Langmann's La Petite Reine.

Also drumming up interest is Black, an action comedy set in Parisand Dakar. Hip hop star MC Jean Gabstars in the Euros 3.9m film to be directed by Pierre Laffargue.Shooting is slated for October 2006.

Finally, Chic is readying a Marvin Gaye project with theworking title Sexual Healing. TheEnglish language film will take a semi-fictionalized look at the singer's lifeand, especially, the time he spent living in Belgiumwhere he penned his most famous song. The project is written by Paul Rambali, a journalist and former editor in chief of The Face, who divides his time between Parisand London.