France's Wild Side Films has taken on the French rights to Singapore new writer-director Roy Lim's Untold Beauty, the debut project of two start-up production housesfrom Singapore, Rebel Productions and Shooting Gallery MotionPictures.

The acquisition marks thefirst pre-sale ever of an independent Singapore film to a major territory.

"We are always in search ofemerging talents from Asia and we think Roy Lim can be one of them," says WildSide Films CEO Manuel Chiche. "The UntoldBeauty script is dealing with a subject we haven't seen often on the screen- an embalmer's life and his place in Chinese culture, with poetry and thrills,and we think it can be a very original movie that will make you tear and fear."

The picture is a horror lovestory that revolves around a Chinese embalmer who views death emotionlesslyuntil he has to confront the haunting of his loved one. Through post-mortem andembalming rites, Lim wants to show death in a different light.

"The fear of death and thethought of passing a threshold between life and death are interesting yetfearful. The embalming craft is not only for preservation but ritual andsymbolic. Yet embalmers in some cultures are considered taboo and shunned," hesays.

Rebel Productions was set upby Lim as a production company. He also runs a distribution outfit StormPictures which previously handled the release of such foreign films as GasparNoe's Irreversible in Singapore.

Untold Beauty has an estimated budget of $1m. Production is expected to start earlynext year. Producer Juan Foo of Shooting Gallery is currently in Pusan in discussion with international sales agents torepresent the film.