Carpenter carves 'Survivor' helm

NEW YORK — Artisan Entertainment, jump-starting its production division under prexy Jon Shestack, has set up the teen horror pic “Soul Survivor” with scribe Steve Carpenter attached to make his directing debut.

Pic, which is being produced by Neal Moritz and Stokely Chaffin of Original Film and is slated for a July start, is a thriller set on a college campus about a young co-ed caught between the world of the living and the dead.

The project, which will be Shestack’s first since joining the company earlier this year, is also the first Artisan production of 1999. The company is expected to have three more starts within the year.

Artisan, which usually operates aggressively in the acquisitions world, has already produced four upcoming pics, David Koepp’s “Stir of Echoes,” Steven Soderbergh’s “The Limey,” Roman Polanski’s “Ninth Gate” and a new pic from Atom Egoyan.

“This is a moody atmospheric picture that brings the teen-horror genre to a new level of sophistication,” Shestack said. “It’s in the genre tradition, but it’s not an imitation or a clone.”

Artisan nabbed Carpenter’s spec script for a mid-six-figure pricetag after a small bidding war with Paramount and Fox.

The company was eager to work with Original Film because Original has put together so many successful teen pics (“Cruel Intentions,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and its sequel, “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Urban Legend”).

“Original has probably had more success with first-time directors and done more to revitalize youth movies than any other production company,” Shestack said.

Carpenter is better known for his scripting efforts on such pics as the upcoming “Blue Streak,” which is also due out from Original Film, as well as “The Other Man” and “It Had to Be You.”

His deal was brokered by David Lubliner and Robert Stein of the William Morris Agency.

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