ThemaProduction, which backed Match Pointand the forthcoming In Transit, hasannounced plans for a new dramatic feature based on the life ofRussian-American composer and pianist SergeiRachmaninoff.

The project,entitled Lilacs, is in pre-productionwith plans to shoot starting in August in Spain and at Thema'snew studio in St. Petersburg.

Paris-based Pavel Loungine, who previouslymade Taxi Blues and Luna Park, will direct.

"Lilacs will appeal to a very broadaudience since it is not a biopic, but an amazing modern love story," Loungine said. "Rachmaninoff's music which is known for itsbroad audience after such films as Shineand Groundhog Day will help the filmenormously."

Thema ispartnering with Rachmaninoff Conservatory, founded by SergeiRachmaninoff in Paris, and with Steinway and Sons.

Thema'sother 2006 projects include Werner Herzog's RescueDawn, Steve Surjic's I Want Candy and Bille August's Goodbye Bafana.Recently completed In Transit isbeing sold through Peace Arch in Cannes, as is Thema'sDelirious.

That's not theonly Rachmaninoff-related film in the works -- Bruce Beresford has announcedplans to direct Rachmaninoff project Rhapsody for Ed Pressman andFrederick Muller and Floyd Bradley of London-based Prelude Features.

Luxembourg-based Thema, with offices in London, Moscow, and St Petersburg,is a subsidiary of Russian financial services giant AFK Sistema.