Artificial Eye Film Distribution and Metro Tartan Films - two of the leading independent distributors of non-English language films in the notoriously tough UK market - are banding together to set up a jointly owned video company.

The operation will be headed by Mike Flello, currently head of Fox World Cinema, and is to launch next spring. Along with pooling titles from Metro Tartan's video arm Tartan Video and Artificial Eye, the partners aim to represent video and DVD titles from third-party outfits.

"With the advent of DVD, sales of world cinema titles have increased enormously over the last year," noted Metro Tartan chief Hamish McAlpine.

Artificial Eye, headed by Andi Engel, has a current line-up including foreign language titles such as Harry, He's Here To Help, Suzhou River and Blackboards. The distributor also picks up UK films such as Last Resort and Liam.

"This is an excellent opportunity to combine our sales and marketing expertise," said Robert Beeson, a director at Artificial Eye.

Metro Tartan, which jointly owns the new company through Tartan Video, recently scored a small-scale hit with Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love, which had grossed £210,000 by early this month. Other titles on its slate include Faithless and Audition.