Peter Greenaway, the experimental British director whose Tulse Luper Suitcases screens in competition tomorrow, has set 55 Men On Horseback as his next film.
The long-gestating project is described by his producing partner Kees Kasander as "a very commercial, lighter piece".
The Euros 6m-Euros 7m picture draws on 18th Century British painter George Stubbs' series of flying horses and naked riders and tells a tale of a man who tried to seduce a woman by sending messages on the back of the pictures.
"It is very erotic and very funny," said Kasander, who reckons Greenaway could be ready to shoot by next summer, after he has delivered the final instalment in the Tulse Luper trilogy.
"There are 55 stories to be told, but from Tulse Luper we have learned how to deal with this and will only include a few stories in the film. The rest will go on DVD. It will be a relief to do a conventional film of less than two hours again with Peter."
The film is likely to be structured as a co-production involving Kasanders' usual array of UK, Dutch and German partners, although he is also seeking to bring on a French co-producer. Earlier this week Greenaway told Screen International that he is also preparing Historian, a history of the last 1,000 years, which he described as "a Chinese Henry VIII."
Kasander Films is also preparing a trio of other films this year, headed by Christie Malry-director Paul Tickell's Tempesta, Ben Sombogaart's kids film Crusaders In Jeans and a documentary feature on Frank Zappa.
Tempesta, which shoots in October on a Euros 7.5m budget is a European suspense picture set in the underworld of the Venetian art world and is based on a Juan Manuel De Prada bestseller. Production partners include Luxembourg's Delux, Spain's ABS, France's Kaleo, Germany's Net Entertainment and Italy's Leo Pescarolo. A sales company will be appointed within the next month.
The untilted Zappa documentary is directed by renowned documentarian Frank Scheffer and counts on the participation of Zappa's widow Gail and several of his children. "We will try to discover a little about what made Zappa an icon and why we continue to miss him," said Kasander. "We will also try to get that concert feeling into the cinemas, Frank would have loved that."
Sombogaart, who recently directed Twin Sisters, this week sold to Miramax for North America, will direct Crusaders In Jeans. The film sees contemporary children taken back in time to the crusades of 1212 and cross the Alps behind the marauders. Michael Heuser's Storm Entertainment will handle international sales.