Jim Sheridan, director of The Boxer, In The Name Of The Father and My Left Foot, is readying to shoot tentatively titled drama East Of Harlem as soon as next month - strike or no strike.

Sheridan and regular producing partner Arthur Lappin are setting up the $10m-$11m production with an international cast and independent financing, probably out of the UK, along with Irish tax breaks. The project is already on the verge of pre-production, with the film-makers aiming for a June shoot if everything comes together in time.

'We're working like Trojans,' said Lappin, who will produce with Sheridan for their Ireland-based production outfit Hell's Kitchen.

The project is to shoot in New York for two weeks and in studios in Ireland. Sheridan, who will direct from his own script, has been developing the loosely autobiographical story for several years. Set in the 1980s, it follows an Irish family who come to the US to rebuild their lives after the trauma of the death of a son.

Sheridan is also attached to two projects at Twentieth Century Fox which could go in roughly six months. One is an adaptation of the US novel I Know This Much Is True, the other an epic drama about the Irish in America.

Lappin and Sheridan are considering a longterm deal after the end of their overhead arrangement with Universal last year. 'Something that gives us access to discretionary funds to develop and some support for overheads in return for first-look,' said Lappin.