Director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) has signed a "first look" agreement withthe German private media fund VIP for his own in-house developed film projectsas opposed to those offered to him by Hollywood studios.

As part of the agreement, the German-born director and VIP'sAndreas Schmid are planning to set up a joint production outfit in Munich bythe end of November and are already discussing the first joint projects whichare expected to have budgets ranging between Euros 40m and Euros100m..

Commenting on the agreement, Emmerich said: "Andreas'approach regarding financing and production goes well with my way of makingfilms. Moreover, I now have the opportunity of working with an establishedGerman partner. That's something I've always wanted to do".

The alliance with Emmerich is another stage in CEO AndreasSchmid's strategy of establishing VIP as a leading player in the field ofinternational film production and film financing.

Over the last couple of years, VIP has come to prominence bybacking such projects as the Oscar-winning Monster, the comic book adaptation The Punisher, as well as the German comedy 7 Dwarves (7Zwerge) which opens in German cinemas thisThursday (October 28) and the Uli Edel TV mini-series Dragon Gold(Ring Der Nibelungen) which has its TVpremiere on SAT.1 in November.

According to VIP spokesman Christoph Scheule, the currentfund VIP 4 is expected to raise over Euros 300m by the end of the year, withEuros 230m already collected so far from private investors. The first fund in2001 raised Euros 10.4m, followed by VIP 2's Euros 91.5m in 2002 and VIP 3'sEuros 235m last year.