Metropolitan Filmexport has picked up Ronny Yu's The 51st State for France from Alliance Atlantis Pictures International. The $28m film, the first production through Andras Hamori's H2O Motion Pictures, features Samuel L. Jackson as kilt-wearing chemist looking to market his designer drug in Liverpool's rave scene. The Metropolitan deal was cut by Mark Horowitz, President of Alliance Atlantis Pictures International. The film has yet to complete a US distribution deal.

Hamori, previously in charge of production at Alliance Atlantis, launched H2O at Cannes 2000 along with 18 other projects and a multi-picture first-look pact with the company. Other productions greenlit through his production deal are Morvern Callar, which began shooting in February, starring Samantha Morton, from Ratcatcher director Lynne Ramsey and the UK's Company Pictures; and Owning Mahoney, which rolls March 25, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and written and directed by Richard Kwietniowski, who directed Love And Death On Long Island.