The UK's FilmFour has struck a first-look deal with Andrea Calderwood, formerly head of production at National Lottery franchise Pathe Pictures.

The deal was announced Wednesday by Paul Webster, FilmFour's chief executive. Calderwood steps down at the end of July from her current position to form her own production company.

"I have long been a huge fan of Andrea," said Webster. "She combines consummate good taste with large-scale ambitions and a crucial commercial understanding of the marketplace. She has the experience and the enthusiasm to make a first class partner for FilmFour, her talent relationships are second to none. I look forward to a long and prolific working relationship."

Calderwood added: "FilmFour has been doing impressive work in maximising the potential of UK and international independent films in Britain. I'm very excited to be building my new company in partnership with them. We share similar goals in investing in talent and aiming to raise the level of ambition of production from the UK, both in terms of the range and scale of production. Paul and I are very keen for the new company to be active in initiating a wide range of new projects for FilmFour, and I'm looking forward to a close and busy working relationship with Paul and his team."

Prior to joining Pathe, Calderwood made her mark as head of drama at BBC Scotland and executive producer at BBC Films, where her credits included Small Faces and Mrs Brown. The projects she initiated at Pathe include Oliver Parker's box office success An Ideal Husband, Lynne Ramsay's acclaimed Ratcatcher, Michael Winterbottom's large-scale Kingdom Come and Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, starring Johnny Depp.

Webster has been aggressively sewing up filmmakers with long-term deals. The feature arm of UK broadcaster Channel 4 has struck deals with filmmakers including Iain Softley; Tim Roth and Dixie Linder; Elizabeth Karlsen; Archer Street, the production outfit of Anand Tucker, Andy Paterson and Frank Cottrell Boyce; Dragon Pictures; and Paul Raphael.

FilmFour also recently formed a long-term co-production alliance with US studio Warner Bros Pictures. The deal, aimed at achieving FilmFour's long-cherished goal of making bigger-budget pictures, starts with Gillian Armstrong's $22m Charlotte Gray, starring Cate Blanchett.