TVA Films has picked up Canadian rights to new films from three major Canadian filmmakers, Francois Girard, Don McKellar and Guy Maddin, representing the entire production slate of Toronto-based Rhombus Media.

Rhombus produced Girard's films The Red Violin and 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould as well as McKellar's debut feature Last Night. All of the films will be produced by Rhombus principals Niv Fichman and Danny Iron

At $6.3m (C$10m), the Girard project, The Far Road, has the largest budget of the three. Iron told that the company was close to securing a coproduction deal with Hong Kong-based Salon Films.

Written and directed by Girard, based on George Johnston's 1963 novel, the film follows two journalists in the Chinese countryside during in the dying days of World War II in pursuit of an elusive and potentially explosive story. Iron said the film will shoot in China and Canada in February and March 2003 for delivery in March 2004.

McKellar will direct Child Star from a script by McKellar and Mike Goldbach. The $3.1m film will follow the career of a 12-year-old sitcom superstar who goes AWOL just as he set to shoot his first major movie. The film is set to shoot in Toronto in Spring 2003 with a release later in the year.

Maddin, one of the nation's most eccentric film artists, will write and direct $1.9m The Saddest Music In The World, based on an original screenplay by Anglo-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains Of The Day)

Set for principal photography in Winnipeg January of 2003, the film will be ready in the fall of 2003.