Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko has wrapped principal photography on Bathory, anEnglish-language drama about the 17th-century Hungarian noblewomanand reputed murderess Countess Erzsebet Bathory.

The $13.5m project is a Slovak-Czech-UK-Hungarianco-production. Jakubisko Film Slovakiais the delegated producer in partnership with JakubiskoFilm Czech Republic. Film & Music Entertainment and LunarFilms represent the UK side, and Eurofilm Studio theHungarian side.

Financing for the film comes from presales to Czechand Slovak television broadcasters, grants from the Czech and Slovak statefunds, plus $828,000 (Euros 650,000) in Eurimagesfunding.

"Eurimages is pleased tohave supported the return of Juraj Jakubisko to the cinematographic scene with the film Bathory," Eurimages president Jacques Toubonsaid in press statement. "Through ourfinancial support we endeavour to promote European co-productions and thus hopethat this historical legend will be widely circulated throughout theinternational marketplace."

The film is set for domestic release in late spring2007. The film-makers are in discussions with potential international salesagents. "I think this film has a possibility for wide distribution," saidproducer Deana Jakubiskova, the director's wife."[Countess Bathory's] story is a very modern story.It's a story about a woman in a masculine world."

The film stars Anna Friel, HansMatheson and Karel Rodenamong others. The director originally cast FamkeJanssen in the title role but the Dutch-born actress dropped out of theproduction after a few weeks of shooting.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists Bathory as the world's most prolific mass murderer, andpopular legends accuse her of vampirism, but Jakubisko'sscript casts the countess as a defenceless widow. In the film, the countess (Friel) confronts the political machinations of her nemesisCount Thurzo (Roden) andthe love of the Italian painter Caravaggio (Matheson).

The film shot on various locations around the Czech Republicand Slovakia overa period of seven months.

Jakubisko,a veteran of the Czech New Wave, is the director of more than two dozen films,including 1997's An Ambiguous Report About The End Of The World.