Home entertainment company Anchor Bay Entertainment is launching a new theatrical film arm, Anchor Bay Films, headed by Anchor Bay Entertainment President Bill Clark.

Anchor Bay Entertainment CEO Chris McGurk said the new division will aim to release 8-10 films per year as platform releases.

'While many entertainment companies are now dissolving or scaling back their independent film divisions and the independent video industry is experiencing major consolidation, Anchor Bay Entertainment has continued to expand,' McGurk said. 'Our company has distribution capability across all platforms - DVD, premium pay TV thru Starz and now theatrical. Anchor Bay Films can now provide the high quality, fully integrated distribution platform that independent filmmakers are seeking to maximize exposure for their films.'

Clark said the outfit would concentrate on 'acquiring commercial star driven films and creating a highly collaborative, filmmaker friendly environment spanning all aspects of the marketing and release of each film.'

Anchor Bay Films has already hired Kevin Kasha as senior vice president of acquisitions. Kasha previously served as senior vice president of acquisitions and programming for New Line Home Entertainment and executive vice president of Miramax Home Entertainment.

'Kevin's vast experience in this industry, coupled with his passion for film, makes him a perfect fit for this position,' Clark said. 'We need someone who understands our goals, the industry and has the contacts and knowledge needed to help successfully launch our entry in the theatrical marketplace. Kevin has all of those qualities and more.'

Clark will add other executives in coming weeks; the label will be fully operational by the end of the year. The company is already in discussions to acquire films.

Clark added: 'This is a new chapter for Anchor Bay as we formalize our theatrical efforts by having a dedicated executive team behind it. It allows us to dedicate exclusive resources to both the theatrical and home entertainment markets based upon the favorable economics we have already experienced.'

Anchor Bay Films noted that it can also foffer filmmakers international opportunities, because it has distribution operations in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Starz Media's Anchor Bay Entertainment, headquartered in Burbank, Calif., releases DVD and Blu-ray titles in feature films, family entertainment, fitness, TV, documentaries and anime. It also has exclusive US home entertainment rights to Overture Films' theatrical titles.