Charles Sturridge's adaptation of the 1938 children'sclassic Lassie Come Home is to startshooting in Ireland from April with additional filming taking place on the Isleof Man.

Sturridge will direct for his own company, Firstsight Films,the US rightsholder Classic Media, and Ireland's Element Films. The Isle of ManFilm Commission is also backing the film.

Ireland's arts minister, John O'Donoghue, welcomed theannouncement in New York saying, "I am delighted that Classic Media andFirstsight Films have chosen Ireland. It demonstrates again the importance ofour Section 481 tax incentive which has been extended and enhanced anddemonstrates the Government's ongoing commitment to the Irish filmindustry."

The new Lassie film will mark the revitalisation of one offilm and television's longest-running franchises. Lassie has ten feature filmsand more than 675 half-hour TV episodes to her credit.

The original Lassie movie was followed by a series ofsequels with Hollywood legends Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Roddy McDowelland Jimmy Stewart. Casting details for the new film have yet to be announced.