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Film4, Vertigo Films and Ingenious Media have joined forces to launch an international sales company, Protagonist Pictures.

Protagonist, based in London, is headed by CEO Ben Roberts, previously VP of worldwide acquisitions at Universal Pictures.

The company will handle international rights on selected films financed or produced by its three backers. It also will seek projects independent of the shareholders.

Protagonist will manage the existing Film4 library, with Nada Cirjanic moving over from Channel 4 to head that operation.

Film4 is the movie arm of pubcaster Channel 4. It doesn’t own the foreign rights to the films it backs, but will encourage the producers it works with to do deals with Protagonist.

Film4 topper Tessa Ross said, “We will now have a much greater steer over the way in which our films and filmmakers reach international audiences and in doing so can help producers to better understand and control the international distribution of their films.”

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Ingenious raises equity finance from private and institutional investors for film production and distribution. Duncan Reid, commercial director of Ingenious, said, “Protagonist offers us a deeper involvement in the film sales sector, making our film operations more vertically integrated.”

Vertigo, a production and U.K. distribution outfit, will use Protagonist to handle foreign sales on its projects, such as the upcoming “Dogging — A Love Story” and “Faintheart,” which also is backed by Film4.

Protagonist will unveil its full launch slate at the European Film Market in Berlin next month.