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.

However, TomFool is being developedwith Working Title, while Lifestory is for BBC 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.'

Scamp filmscurrently in development include:

The KiteRunner, a Scamp/Wonderland co-production, basedon the novel by Khaled Hosseini. A story of two childhood friends, setagainst the turbulent history of the last thirty years in Afghanistan.The book is being adapted by Paul Abbott (State of Play, Clocking Off) and will be his first feature filmscreenplay.

Sweeney Todd is being adapted by John Logan (The LastSamurai, The Aviator)from the celebrated stage musical by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) andHugh Wheeler (book).
Lifestorya Scamp production 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, a Scamp/Working Title co-productionwritten by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls), is a period thriller depicting the adventures of a17th century court jester.
The Black Hotel,an evocation of late-flowering love by Justin Haythe whose screenplay TheClearing starring RobertRedford has recently finished filming and will be released in 2004.

Other films on Scamp'sslate include a Second World War espionage thriller from Peter Moffat (NorthSquare, Cambridge Spies),and a contemporary horror film by acclaimed playwright Phyllis Nagy (ButterflyKiss), who is about tostart directing her own screenplay for HBO films.