XIII Bis Organisation, a leading French independent music group, is making its first foray into the film business, with Anima, a fantasy thriller written and to be directed by in-house artist and composer Christophe Pascal.

The French-language film, set in France and The Netherlands, in the 17th century, involves a master of the Delft school, one of his models and a French police captain. The police officer communicates with both of them in his dreams, while also working on a series of murders in a French art museum.

The cast already includes Francois Cluzet (a Claude Chabrol regular who was seen recently in Nicole Garcia's L'Adversaire), Richard Bohringer and Charlie Chaplin's grand-daughter Kiera Chaplin (who will be seen next in Jay Craven's The Year That Trembled).

Technical crew include multi award-winning production designer Jacques Bufnoir (Indochine, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries and recently Kiss Of The Dragon) and costume designer Caroline de Vivaise (Time Regained and Intimacy).

XIII Bis, which won this year's ASCAP award as best music publisher of the year, has started to set up financing for the film, which will carry a $5.4m-$6.8m (Ffr40m-Ffr50m) price tag and is to start shooting in autumn 2002, and will be seeking Dutch and British partners.

President and CEO Laurent Dreux-Leblanc, who created the company in 1991 said: "We basically do the same thing, the music and film business both involves creativity, our job is to discover talents and give them the industrial platform they need, only the technical side differs. The main differences being that the music business does not involve public or third party financing and it does not benefit from secondary markets, such as television and home video."

The XIII Bis group includes publishing (XIII Bis Music in France, Rive Droite Music in the UK, Right Bank Music in the US) and record labels (XIII Bis Records, in France, the UK, Spain and Germany), as well as sound studios.

The company, which owns a 5,000-title music catalogue and represents a further 25,000 titles (the group also handles the catalogue of independent US music publisher Hamstein) already has ties with the film industry, as a music producer for such films as The Pillow Book and Nettoyage A Sec.