The UK's FilmFour has partnered with US actor Forest Whitaker and his production company Spirit Dance Entertainment to find, develop and produce projects by black and Asian film-makers.

FilmFour will have first look on projects that the two companies work on together. The partners aim to work with established film-makers and newcomers.

The move comes after FilmFour scored a runaway hit with British Asian comedy East Is East. FilmFour is handling Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai, starring Whitaker, in the UK.

"Forest is an all round creative thinker," said FilmFour chief executive Paul Webster. "He will be a very practical inspiration to the community."

Whitaker commented: "It's exciting to be working with FilmFour developing projects for black and Asian film-makers in Britain and allowing that community a way to express its voice through the many stories that they have to offer. My hope, entering into this endeavour, is to grow with them and to offer my services: to produce, mentor and partner."