UK film-maker Alan Parker may not have as much time as he would like to make films since taking up the chairmanship of the government's film super body the Film Council - but at least he can take his time.
The director of Angela's Ashes, Evita and The Commitments has renewed his first-look deal with Universal Pictures for another two years. Parker, who works through his London-based production outfit Dirty Hands, will work with Graeme Mason, the UK-based president of worldwide acquisitions for Universal.
Universal inherited the deal through its acquisition of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE). The renewal is seen as significant in that it marks a degree of commitment to overseas-based production from Universal after the US studio closed down theatrical distribution through Universal Pictures International, the final incarnation of PFE.
Although Universal appears to be maintaining a strong international production interest through Working Title Films and Mason, it is widely expected to scale back international production levels compared to the prolific PFE. UK producer-director team Andrew Eaton and Michael Winterbottom, who had a first-look deal with PFE, are expected to strike a long-term pact with United Artists.