Michael Haneke, the Austrian director whose film The Piano Teacher (La Pianiste) scooped three of the top awards at Cannes last week, has set his next project as a series for television.

The series Das Weisse Band (literally The White Band) will be produced for state broadcaster ORF and shot in German, said Haneke's producer on The Piano Teacher, Veit Heiduschka of Wega Film.

Martin Schweighofer, also of Wega, said: 'Michael has written the script of Das Weisse Band, but has not yet decided whether he will direct it. This is an epic family saga and Michael first of all has to complete the foreign-language versions of The Piano Teacher. After that he'll need a break.'

Haneke, who was last night (Tuesday May 22) honoured in a glitzy ceremony at the Vienna city hall, has yet to unveil his next feature project. But he has told other industry sources that he hopes to be back on the Croisette by 2004.

'The artistic success of The Piano Teacher is set to be followed by a commercial success,' said Heiduschka, pointing to the strength of foreign sales.

The film, handled and produced by France's MK2, has been sold to some 30 distributors for distribution in 40 countries. Yann Marchet, sales executive at MK2, said that it had 'virtually sold out within Europe'. He completing deals in Italy, UK, Benelux, Spain and Portugal as well as secured sales in Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina and Central America. MK2 is now in final negotiations with distributors in Korea and Switzerland and has received offers from the US.

The Piano Teacher, which earned Haneke the Grand Prix Du Jury and acting Palmes for Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Magimel, was produced by Wega Filmproduktion, MK2, Les Films Alain Sarde, with additional finance from ORF, the Vienna Film Fund and Eurimages.