London-basedOdyssey Entertainment has signed a deal with Classic Media and Firstsight Filmsto handle worldwide distribution on Charles Sturridge's live action Lassie project.

Odyssey's RalphKamp and Louise Goodsill will represent the title at next month's AFM. UK andJapanese rights were recently sold to Entertainment and Shochiku respectively.

Sturridge willdirect from his screenplay based on Eric Knight's best-selling 1938 novel LassieCome Home, and hisFirstsight Films will produce with Classic Media.

Firstsightpartners Selwyn Roberts and Francesca Barra will serve as producers on theproject, which is due to begin filming in England, Scotland and the Isle of Manin spring 2005.

"It's apicaresque tale of adventure and landscape set in Britain before the secondworld war," Sturridge told Screen back in February (Screendaily, Feb 5 2004).

"The story tellsof this hard-up family who are forced to sell their dog to a mine-owningfamily, and the dog's subsequent attempts to escape and return home."

"We're building quite a stable of familyentertainment titles," Kamp and Goodsill said in a statement. "Butthere can be no more famous or welcome addition than the commercial clout and culturalphenomenon of Lassie."

"Odyssey'scommitment to family entertainment makes them a perfect distribution partnerfor the new Lassiefeature film," Classic Media's Doug Schwalbe added.

Odyssey's otherprojects include Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera, the animated feature Valiant, and period drama The Libertine.