Chris Sievernich, the former Kinowelt USA CEO and founder ofPacifica Entertainment, today (Feb 3) announced the launch of Armada Pictures,his new independent financing, production and distribution company that willfocus on pictures of varying budgets.

Matt Milich, Sievernich's vice presidentof development at Kinowelt USA, has been brought in as vice president ofproduction for Armada. Heading up the international sales arm, Armada Pictures International is former Franchise Pictures and Creative Union Entertainmentsales executive Yarek Danielak, who becomes vice president of internationaldistribution.

The company will debut at the upcoming American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monicawith Sievernich looking for pre-sales on its first two green-lit projects, thethrillers Drum and OnePoint O.

"Everybody is talking about the demise of the market and the stateof the film business but I am very optimistic and very hopeful," Sievernichtold "With a good programme and good material there is always anopportunity. We will make larger studio-type pictures and a whole slate offilms in the lower-budget range, around $5m-$10m. It is hard to put a number onthe slate but we will be very happy with five to eight films on an annualbasis." This year Armada aims to produce five pictures, with Drum and One Point O ready to go into production in March andbacked by VIP Medienfonds in Munich.

Drumrecounts the birth of the anti-Apartheid movement in 1950s South Africa andwill be directed by Zola Maseko, while One Point O is a futuristic thriller about acomputer expert who becomes the focus of a corporate advertising experiment.The picture will be directed by Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Thorsson. "We are lookingfor material that works both sides of the Atlantic - internationally and in thedomestic market," Sievernich said. "We are not really genre-specific, but welook for material that is special and a little bit out of the ordinary. We willgo for interesting new directors and new writing talent." The foreigndistribution operation will handle in-house productions and non-Armada pick-ups

Sievernich saidhe was keen to meet with foreign buyers at AFM to discuss company strategy andtalk to distributors who handled similar slates. "We will be pretty muchlooking to talk to all the independent distributors," he said.