John Carpenter will direct the psychological thriller The Ward starring Amber Heard that Glen Basner's Film Nation will introduce to buyers at EFM this week.

Echo Lake Productions and Peter Block's A Bigger Boat are collaborating on the story of a young woman in a mental institution who is plagued by a deadly ghost. Production is set to begin in May.

Michael and Shawn Rasmussen wrote the screenplay. Echo Lake's Doug Mankoff, Mike Marcus and Andy Spaulding are producing; they recently wrapped production on The Joneses starring Heard.

Peter Block and his recently launched company A Bigger Boat will be co-financing and co-producing. The company has an international sales agreement with Film Nation, although in this case Echo Lake and Film Nation struck a separate sales deal.

'The Ward is the kind of script that I've been looking for: a complex, visceral story, full of suspense and scares,' Carpenter said. 'I am especially pleased to be working with Amber because I know she will create a powerful central performance.'

'Working with John Carpenter on The Ward is a dream come true,' Block said. 'Fans everywhere, me included, have been waiting for just this kind of thriller from him. It's great to be able to tackle it with the Echo Lake gang whose work I've also admired for years.'

Heard is represented by Endeavor, Hyler Management and attorney Karl Austen and her credits include Pineapple Express, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane and Sundance 2009 world premiere The Informers.

Carpenter is handled by William Morris and Echo Lake Management. Writers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen are represented by Larchmont Literary Agency.