Former studio chief MarkCanton and investment manager Mark J Kimsey have launched AtmosphereEntertainment, a fully funded production and finance company that already hasseveral theatrical projects in development.

The partners plan to producethree to five features a year as well as a television slate and say they haveacquired "substantial" film assets from Artists Production Group (APG), whichthey will merge with those already controlled by The Canton Company.

Canton is the co-founder, chairmanand chief executive officer of Atmosphere, while Kimsey, a founding partner ofwealth management firm K&Z, will oversee the involvement of the DaedalusFund, which is providing financing for the new outfit.

Key members of Atmosphere'smanagement team will be announced in the coming weeks. The company is sharingoffice space and other resources with Beverly Hills-based APG and a New Yorkoffice is planned for 2004.

"Thanks to the newpartnership with Mark Kimsey and everyone involved with the Daedalus Fund wehave the freedom, autonomy and financial wherewithal to hit the ground runningand build Atmosphere into a commercially significant entertainment company,"Canton said in a statement.

"Many of these projects arealready in place at the studios and major independents, and many others areready to be set up, with screenplays completed and various creative elementsattached."

"We are excited to enterinto this unique partnership with someone of Mark Canton's experience andstature in the industry," Kimsey added. "Mark's energy is amazing and we arecommitted to working together with him to build Atmosphere into a great newcompany."

Ryan Kavanaugh of RelativityManagement introduced the parties and structured the deal between Daedalus andCanton and will continue to advise Daedalus.

Jake Bloom, Eric Brooks andLarry Greaves of Bloom, Hergott & Diemer negotiated the deal on Canton'sbehalf. Relativity Management will continue to manage Canton.

Two films produced under TheCanton Company and APG banners will open in 2004. In March Warner Bros willrelease the crime thriller Taking Lives, starring Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke, followed by Lions Gate'sspring release of the cloning thriller Godsend, which stars Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos andRobert De Niro.

In a career spanning morethan 20 years Canton has served as president of worldwide theatrical productionat Warner Bros and chairman of the Columbia Tri-Star Motion Picture Companies.

He has overseen Batman,Lethal Weapon and Men In Black, among others, and more recently formed The CantonCompany, whose credits include Angel Eyes and Trapped, and joinedAPG as partner, chairman and chief executive officer.

Kimsey has been involved inthe securities industry for 14 years and founded K&Z.