VIP Mediafondshas boarded Black Book,Paul Verhoeven's long-gestating $20m wartime thriller, as majority financier,finally giving a start-date to the project in August on location in TheNetherlands and at Studio Babelsberg.

The cast is ledby Dutch star Carice van Houten, Halina Reijn and Dutch actor Thom Hoffman. Thelead German parts are played by Sebastian Koch, Christian Berkel and WaldemarKobus. The English actors will be cast in the next couple of weeks.

London-basedContent International has been appointed to handle worldwide sales on theproject, Verhoeven's first European feature in two decades.

Set during the1940s, Black Book isthe story of a German Jewish girl who narrowly survives the war in Holland, butin the last days of the hostilities has to discover who betrayed her family. Itwill shoot in Dutch, German and English.

Black Book has been set up as a Dutch/German/UKco-production between Fu Works, Egoli Tossell Film, Clockwork Pictures andMotel Films.San Fu Maltha is producing through Fu Works with producersJens Meurer for Berlin based Egoli Tossell and Teun Hilte for London basedClockwork Pictures. Amsterdam based Jeroen Beker and Frans van Gestel producefor Motel Films.

The project isbacked by the Netherlands Film Fund, CoBO Fund, AVRO, Studio Babelsberg MotionPictures, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, FFA, Pro7/Sat1 and Eurimages. San FuMaltha's A-Film will be releasing along with Tartan in the UK and Pathe inFrance. Delivery is set for June 2006.

Here in themarket, A-Film Distribution has been on a buying spree. Recent pick-ups includeMichel Gondry's The Science Of Sleep, on Gaumont's slate, Wilson Yip's SPL (a market premiere on Darclight's Cannesslate), the Pang Brothers Re-Cycle (on Universe Film Distribution's Cannes slate), and Thai title, Shutter.