Paramount Pictures International has signed a three-year first-look deal with London and Los Angeles-based Zilli Films, which operates MTV Films Europe.

CEO and founder Jonathan Zilli and head of development and production Bobby Allen run Zilli Films, which has the license to develop MTV branded feature films in Europe. MTV Networks, like Paramount, is a Viacom company.

MTV Films Europe develops, produces and acquire slow-budget, local-language feature films throughout Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. The films target MTV's teen and young adult demographic. MTV Films Europe has recently been involved with projects including Dirty Sanchez The Movie, German film Cutting Edge and Toronto buzz hit Bunny Chow.

Before establishing Zilli Films in 2003, Zilli was the senior vice president of international Licensing for Paramount Pictures for 11 years.

Paramount chairman Brad Grey announced the deal at Monday's launch party for London-based Paramount Pictures International, as part of the company's wider strategy to acquire local films in international markets.

'We are delighted to be entering into this agreement with Jonathan Zilli and Bobby Allen and greatly look forward to working with them,' said Andrew Cripps, president of Paramount Pictures International. 'They have established great relationships with producers, directors and writers throughout the European film community. This agreement is a huge step forward in our plans to be more aggressive in the local content business.'

Jonathan Zilli added: 'Our strategy has been to focus on the 15-25 year old demographic on a local language film basis while leveraging our relationship with MTV Networks, which, through their local channels, optimize the marketing and promotional opportunities for our films. With this agreement and the launch of Paramount Pictures International we are excited to be part of the Paramount family and help Andrew and his team build a strong local film business.'

PPI started its operations earlier this month. In September 2005, Paramount and Universal announced that they would scale back their international distribution joint venture, UIP, in order to establish their own separate international operations in 15 territories.