The UK's new look Film Four has optioned two high profile books, DBC Pierre's Booker Prize winning Vernon God Little for director Pawel Pavlikovsky and Monica Ali's Brick Lane for Ruby Films.

The books are among 45 projects currently in development at a slimmed down FilmFour, which is headed by former Channel 4 drama chief Tessa Ross.

Ross is also set to board Mission Pictures' film from director Dominic Savage, plus a project billed as 'a fiction and documentary from Lost In La Mancha directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe.

Other material comes from Channel 4 itself, a synergy which was not always apparent during the reign of the old FilmFour when the hit Ali G feature ended up at Working Title.

TV outfit RDF is set to appoint a writer to develop a feature film adapted from its hit TV series Faking It, a fish out of water reality show. The feature will be based on an episode where an an-Navy officer becomes a drag queen.

Ross also says she is also happy for other parts of the channel to move into film. Peter Dale, head of documentaries, is shepherding Spark, a post September 11 story about British Muslims from Simon Beaufoy, writer of The Full Monty.

Meanwhile, FilmFour has just boarded A Way Through The Woods, the directing debut of Oscar winning writer Julian Fellowes. BSkyB has the first UK TV broadcast through a deal with one of the film's main financiers, News Corp stablemate Fox Searchlight. Channel 4 and its film channel will then have concurrent windows.

Ross took over last year with a remit to return the channel to its early grassroots film-making, and is working with a budget of £10m.

See Screen International's current weekly edition for further details and interview with Tessa Ross.