Le Studio Canal Plus has signed a three-picture deal with UK film-maker Mike Leigh and his producing partner Simon Channing-Williams. The acclaimed director had also been in financing discussions recently with United Artists Films.

Le Studio is now expected to fully finance the Leigh trio with Les Films Alain Sarde, in which Canal Plus owns a 49% stake.

Pierre Edelman, who was instrumental in bringing David Lynch's The Straight Story to Le Studio, brokered the link-up. Edelman joined Le Studio last year after bringing festival favourites such as Lynch, Leigh and Pedro Almodovar into the now-defunct CiBy 2000 production fold. He will act as associate producer on the first title in the deal with Leigh, an untitled project, which is scheduled to start shooting in September.

Le Studio, which recently set up a joint French distribution venture with Jean Labadie's Bac Films, has already acquired French rights to Leigh's latest title, Topsy-Turvy.