Carmen Menegazzi, former head of Columbia TriStar's UK theatrical arm, has partnered on local drama Lifelines with UK media operation Zenith Entertainment for the first project from her production outfit Firelight Films.

Menegazzi and Zenith have struck a co-development deal on the £3m project, which is being written by Bridget Lawless. Other projects in development at Firelight include a romantic comedy, a historical drama, a psychological thriller and a New York-set comedy.

"I commissioned the script a year ago after a pitch from the writer," said Menegazzi. "Zenith saw it at first draft and its film-head Adrian Bate was extremely enthusiastic."

Lifelines forms part of a feature slate Bate has been overseeing at Zenith since the company split with producers Scott Meek and Nigel Stafford-Clark in July 1998. The company had been a significant presence in the UK film sector, backing features such as The Wisdom Of Crocodiles right back to 1986's Sid And Nancy and 1984's The Hit, by Stephen Frears. However, it is yet to greenlight a feature since parting with Meek and Stafford-Clark and this year agreed to sell its share in international sales outfit The Sales Co to Civilian Content.