Director M Night Shyamalan is donating $1.5 million (GBP937,500) to help revitalise the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, neighbourhood that served as a backdrop to his hit film The Sixth Sense.

The money will help rehabilitate 31 abandoned houses and vacant lots in a south-west section of downtown where parts of the 1999 film were shot, according to mayor JOHN F STREET. The second stage of the project involves fixing up 26 properties.

The donation by Shyamalan will be supplemented by a planned contribution of about $1.2 million (GBP750,000) from the city's NEIGHBOURHOOD TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE program.

The Sixth Sense, which starred Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment and TONI COLETTE, earned six ACADEMY AWARD nominations and was a huge summer blockbuster.

Shyamalan, who settled in Philadelphia after leaving his native India as a child, says, "For some reason, I was meant to be here, and we were meant to do this."

01/10/2003 09:49