United Artists Films (UAF) is close to striking a first-look deal with director-producer team Michael Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton, sources confirmed.

The move comes after UAF and Pathe Pictures financed the duo's epic love-story Kingdom Come set during the goldrush. That picture was one of three pictures, along with Directors' Fortnight entry Girlfight and Maggie Greenwald's Songcatcher, sold to Japanese distributor Shochiku

The first-look deal, which will cover Winterbottom and Eaton's overheads at their UK based production outfit Revolution Films, will replace their housekeeping pact with Universal Pictures International, which was due to expire.

However, Universal may seek to be still involved - potentially with UAF - in at least one upcoming project from the film-makers. Eaton and Winterbottom's development slate includes Fast Forward, which is a romantic comedy written by Nick Hornby; Manchester clubbing scene film 24 Hour Party People; and David Sherwin's Crusaders, which is set against the radical British film-making movement of the late 60s.