Naoki Kai, president of Japan's Artist Film, isheading a management buyout of the company, creating a new outfit called Style Jam focussing on producing films aimed at the international market.

The new company, which launches on June 1, has aslate of high-profile Japanese films and international co-productions atvarious stages of production.

It will also expand the theatrical and videodistribution business that Kai began at Artist Film, owned by publishing group ArtistHouse. Artist Film's staff willjoin Kai at the new company.

Heading theslate of domestic productions is drama Sad Vacation, starring Japanese starAsano Tadanobu (Last Life In The Universe) and directed by Shinji Aoyama(Eureka).

Scheduledto shoot next Spring, Sad Vacation is the third film in a trilogy that alsoincludes Helpless and Eureka.

Also indevelopment is the first film in four years from Ryosuke Hashiguchi, who wonplaudits at Cannes 2001 for gay adoption drama Hush!

His newfilm, Gurui No Koto, is his first straight love story. Rounding out Style Jam'sdomestic slate is Masato Harada's $10m Samurai epic, Nobunaga, based on abest-selling manga. Kippei Shiina (Quill) is set to star.

Style Jamalso aims to be an active international co-producer and has boarded Swedishdirector Roy Andersson's You The Living alongside The Co-Production Office.

Style Jamwill also continue to service and handle Japanese distribution of two filmsco-produced by Artist Film - Danis Tanovic's Hell and Jan Kounen'sDarshan L'Etreinte, which was a late entry to official selection here inCannes.