Summit Entertainment has taken on worldwide sales excluding the UK to Mike Leigh's upcoming untitled film. The project will be financed by Ingenious, FilmFour, the UK Film Council's Premiere Fund, and Summit.

The follow-up to the multiple award-winning Vera Drake will be produced by Leigh's long time producer, Simon Channing Williams, who said that the budget would be about $10m. Gail Egan will serve as executive producer.

Summitis a new potential home for Leigh's films after a two-film relationship with StudioCanal, which encompassed Vera Drake and All Or Nothing.

Channing Williams said that therewas no cast attached to the new film at this point. Casting would beginin April, rehearsals will follow in the autumn of 2006with shooting in late spring or early summer 2007 in the UK.Channing Williams noted that the schedule wouldremain flexible, but that the film would be delivered before Christmas 2007.

As is typical with Leigh's working style, even his producerdoesn't have the remotest idea what the project will be about. 'It's simply another Mike Leigh film,' said Channing Williams, who also produced The Constant Gardener and Panorama opener Brothers of the Head. "Beyond that, until the casting processstarts and we see what mix of cast is available for Mike to work with, we won'tbegin to have an idea of what it's going to be about. That story happens duringthat extended rehearsal period."

This is the first time that Leigh and ChanningWilliams have worked with Summitwhose executive vice president David Garrett brokered the deal.

"We think they have absolutely the right sensibilities forthis," said Channing Williams. "We think that theywill be suitably aggressive in terms of getting the best deals out there."

"We seized the opportunity to work with Mike Leigh, Simon Channing Williams and Gail Egan and we are thrilled to be part of this great collaboration with Ingenious, UKFC and Film Four to bring Mike's vision to the world's screens," Summit chief executive officer Patrick Wachsberger added.

Many of Leigh's key crew including cinematographer DickPope, editor Jim Clark, production designer EveStewart, line producer Georgina Lowe, make-up designer Christine Blundell, andcostume designer Jacqueline Durran have signed on forthe new film.

The filmmakers retain the UK rights, although UK television rights have already been taken by Channel 4.