London-based exhibitor-distributor Curzon Artificial Eye has appointedLouisa Dent as its new Managing Director. Dent, the former MD of UGCFilms UK, will take up her position full-time from January 2008.

Curzon Artificial Eye has also confirmed that Alan McQueen (who formerly ran UK independent distributor Downtown Pictures) has beenrecruited to help increase the number of DVD titles the companyacquires.

The new appointments come at a time of aggressive expansion of thecompany. Curzon Artificial Eye's CEO Philip Knatchbull confirmed to that the company is in the throes of setting up a sister theatricallabel, likely to be called Chelsea Cinema, through which it willrelease its more mainstream English-language fare. Last week, CurzonArtificial Eye announced that it had taken UK rights to Helen Hunt'sThen She Found Me.

Signalling its continuing appetite for upscale arthouse fare, CurzonArtificial Eye has also pre-bought Michael Haneke's new film, TheWhite Ribbon (being produced by Les Films Du Losange.)

Meanwhile, the company is looking for new ways in which to release itsfilms. It has announced details of an adventurous new collaborationwith Sky Movies. Together, the two companies will co-release FatihAkin's The Edge Of Heaven through cinemas and pay-per-viewsimultaneously for 14 days. Curzon Artificial Eye has also signed aVOD deal with BT Vision.

Curzon Artificial Eye is also dipping its toes into production,co-producing Last Thakur, the first 'Eye School Project,' with theNational Film and Television School.

The company runsLondon cinemas the Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, The Chelsea Cinema,The Renoir and the Richmond Filmhouse. In some cases, CurzonArtificial Eye will work closely with other UK distributors. Forexample, it has partnered with Dogwoof to acquire documentary A Crude Awakening,which the companies are releasing jointly later this week.

Curzon Artificial Eye currently has nine screens on five sites. Theaim now is to expand the exhibition operation yet further.

Knatchbull said that around 15-20% of screen time in the cinemas wastaken up by the company's own releases. 'That leaves us 85% of theavailable time to book other people's films. It as simple as that.'