Armi Artsi's Milestone Media Group (MMG) has boarded a slate of four period features being readied by Scottish development and production outfit Palm Tree Productions. The deal was finalised at last week's Mifed film market.
Palm Tree recently secured independent financial backing from Monaco-based media investment company IP Hedge for the dramas Red Rose, Chopin's Widow, Voyage Of Dreams and The White Duchess, which are each budgeted in the $5m-$10m range (Screendaily Oct 15).
MMG will provide additional finance and take on international sales duties. Artsi said he was "very excited" to be representing quality European pictures and added that MMG would be positioning them as commercial rather than art-house fare.
MMG's arrival is expected to accelerate the move into production of at least two of the four. Chopin's Wedding, where Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson is attached, is now expected to shoot in April 2002. Fridriksson is in "informal, personal discussions" with Robert Carlyle to head the cast, according to Palm Tree's Mairi Sutherland. Red Rose, a Robert Burns biopic which will examine the poet's life and songwriting that is written by Sutherland, is now expected to shoot in Summer. Enigma star Dougray Scott has been linked to the project, but not confirmed.
Previously associated with low-budget drama in the $1m-2m budget range, Palm Tree has completed two digital features this year, road movie Lost In The Landscape starring Ruth Platt and James Watson and Scottish thriller The Hawk And The Dove also starring James Watson. They begin shooting The Winter Warrior in November. All three films were directed by Robbie Moffat.