The US production outfit Zeal Pictures Group, which was behind the 1998 feature Simpatico with Sharon Stone, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney, and Jeff Bridges, has launched a European production company, Zeal Pictures Europe GmbH & Co. KG, based in Berlin.

The German outpost plans to develop international and European co-productions, as well as raise finance for its feature projects in Hollywood and expand its commercials production through subsidiary Centrifuge.

US parent company, Zeal Pictures, Inc. is currently shooting a digitally-produced documentary Robbers, starring Kevin Koteleer (Men In Black II), Frank John Hughes (Band Of Brothers) and Vyto Ruginis (The Fast And The Furious), and has projects in development including feature adaptations of David Payne's novel Early From The Dance, Rose Tremain's bestseller The Way I Found Her, and Peter Sagal's theatre play Denial.

Zeal Pictures, Inc. was founded by German producer Timm Oberwelland and his Canadian-Greek partner Leon Melas in Hollywood in 1994. Zeal recently co-produced, with Warfront Pictures and Scott Free, a 13-part live-action docu-series American Fighter about three US Air Force student pilots which will be aired in primetime on CBS from January 2002.