Former Artisan Televisionexecutive vice president Gary Rubin has launched the domestic distributionoutfit First Independent Pictures and expects to announce an initial slateshortly.

The Santa Monica-basedcompany is backed by private investors and Rubin is in discussions with DavidHutkin of The Lewis Horwitz Organization and Mercantile National Bank's ArtStribley for production financing and a credit facility.

First Independent is also intalks for a video output deal with several entities and is represented by HowardBehar at Proskauer Rose.

Rubin has hired DanielleRobertson, formerly with MPCA, as manager of creative affairs, distribution andadministration.

"My intent in creating FirstIndependent Pictures is to focus on both theatrical and ancillary distributionof high concept projects with leading casts," Rubin said in a statement.

"Over the last 20 years ofmy career, I have seen distribution scenarios that work and others that havebeen less successful. We intend on bridging the best of the distributionconcepts in order to provide the most viable end results for a distributionoutlet, be it home video/ DVD, cable, network or theatrical."

Rubin began his career atsuch companies as Showtime, In Demand and Prism Pictures and held managementpositions at October Films and Millennium Films.