Splendid Pictures, the newproduction and sales outfit formed from the merger of Germany's SplendidMedien and LA-based Cutting Edge Entertainment, is to produce BilleAugust's next English language feature the noir thriller WithoutApparent Motive.

Set to begin production inLos Angeles this spring, the film is being produced by Bob Yari, Faye Schwaband Mary Apick, the principals of YSA Productions, and Amedeo Ursini of JazzPictures. Splendid toppers Andreas Klein and David Glasser will executive produce.

The movie written by EricBlakeney is the story of a sheriff's detective on an assignment to findthe murderer of three high-profile LA businessmen. His ability to get insidethe mind of a serial killer leads him through a series of suspects that extendsto the city's political and social elite.

Danish-born August, who wonthe Cannes Palme d'Or and an Oscar for Pelle The Conquerer in 1988 and a second Palme d'Or for TheBest Intentions in 1992, has aspotty track record with English-language films - The House Of TheSpirits, Smilla's Sense OfSnow - although he won an Emmynomination for his work on the TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and his 1998 film of Les Miserables with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman wasmoderately well-received.

His sporadic films inSwedish - Jerusalem (1996)and A Song For Martin last year- were highly acclaimed and both scored US distribution deals throughFirst Look Pictures.

The deals between Splendidand all other parties were negotiated by Harrison Kordestani, vice president,business affairs, at Splendid Pictures.Bille August was represented byFred Specktor and Adam Krentzman of CAA.

Without Apparent Motive joins Splendid's AFM slate which also includesThe Courier to be directed by JanDe Bont, Dolan's Cadillacto be directed by Stacey Title and Bounty Killer to be directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and produced byGale Anne Hurd. Heading the company's sales department is newly appointedpresident of distribution Lisa Wilson.