FilmFour willwork with Ken Loach on his next feature, with a working title of These Times.
Loach, whose TheWind That Shakes The Barleyis in Cannes competition, will direct the new film from a screenplay by PaulLaverty.
FilmFour is thefirst company on board as co-financiers for the project, which will be producedby Loach's long-time producer Rebecca O'Brien at their Sixteen Films.
These Times will shoot this autumn on location inLondon and in Scotland. No casting has been done yet.
Plot detailsweren't revealed. "It's a contemporary story, we've just done a big periodfilm so we wanted to go back to current issues in our own country,"O'Brien told ScreenDaily.com.
FilmFour plans arelease similar to its multi-platform launch of Michael Winterbottom's TheRoad To Guantanamoearlier this year. Channel 4 will broadcast the film simultaneous with its UKtheatrical release.
"I think[the multi-platform release] will be very interesting because that's the way toreach the widest number of people," O'Brien said. "We can reach somany people through TV, but at the same time it respects our primary role asfilm-makers."
O'Brien said apre-sale had already been negotiated with Loach's usual French distributorDiaphana.
Loach previouslyworked with FilmFour on films including Bread and Roses, My Name Is Joe,Carla's Song, Ladybird Ladybird, Raining Stones and Riff-Raff. FilmFour worked with Sixteen Films most recently onhis The Navigators.
Added FilmFourhead Tessa Ross: "Working with Ken Loach is always a privilege and I amdelighted he is reuniting with FilmFour again."
Producer O'Briensaid that the budget hadn't been set and was still being raised, but it wouldbe in a range similar to Loach's recent works.
A deal with asales agent will likely be signed after Cannes.