St. Leger, Mather to direct sci-fi feature

French studio EuropaCorp is in pre-production on its next big English-language project, the 3D sci-fi actioner “Section 8.”

Ireland’s Stephen St. Leger and James Mather are attached to direct. Screenplay is by St. Leger and Mather and EuropaCorp owner Luc Besson, who will produce. “Section 8″ is a 100% EuropaCorp production.

St. Leger, who has a background in TV commercials, and Mather, best known as a cinematographer, sprang to attention with their technically cutting-edge digital short “Prey Alone,” a manhunt thriller.

“Section 8″ takes place in a prison orbiting 50 miles above the earth. The prison houses 500 of the world’s most dangerous prisoners, who are kept asleep by sophisticated techniques until they suddenly awaken.

“When you read the script, you can easily guess how the live-action and 3D will take this sci-fi thriller to a great level … and the two guys are very, very talented,” said Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, EuropaCorp founder and partner.

Pic is budgeted at slightly north of $30 million, he said.

The project requires extensive vfx, hence its long pre-production period, but EuropaCorp aims to shoot late spring or early summer, said Le Pogam.

EuropaCorp is in early discussions with a Hollywood major regarding U.S. distribution on the film.

EuropaCorp is also focusing on “Brick Mansion,” the U.S. English-language remake of action-thriller “District 13,” which was the directorial debut of Pierre Morel (“Taken”).

The Gallic mini studio has also rolled out strong international pre-sales on Richard Berry’s French-language revenge thriller “22 Bullets,” one of the heavyweight screeners from Europe at this Berlin.

Wild Bunch has taken Germany, and Italy closed Wednesday at Berlin.

“Bullets” has sold out in Latin America and Eastern Europe, has sold to Korea, China and Canada and is finalizing negotiations for Japan and Spain, said Le Pogam. Multiple smaller territories have closed as well.

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