German director Robert Schwentke begins shooting thethriller Flightplan in Berlin today (Dec6) with a cast including Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean and KateBeaham.

The film is billed asclaustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughterfly home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobodyadmits she was ever on the plane.

Studio Hamburg International Production (SHIP), theEnglish-language division of Studio Hamburg Produktion (SHP), is handling productionservices for the Touchstone Pictures/Imagine Entertainment drama

"We weren't actually planning to start [SHIP'soperations] with a production service film, but it just happened that way; thisis the first film we have brought to Germany," SHP CEO Sytze van der Laantold "We hadworked on it for more than a year in LA through [SHIP international productionchief] Stuart Pollok who had been discussing with Robert Schwentke about theadvantages of shooting the Berlin scenes in the script here. Disney, though,had wanted to do this in Toronto, but we suggested organising a location tourfor them [in Berlin] and this worked."

SHIP is cooperating with Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictureson the logistics for the shoot in Berlin and at Leipzig airport from December6-16.

Meanwhile, van der Laan revealed that Oscar-winning Germandirector Florian Baxmeyer has been chosen to direct SHIP's first projectproper, the children's adventure film The Mystery Of Skeleton Island, which will be the first in a trilogy of featuresbased on the The Three Investigatorsseries of books by Robert Arthur.

Shooting will begin in mid-2005 at South African locationsfor the Euros 10m English-language production which is being financed fromGerman and South African sources as well as by a tax fund. "We arecurrently in final negotiations with two funds that have made competingoffers," van der Laan explained. "And we have three major studios whohave made competing offers, so we are sure that we are financed."

SHIP was launched in May 2003 with offices in Hamburg andLos Angeles to produce internationally marketable European co-productionsbetween Euros 5m-15m and serves as the exclusive production partner for theFuture Film Group's German media fund as part of a strategic alliance.