Wild Bunch, the ambitiousFrench sales and distribution group, has begun what it hopes is the beginningof a beautiful friendship with fast-rising US indie producer AscendantPictures.

In a last minute dual addition to its autumn AFM slate,Wild Bunch has added the $40m heroic fantasy Outlander and the quirky$10m romantic drama The Loop.

Billed as something akin to Predator meets Braveheart,Outlander is a hardcore monster movie which follows an alien creaturethat crashes to earth in 509AD. It is directed by thriller and drama specialistHoward McCain and co-written by him and Dirk Blackman. Special effects are thedomain of Patrick Tatopoulos, whose sfx credits include Pitch Black, StuartLittle, Underworld and Cave. Production will start in June or Julynext year on location in New Zealand. Wild Bunch has all rights outside the US.

It has world rights on The Loop, an idiosyncraticromance which is set to star Matthew McConnaughey. Directed, written andproduced by former cinematographer and commercials director SR Binder, the filmis an adaptation of a novel by Joe Coomer. Being pitched as Amelie meetsLost In Translation, is the tale of a highway patrolman and a curiouslyattractive librarian who join forces to investigate clues delivered by atalking parrot that point to an unfathomable murder. Production gets underwayin April.

Ascendant, headed by Chris Roberts and Chris Eberts, is ayoung company with its own deal at Morgan Creek and is the chosen productionfor super-rich German tax fund VIP Medien. Ascendant's list of credits includefilms and projects that are selling well at AFM including Lucky NumberSlevin (being sold by Capitol) and Lord Of War (Arclight). It wasalso involved in The Jacket, The Punisher and The Big White.