L.A.'s, Vancouver's prod'n co. to spend $50 mil

MONTREAL — Los Angeles-based H2O Motion Pictures and Vancouver’s Brightlight Pictures have pacted to co-produce five pics for $50 million.

The slate includes “People Who Knock,” an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel penned by Doug Taylor and directed by Vancouver helmer Lynne Stopkewich (“Kissed”), with Alliance Atlantis and BBC Films co-financing. Also on the slate is Samuel L. Jackson starrer “Running Wild,” based on the novel by J. G. Ballard (“Empire of the Sun”), scripted by David Leland (“Wish You Were Here”). The thriller, which is also partly financed by Alliance Atlantis, will shoot on Vancouver Island next summer.

H2O is run by Andras Hamori, the former president of Alliance Pictures and producer of “Max” and “Owning Mawhoney.”

Partners Stephen Hegyes and Shawn Williamson run Brightlight, formed two years ago. Its past pics include Bruce Sweeney’s “Last Wedding.”

Other pics to be co-produced by the two companies include “White Clouds,” based on a script by Dennis Potter (“The Singing Detective”) and set to shoot next year in Italy. “With Prejudice” is based on the New Yorker article “Harriet, the Spy Club” by Ted Friend and the script is penned by Michael Stokes. Pathe will distribute the pic in England and France.

Also set to shoot is “Peachland,” written by Montreal screenwriter Kate Schlemmer and to be directed by Spanish helmer Maria Ripoll (“Tortilla Soup”). ThinkFilm has Canadian rights to the comedy, which blends romance with Latin music and dance.

Brightlight is shooting “Alone in the Dark” in Vancouver, starring Christian Slater, Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff. Twenty million-dollar pic is based on the Atari videogame.

The company is also in pre-production on “White Noise,” a co-production with Gold Circle Films that Hegyes describes as “a creepy thriller in the same vein as ‘The Sixth Sense.’ “

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