CANNES: eOne Partners with Colin Firth,

eOne's global film production arm, led by Xavier Marchand, to finance or co-finance up to eight films with strong international potential a year

LONDON — Entertainment One is partnering with Colin Firth and Ged Doherty’s Raindog Films to produce contempo international thriller “Eye in the Sky.” Firth is attached to star in the pic, which will be helmed by Gavin Hood (“Tsotsi,” “Ender’s Game,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”).

Entertainment One also has unveiled its global film production arm, which is led by Xavier Marchand, prexy, film production. The goal is to finance or co-finance up to eight films with strong international potential a year.

Firth and Doherty will produce “Eye in the Sky” alongside Marchand. eOne will distribute in the U.K., Canada, Benelux, Spain and Australia/New Zealand. Its international sales division under prexy Harold van Lier will handle sales in all other territories, including the U.S.

The film, which is penned by Guy Hibbert, is set in the shadowy world of remotely piloted “drone” warfare. It centers around London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Michelle Madden, who is set to remotely command an operation to capture a group of terrorists from their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation when Madden realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission.

“The use of unmanned aircraft in modern warfare and in the so-called ‘War on Terror’ poses critical questions for us all,” said Firth. “Raindog was launched with the hope of making challenging thoughtful films, and I’m pleased to be a part of an exploration into such a crucial issue.”

Production is expected to begin in South Africa on Aug. 11, 2014.

” ‘Eye in the Sky’ showcases what our film group is all about: source a sought-after project with outstanding talent attached, produce it, secure all rights, and handle direct distribution in our territories and sales around the world,” Marchand said.

The global film production arm under Marchand will work closely with van Lier’s sales division to leverage eOne’s distribution infrastructure to invest and finance projects at source.

“Xavier is so very well suited to lead our production efforts. He has an extensive knowledge of both film production and the demands of international market,” said Patrice Theroux, who oversees eOne’s global film business.

“In acquiring Alliance, we inherited a successful film production business and with our new films international team, it truly fits within our multi-territory model. We offer access to financing through many channels and offer filmmakers flexibility and security from script to screen.”

Senior VP Benedict Carver will work closely with Marchand from eOne’s Los Angeles office. The growing production unit, headquartered in London, also includes Cassandra Carias, who handles business, and Laura Wilson, who oversees development.

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