Steve Bickel, the international sales veteran who most recently headed sales for The Shooting Gallery, has joined Jeffrey Kramer's Lexington Entertainment Group to head a new sales and marketing venture called Aura Entertainment. He will represent in-house productions, acquire independent and foreign features and selectively develop and produce his own projects.

Lexington Entertainment Group is a group of companies which encompasses interests in film, TV, theatre, post-production, new media and finance. It was founded last year to consolidate the entertainment interests of Lou and Kelly Gonda and coordinates the activities of East of Doheny Productions, Lexington Road Productions, Post Logic Studios, Creo and Lexington Funding. Lexington Commercial Holdings is the overall parent company with diversified interests in commercial real estate, several US private and public companies and European internet and technology outfit Firstream Group.

Bickel will attend the London Screenings and MIFED with the first film to be handled by Aura - A Time For Dancing from East of Doheny Productions. The movie stars Shiri Appleby, Larisa Oleynik, Peter Coyote and Amy Madigan.

"While the consolidation that is taking place in the worldwide entertainment business is disconcerting, I firmly believe that immense opportunities are created which can be realised if you are able to combine the right mix of creative talent and financial discipline," said Bickel. "Film-makers and our worldwide distribution partners are looking to us for this expertise; the services that can be brought to the table from the other members of Lexington Entertainment Group are very powerful."

Prior to The Shooting Gallery, Bickel was president of Samuel Goldwyn International selling films including The Madness Of King George, Much Ado About Nothing and I Shot Andy Warhol. He started his entertainment career as vice president of international sales for Warner Bros International, then moved to Virgin Group as president of Virgin Vision where he established the US entertainment company.

Kramer was most recently president of David E Kelley Productions, where he produced series such as Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope and The Practice; he was previously senior vice president for creative affairs for network television at 20th Century Fox.

Lexington Road Productions has produced John Sayles' Men With Guns as well as IMAX film Siegfried And Roy and stage productions from Trevor Nunn and Nicholas Hytner.

East Of Doheny Productions focuses on family entertainment including A Time For Dancing and is developing Flying Lessons and Annie On My Mind; the company recently produced the West End musical Napoleon.

Post Logic Studios is a full service post production company based in Hollywood; and Creo is a technology company serving the commercial world based in Santa Monica.