Cinequest, the 20-year-old Silicon Valley-based film festival and distributor, has launched an independent production and distribution arm and dubbed it Cinequest Mavericks Studio.

The debut production is $7 million Irish/Mexican crime drama “To the Dogs,” scheduled to begin shooting in late October in San Jose, Calif. Cast and director will be announced in early October.

Also on the development slate are crime comedy “The Swedish Job” from Will Rokos (“Monster’s Ball”), with Roger Nygard (“Trekkies”) attached to direct; inspirational drama “Son Up”; and action drama “Ora.”

“To the Dogs,” written by Barnaby Dallas and Halfdan Hussey, centers on a young man’s fall from integrity into the world of crime in mid-century California.

Cinequest co-founders Hussey and Kathleen Powell will fund and operate the production arm including development, packaging, production and distribution. Producing partners include Alexandra Townsend (financing), Dallas (production) and Mike Rabehl (development).

The shingle is planning to produce a slate of three to four feature films per year, using talent discovered through Cinequest. “As we examined our operations, our resources and the landscape of the independent film industry, we saw a tremendous opportunity for expansion and an opportunity to apply our successful business model to the new entertainment landscape,” Powell said.