Germany's largest independent leasing fund specialist, Albis Leasing, has taken majority stakes in two subsidiaries belonging to private media fund, ApolloMedia, which backed this year's Sundance Film Festival opener My First Mister.

As part of the transaction, which must still pass its supervisory board, Albis has acquired a 70% stake in the fund's marketing company CHORUS founded by Peter Heidecker in 1998. Some $79.4m (DM165m) was raised during 2000 from private investors for ApolloMedia's film projects and 2001 should see the launch of new tranches with a total volume of $91.5m (DM190m).

Albis has also taken a 52.5% interest in Potsdam-based ApolloMedia Film Management which acts as a consultant to the fund and helps select and monitor the progress of its projects. Minority shareholder Frank Huebner will continue as managing director of ApolloMedia Film Management.

The acquisition marks Albis Leasing's first foray into the film sector and forms part of the expansion of its lucrative Funds and Services division which intends to raise between $190m-$240m (DM400m-DM 500m) from its various funds this year.

Previous ApolloMedia funds have co-produced projects as diverse as Alan Rudolph's Investigating Sex, starring Nick Nolte, Neve Campbell and Til Schweiger; Peter Hyams' costume drama D'Artagnan; Bruce Beresford's Alma Mahler biopic Alma - Bride Of The Wind; and UK director Stephen Cookson's Mumbo Jumbo.

ApolloMedia has strategic partnerships with several companies ranging from Cologne-based Gemini Filmproduktion through The Carousel Picture Company in Luxembourg to Mumbo Jumbo producer Firelight Entertainment in Munich.