Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group has boarded Scott Reynolds' New Zealand thriller Shearer's Breakfast and taken all distribution rights to the $2.1m film outside Germany and Australia.

Starring Radha Mitchell (High Art, Pitch Black) as a young woman whose roadside diner is invaded by a host of menacing criminals, Shearer's Breakfast starts shooting in New Zealand this week. Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group executive vice presidents Clint Culpepper and Peter Schlessel negotiated the deal with Australia's Beyond Films.

Beyond itself will release the film in Australia through its joint venture with UIP; Beyond had already presold the movie to Senator Film in Germany. Majority financing for the picture is coming from MBP, the dynamic German film finance house in which Beyond took a small stake earlier this year. MBP's Fund II which has a volume of up to $52m (DM 100m) is involved as majority co-producer in some 20 international feature projects - including Shearer's - to shoot in 2000/2001.

The film is being produced by Sue Rogers and co-stars Barry Watson, the young American actor who played a lead role opposite Helen Mirren and Katie Holmes in last year's Teaching Mrs Tingle. An announcement on who has taken the third lead is imminent.

Reynolds previously wrote and directed Heaven (1998), a psychological chiller starring Martin Donovan which was produced by Miramax and had a small US release through Dimension Films last year, and The Ugly (1997), a horror movie set in a mental hospital produced by Essential Films and The New Zealand Film Commission.

Culpepper said that there was no decision yet as to how the film would be released domestically.