Move is a departure for studio

IFC Films is embarking on an expansion that will see it create a new slate of between four and six movies per year in a higher budget range.

Marketed under the IFC Films brand, pics on the slate will cost $4 million-$10 million.

Move is a departure for IFC, which releases about 10 – 14 movies in the $1 – $2 million range via IFC Films and also has First Take,, a day-and-date label for micro-budget pics, as well as deals to co-distribute several pics with the Weinstein Co.

As its first release on the beefier slate, company has picked up “You Kill Me,” a mob comedy starring Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson and directed by John Dahl (“The Last Seduction”). Set for a 2007 release, pic concerns a hitman whose drinking is interfering with his killing.

Expansion comes as the company recognized it would need more high-profile product to have the clout on those different platforms it requires.

That need, execs say, dovetails with opportunities in indie distribution.

“There’s a real hole in the market,” IFC Entertainment prexy Jonathan Sehring told Daily Variety. “The smaller distributors don’t have the financial muscle to make movies like these work. And the studio specialty divisions need to distribute films with higher budgets because of their high overhead.”

“Kill” is produced by Code Entertainment’s Al Corley, Bart Rosenblatt and Eugene Musso, as well as Carol Baum, Mike Marcus and Zvi Howard Rosenman.

IFC will continue to seek out partners. It already has several pacts in place with other indie players, including a partnership between parent Rainbow Media and the Weinstein Co. for homevid, foreign sales and a cable library.

Recent pics company has distribbed include crossword doc “Wordplay,” with TWC; upcoming is Ken Loach film “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”

Company also has bought “Requiem” and political doc “So Goes the Nation,” which both played the Toronto Film Festival.

Execs said new slate would not affect the number of movies bought for First Take.

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