Indie Feature Film Co. bought

Winchester creates distrib arm, to release 10 to 12 pix per year

Winchester Films has acquired U.K. indie distrib Feature Film Co.

As part of the deal, Feature Film marketing exec Laurence Gornall and sales exec David Shear will join the newly retitled Winchester Film Distribution under its chief Mick Southworth.

But Feature Film chairman David Holloway, who sold the company to Winchester, will no longer be involved.

Feature Film, founded in 1991 by Holloway and Southworth, is one of the U.K.’s longest-surviving micro-indies, specializing in cult, niche and arthouse movies. Upcoming releases include Gallic hardcore art pic “Baise-moi.”

Southworth later left to pursue other ventures, eventually joining Winchester last year to set up a U.K. distribution operation. This has so far released just one movie — a reissue of “Raging Bull.”

But Winchester now plans to significantly expand the operation, seeking to buy U.K. rights to films budgeted in the $10 million to $50 million range.

“This is a determined business undertaking,” said Southworth. “The only niche we wish to fill is that of a solidly resourced distribution company that has the infrastructure capable of releasing a steady stream of high-level product.”

The new distrib will handle 10 to 12 pics a year, including product from Winchester’s co-financing deal with Wind Dancer.

The U.K. indie distribution sector is becoming increasingly competitive, with Winchester now joining Icon, Helkon SK, Pathe, FilmFour, Momentum and longtime market leader Entertainment in the quest for big Hollywood titles.