Rising British male star Chewitel Ejiofor, who shot to prominence opposite Audrey Tautou in Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, has joined the cast of African love story Girls At War, which is based at Andrea Calderwood's UK production outfit Slate Films.

The love story set in post-independence Nigeria aims to bring a dynamic new style to African cinema, with a kinetic mix of street humour, audacious fashions and "hi-life" music. Ejiofor will play a school teacher whose life is blown apart at the outbreak of Nigeria's civil war.

Promos and commercials director Andrew Dosunmu will shoot in Ghana on a $3.5m budget from a script by Biyi Bandele.

Slate also has Paul Laverty, Ken Loach's regular writer, writing Gull, a thriller set on a tanker on the high seas between Africa and Europe that Clive Gordon is to direct.

Additionally, Robert Carlyle is attached to star in Scottish boxing drama Benny Lynch for John Mackenzie.

"These are all talent-driven projects, with people who have a strong international profile, and whose work I have admired for a long time,' said Calderwood.