Company is expected shortly to announce a partnership with a major Benelux distributor.

Umedia has confirmed a pre-production date of May 29 and a new director in Jahmil XT Qubeka on its drama The Riders.

The cast is headline by Liam McIntyre (Spartacus), Pixie Davies and Richard E Grant. Susie Brooks-Smith is producing, Umedia is handling world sales. 

Qubeka’s film Of Good Report, about a teacher-student relationship, was prevented from opening the Durban International Film Festival last year due to a refusal of classification by the South African Film and Publications Board. It was later cleared.

The news comes as Umedia, which has raised €330m through the Belgian tax shelter system over the last decade, is preparing to expand further. 

Umedia employs 100 people and is headquartered in Brussels, has offices in London, Los Angeles and Paris. It is active in financing, production and sales and supports 30 to 40 films a year.

The company (which helped finance Grace Of Monaco and The Artist) is expected shortly to announce a new partnership with a major Benelux distributor.

Umedia recently acquired Welcome To New York from Wild Bunch. It will release the film in Benelux through Belga. 

Speaking in Cannes, Adrian Politowski, CEO and co-founder, said that the company is no longer reliant on tax shelter funding.

Umedia is looking to produce six to eight films of its own each year, two of which will be French language. These will be in the $10m to $80m range.

“Where we are heading toward now is producing our films or partnering up with other producers who’ve developed and packaged films - and financing and producing them with these partners,” Politowski said.

Umedia is currently structuring the finance for $15m Italian/South African co-production Sand Castle, which is being produced by Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and will shoot in October. Gordon packaged the project. CAA brought Umedia aboard.

Financing is now complete on Giuseppe Tornatore’s romantic drama The Correspondence. This is Umedia’s second collaboration with Tornatore following The Best Offer and is being put together as a UK/Italian co-production.

The company is also partnering with Nigel Thomas’ Matador Pictures on post-apocalyptic zombie film Zafari.

Meanwhile, Umedia is now casting Rob Cohen’s heist thriller Risk.

Another project, Exit 147 by director Julian Jarrold, on which Umedia a is partnering with Mandalay, has been “pushed” to next year. Taylor Kitsch is still attached.