Former Edinburgh International Film Festival artistic director Lizzie Francke (pictured) has joined Little Bird, the Irish-based production company whose principals boast credits ranging from UK hit Bridget Jones's Diary to Werner Herzog's Invincible, to launch a horror label titled The Ministry Of Fear.

Francke is to bring in projects for a slate of horror films ranging from psychological gothic suspense stories to teen horror pictures. Most are envisaged as director-driven projects from rising newcomers, film-makers established in non-horror genres or classic horrormeisters.

"What drew us to Lizzie is that she has international talent relationships on the one hand and her very rigorous taste on the other," said Little Bird's Jonathan Cavendish. "She is coming in to develop a wide series of films."

Cavendish, whose producing credits include Ordinary Decent Criminal and Croupier along with Bridget Jones's Diary, aims for Ministry titles to have a strong international draw. "These won't just be British movies," he said. "They will be set all over the world and star international talent."

Francke, one of the leading candidates to head the low-budget production fund at UK support body Film Council, stepped down this August after running Edinburgh for five years. One of her innovations at the event was introducing the horror-laden Late Night Romps section.

"Maybe people will think Lizzie Francke - arty, but horror has always had a great tradition of filmmakers doing wild things," Francke said. "It also attracts bums on seats, and watching a film with an audience that is caught up with it is one of the things that cinema is all about."

Little Bird, which aims to significantly raise its output, recently appointed Sue Bruce-Smith to build production activities and international relationships. Bruce-Smith was previously head of sales at FilmFour.