Christian Colson launches Cloud Nine Films

'Slumdog Millionaire' producer inks 5-year deal with Pathe

LONDON -- "Slumdog Millionaire" producer Christian Colson is walking on Cloud Nine, exiting Celador Films in the wake of his Oscar victory and setting up his own production banner: Cloud Nine Films.

Colson floats off with the blessing of Celador chairman Paul Smith, who will be a director of Colson's new company.

The new shingle will get under way with a five-year development, production, sales and distribution deal with Pathe U.K. in hand.

The setup was jointly announced Monday by Celador Entertainment, Pathe U.K. and Colson.

Pathe and Celador have collaborated on several projects involving Colson in the past few years including "Slumdog," Neil Marshall's "The Descent" and the upcoming sword and sandals movie "Centurion."

Celador, Pathe U.K. and Colson will continue to work together on projects including "The Descent: Part 2" and "The Scouting Book for Boys."

In addition, Celador, Pathe U.K. and Cloud Nine are collaborating on a U.S. civil rights drama, "Selma," slated to shoot this year.

Smith said that "the time has come for (Colson) to move on."

For his part, Colson said he owes Smith and Celador "an enormous debt of gratitude" for hiring him to head up the company's production in 2002.

Pathe exec vp Francois Ivernel and Pathe U.K. managing director Cameron McCracken said the deal marks part of the company's strategy to become "a production powerhouse in the U.K."