German licence trader Telepool has picked up German rights to the live-action family entertainment film The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus which is set to begin shooting next year.

Based on a novel by The Wizard Of Oz writer L Frank Baum, the story tells how Young Claus became a world-wide legend.

John Stephenson, director of Hallmark Entertainment's Animal Farm and creative head of Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London, is attached to direct the film. Production is by Christian Arnold-Beutel of Germany's MagicWorx, Mark Byrne of What's The Story - the UK production company of casting directors John and Ros Hubbard - and Joel T Smith of US-based Burzee Inc.

International sales are being handled by Bjorg Veland of Norwegian sales and distribution outfit BV International, and Beutel told that "negotiations are progressing for a US theatrical release."