UK-based Bankside Films has kicked off the AFM by announcing that Panorama Entertainment has taken all US rights to Gareth Lewis' The Baker.

Gareth's brother Damian Lewis stars with Kate Ashfield and Michael Gambon. The comedy is about a hitman who hides out in a remote village where locals mistake him for the new baker.

New York-based Panorama plans a theatrical release in spring 2009 after the film plays at US festivals.

Justin Williams and Dan Shepherd of Grandville Pictures produced with Adrian Sturges and Damian Lewis' Picture Farm.

Bankside's co-managing director Hilary Davis brokered the deal with Panorama's Stuart Strutin.

'We are delighted that Panorama will be releasing The Baker in the United
States. Their passion and enthusiasm for this wonderful, feel-good comedy is certain to ensure a successful release,' said Hilary Davis.

Strutin added: 'We're thrilled to acquire The Baker. It's a true crowd-pleaser. A love story with a great premise; it's funny, smart, and sexy, with likeable characters and a happy ending. What more could you want''

Bankside's slate also includes The Ballroom, Accidents Happen, Blessed, Bran Nue Dae, and Coffin Rock.