Splendid Pictures has begun production in Los Angeles on the wartime thriller U-Boat, starring William H Macy, Lauren Holly and Scott Caan. North American rights have gone to Artisan Entertainment as part of a two-picture deal under which Artisan also acquired North American rights to Heaven's Pond, which is currently in post-production. Splendid will sell U-Boat to other territories worldwide.

U-Boat centres on a group of American POWs who are forced to co-operate with their captors on a German submarine when disaster strikes. The picture is directed by Tony Giglio, whose credits include Soccer Dog: The Movie, from a screenplay he co-wrote with John E Deaver.

"William H. Macy brings a real humanity to a film about war. The cast is rounded out by some of the hottest young stars today," said Splendid Pictures principal David Glasser. Glasser will executive produce with co-principal Andreas Klein and Bob Yari, Carol Gillson and Mark Williams of Pierce/Williams Entertainment. John Brister, who devised the story, will produce along with Michael Pierce.

Splendid Pictures was established earlier this year after Splendid Medien AG of Cologne, Germany acquired a majority stake in Los Angeles-based Cutting Edge Entertainment. Previous credits include the acclaimed police thriller Narc starring Ray Liotta and the company is in pre-production on Without Apparent Motive starring Richard Gere.