A project by Raoul Ruiz and another executive produced by Larry Clark are the first pictures to be assisted by one of Europe's newest producer's representatives Backup Films.

The company, founded earlier this year, sees itself as a financial specialist that can put together packages of funding solutions on behalf of creative producers. Producer's reps are relatively scarce in Europe compared with the US where they are a common feature of the film-making landscape.

"So many countries are currently tightening up conditions attached to the traditional funding sources that the financing of every film is becoming more complicated. Every one is forced to look further and wider to put its budget together," said Joel Thibout, one of Backup's four principals.

"Equity and tax schemes are becoming especially interesting right now, even for US producers who want or need to work in Europe. In those instances we can work with them on a case by case basis or as their long term representative in Europe," said Thibout, a former sales executive at France's Films Distribution

Backup is also headed by production specialist Olivier Aknin, former Gaumont TV executive David Atlan-Jackson and international media lawyer Jean-Baptiste Babin.

"Our role normally stops when a sales agent gets involved. That's where we expect to be soon with the Ruiz picture," said Thibout. The film Le Livre A Rendre is produced by France's Elzevir Films and will star Johnny Hallyday. A $3.2m story of criss-cross destinies it will shoot from January 2003. Moving ahead first will be Asbury Park, a first feature by Beata Heinrichs, starring Vincent Gallo, executive produced by Larry Clark and produced by the UK's Riverchild Films on a $1.5m budget.