Visual effects specialist Paul Franklin, who won Academy Awards for “Inception” and “Interstellar” and shot the “Dark Knight” trilogy, will direct the action-thriller “Resurface” with Covert Media financing.

Covert Media is also handling international sales, which will launch at next month’s American Film Market. Covert CEO Paul Hanson (“District 9”) is producing alongside Broken Road Productions’ Todd Garner.

Franklin will direct from a script by Pete Bridges in which a scientist and an engineer are trapped 35,000 feet underwater after an earthquake separates them from their crew. “Resurface” is the first project announced out of the two-year first look deal between Covert and Broken Road.

Executive producers are Covert’s Elissa Friedman; Media Content Capital’s Sasha Shapiro and Anton Lessine; and Broken Road’s Sean Robins and Jeremy Stein.

Franklin handled visual effcects all three Batman films for Christopher Nolan and was nominated for an Academy Award for “The Dark Knight.” He heads the VFX company Double Negative and recently completed production of his short film “The Escape,” starring Julian Sands and Art Malik, financed by Creative England and based on the short science fiction story by Robert Sheckley.

“We are excited to announce the first film in in our partnership with Covert Media,” said Garner. “With his award winning background in visual effects and experience in creating unknown worlds, Paul Franklin is the perfect director to immerse audiences in this ambitious and unique underwater adventure.”

Garner told Variety that “Resurface” is envisioned as a moderately budgeted project that has the look and feel of tentpole, much like New Line’s “Into the Storm,” which was directed by Steve Quale, James Cameron’s longtime cinematographer.

Hanson said that he’s particularly pleased to have brought together a high-profile project at a time when major studios are facing increasingly difficult conditions.

“‘Resurface’ is the perfect example of the elevated commercial material that we aim to produce with visionary talent like Paul Franklin,” said Hanson. “Our partnership with Broken Road and Todd Garner has been extremely productive from day one and we are ready to see our hard work behind the scenes come to life.”

Broken Road’s films have included the two “Paul Blart” movies for Sony, Tom Cruise’s “Knight and Day,” and “Into the Storm.” Covert announced in May that it was financing “Ophelia” as a new take on “Hamlet” with “Star Wars: Force Awakens” standout Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts in negotiations to star.

Franklin is represented by Gersh. The deal was negotiated by Covert’s Chet Devaskar with Gersh.