France's StudioCanal has formed a joint venture production company with Michael Ovitz's Artists Production Group (APG) to co-finance and produce 12 to 15 features over the next three years aimed at the US and international markets.

StudioCanal will hold international distribution rights to the titles outside the US where distribution partners will be decided by the venture.

StudioCanal said the formation of the joint venture underscored its "on-going objective to secure, through a series of strategic partnerships with leading sources, a balanced and dynamic mix of European and US feature films, both mainstream and independent, for its expanding pan-European theatrical, television and video distribution network."

StudioCanal's existing European network includes Bac Distribution in France, Tobis in Germany and Sogepaq in Spain. Further distribution set-ups are pending in the UK - where a partnership with Pathe is currently in negotiation - and Italy.

The joint venture, based at APG, will be headed by Ovitz with APG's Cathy Schulman in charge of production.

APG - founded by Ovitz, Schulman, Rick Yorn and Julie Silverman-York - has 35 projects in active development. It produced Ed Burns' Sidewalks Of New York, which is currently in post production, and plans to shoot Gravity, based on Tess Gerristsen's novel and an adaptation of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six this year. It is also co-producing Michael Crichton's Timeline and political thriller The 28th Amendment with the Donners' Company.