Oscar winningdirector Sam Mendes has launched Scamp Film And Theatre, a new London basedfilm and theatre production company with co-directors Pippa Harris and CaroNewling.

The company hasalso unveiled a high profile film development slate, which includes projectsfrom some of the UK's top TV dramatists such as Paul Abbott, David Yatesand Peter Moffatt (see list, below).

Harris, formerlyhead of drama commissioning at the BBC, is in charge of the film division ofthe company.

Newling, who wasexecutive producer at the Donmar Warehouse with Mendes, runs the theatricaldivision of Scamp.

Along withprojects he directs himself, Mendes plans to executive produce both film andtheatre productions with Harris and Newling, working with a range of directorsacross the slate.

Harris said thatMendes could 'potentially direct any one' of the projects, with theexception of Lifestorywhich will be directed David Yates. Mendes is also free to direct projectsoutside the company.

Scamp has a firstlook deal on all of its films with DreamWorks Pictures, which financed anddistributed Mendes' American Beauty and Road to Perdition.

Tom Fool is being developed with Working Title,while Lifestory is forBBC Films.

Harris added thatone of the strengths of the company was that it had 'the ability tocross-fertilise in terms of its film and theatre side.'

The KiteRunner, aScamp/Wonderland co-production, based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. Astory of two childhood friends, set against the turbulent history of the lastthirty years in Afghanistan. The book is being adapted by Paul Abbott (Stateof Play, Clocking Off)and will be his first feature film screenplay.

Sweeney Todd is beingadapted by John Logan (The Last Samurai, The Aviator) from the celebrated stage musical byStephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and Hugh Wheeler (book).

Lifestory a Scampproduction for BBC Films, based on William Nicholson's (Shadowlands) award-winning Horizon docu-drama. The film charts the race to discoverthe structure of DNA, and will be written by Nicholson, and directed by DavidYates (State Of Play, The Young Visiters)

Tom Fool, aScamp/Working Title co-production written by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls), is a period thriller depicting theadventures of a 17th century court jester.

The Black Hotel, anevocation of late-flowering love by

Justin Haythewhose screenplay The Clearing starring Robert Redford has recently finished filming and will bereleased in 2004.

Other films onScamp's slate include a Second World War espionage thriller from PeterMoffat (North Square, Cambridge Spies), and a contemporary horror film by acclaimedplaywright Phyllis Nagy (Butterfly Kiss), who is about to start directing her own screenplayfor HBO films.