Robert Lantos' fledgling Toronto-based sales and distribution company Maximum Films has struck a three-year deal with New York's Cinetic Media to release Cinetic films in Canada

The agreement further boosts the prestige factor associated with Maximum's pipeline following recent deals with Fortissimo Films, Magnolia Pictures, and IFC.

It also realises Cinetic's stated aim of strengthening the position of its film-makers by monetising Canadian distribution rights, which are typically bound up as part of a broader US distribution licence.

The first titles under the deal are likely to come from Cinetic's Sundance slate.

Maximum's first Canadian release will be Jeremy Podeswa's Toronto opener Fugitive Pieces in early 2008.

The slate also includes Cannes 2007 Camera D'Or winner Jelly Fish, Kenneth Branagh's The Magic Flute, Atom Egoyan's Adoration, Santosh Sivan's Toronto entry Before The Rains, and Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls.

'In Canada, you bet against Robert Lantos at your peril,' Cinetic founder John Sloss said, adding: 'We're confident that his distribution company will be successful, and we're thrilled that we've been able to craft such an innovative deal that enables film-makers and financiers to benefit directly from distribution in Canada.'

Lantos hailed Cinetic's 'incredible track record' and 'amazing eye for independent films that resonate with mass audiences.'

Lantos and Maximum's vice-president of legal and business affairs Mark Musselman negotiated the deal with Sloss and Matt Littin for Cinetic.