Los Angeles-based financing outfit WAMC Entertainment, headed by Frenchman Sidonie Herman, has optioned Stephen King's novel The Eyes Of The Dragon, which it plans to adapt as a $45m animated feature.

WAMC - founded by Herman in 1995 - specialises in securing international production financing for North American and European film and television properties, mostly in the animation area.

The novel, which King wrote for his daughter in 1987, is set in a kingdom still inhabited by dragons, magicians and chivalrous knights. "The storyline and characters provide all the ingredients for a classic fantasy, sword-and-sorcerer animated tale, but are also blended with Stephen King's own brand of suspense and dark humour," Herman told ScreenDaily.

The project's screenplay, due for completion by early 2001, and character design will be originated in the US, while sets and background will be created in Europe, where Herman believes animators are likely to best capture the book's medieval setting.

WAMC has worked with several leading North American and European production companies including the US' Film Roman, Hearst Entertainment and Porchlight Entertainment, France's TF1 International and Ellipsanime and Germany's Cinevox, Studio Babelsberg and CLT-Ufa. It claims to have raised $57m in production finance in North America and Europe, and has also recently set up an international sales department, headed by Dominique Bovio.