CineTel Films has teamed up with Steven Paul's Crystal Sky and Germany's VCL to produce the $5.2m action picture Viper starring Theresa Russell and Patrick Muldoon. CineTel's Paul Hertzberg and Lisa Hansen are producing the film, with Paul and VCL's Datty Ruth as executive producers. Jay Andrews, whose credits include Militia and Stealth Fighter, is the director.

Viper, which has already started production, is the first co-production between CineTel and Crystal Sky/VCL which have a multi-picture co-production and co-financing arrangement. VCL will distribute in Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia and the UK; CineTel will handle worldwide sales outside those territories.

Crystal Sky and VCL also partnered up last week with Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide to co-produce, a cyber-horror film to be directed by William Malone, director of Warner Bros/Dark Castle's House On Haunted Hill. The three had already teamed up on D'Artagnan, the Peter Hyams-directed swashbuckler which stars Tim Roth, Mena Suvari and Catherine Deneuve.

Viper is a high concept thriller about a plane containing a lethal prototype organism designed to survive in any environment which then crashes. The only people who can stop the eco-disaster are an agent for the secretary of defence and the female scientist who created it. Tim Thomerson, Lydie Denier and Tamara Davies also star.

Meanwhile CineTel recently sold A Rumor Of Angels to Brad Krevoy's Motion Picture Corporation Of America (MPCA) for theatrical release through its output deal with MGM in early 2001. The film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Ray Liotta and Catherine McCormack. CineTel also recently purchased film rights to Jay McInerney's novel Story Of My Life.