Focus Features International has added Mike Leigh’s untitled new film to its Cannes slate after boarding worldwide rights excluding UK free television.

The upcoming project stars Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Phil Davis and is being co-funded by Focus Features International, the UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund and Film4, which retains UK free television.

Plot details are sketchy however it is understood Leigh will employ his unique improvisational techniques to construct an intimate portrait of people’s lives.

The film will carry a producing credit for Leigh’s longtime creative partner Simon Channing Williams, who died on April 11 after a long battle with cancer, and will be produced through Thin Man Films, the company founded by Leigh and Channing Williams.

Georgina Lowe will complete the new project as producer and Gail Egan, Channing Williams’ partner at Potboiler Productions, is executive producer.

“All of us at FFI are extremely proud to present Mike’s newest film, and honoured to continue Simon’s work with Georgina and Gail,” Focus Features International president of sales and distribution Alison Thompson said. “As ever, Mike has selected the finest actors to collaborate with.”

This will mark the fourth time Broadbent and Davis have worked with Leigh. Staunton earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in Vera Drake.

Leigh has received six Academy Award nominations in his career, including director and original screenplay for Vera Drake and original screenplay for Happy-Go-Lucky.

Focus Features International’s slate includes Cannes competition entries Broken Embraces from Pedro Almodovar and Taking Woodstock by Ang Lee, and Alejandro Amenabar’s out of competition screener Agora. Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle Of The Ninth is on the market roster, as are Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Invention Of Lying directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, and Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere.

Film4 and the UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund partnered with Thin Man on Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky. Film4 was one of the financiers on the Oscar smash Slumdog Millionaire and its upcoming projects include Ken Loach’s Cannes competition entry Looking For Eric, Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, Sam Taylor Wood’s Nowhere Boy, and Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle Of The Ninth.

The UK Film Council’s Premiere Fund’s roster includes Stephen Frears’ Cheri, Stephen Poliakoff’s 1939, Neil Marshall’s Centurion, and Sam Taylor Wood’s Nowhere Boy.