Dreamworks' Chicken Run is to be the first title handled by San Fu Maltha's new Dutch theatrical distribution outfit A-Film BV through an output deal which he has just signed with Pathe International.

The $40m animated feature, produced by Aardman Animation studios and directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park, is jointly backed by Pathe and Canal Plus through their C+P partnership.

Maltha has also formed an informal partnership with Belgian distributor CineLibre/CineArt to develop a Benelux theatrical and home video distribution operation.

A-Film and CineLibre/Cineart have signed separate output deals with Canal Plus' film division StudioCanal. However, the two companies will work together to release titles sourced from the deals across Benelux.

Maltha and CineLibre/CineArt's Eliane Du Bois have already worked closely together when the former was heading Meteor, and the next step is likely to be for the two to formalise their relationship and develop a common structure.