Veteran entertainment industry executives Michael Alexander, DougHamilton, Michael Rosenblatt and Lucie Salhany have teamed up to form the worldwidesales and distribution company Echo Bridge Entertainment.

The company, which will get its official launch at the upcomingAFM, operates with a mandate to acquire "commercially driven" pictures forworldwide distribution and to target and obtain select film libraries.

Backed by private equity investors, Echo Bridge will function as asales organisation and plans to acquire the worldwide rights to between six andeight theatrical films a year, the first of which will be announced shortly.

Alexander, former president and general manager of WWOR-TV and alongtime MCA/Universal executive, will act as managing director, handling corporateand business affairs.

Hamilton, who for 15 years served as senior vice president andchief financial officer at USA Networks, becomes the new company's chieffinancial officer.

Salhany, previously head of UPN, chairman of Fox Broadcasting andpresident of Paramount Domestic Television, will focus on running the worldwidesales and marketing operations.

Rosenblatt, the owner and founder of production and distributionoutfit Atlantic Entertainment Group, takes charge of acquisitions.

Echo Bridge has already purchased two libraries of filmed productfrom PM Entertainment and CineTel Films totalling 224 pictures and threetelevision series.

PM Entertainment sold its entire library of 130 pictures,including action titles Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Road Ends, which stars Dennis Hopper.

The CineTel Films deal covers a library of 94 titles including Entangled with Pierce Brosnan, Killer with Anthony LaPaglia and The Guardian starring Mario Van Peebles.

That deal also includes five new films to be delivered over thenext 12 months and sold by Echo Bridge. These are the thrillers CrashLanding, Premonition and Devil Winds and the horror features SnakeheadTerror and Gargoyles, which are in post-production.

In addition to purchasing existing film libraries, Echo Bridgewill obtain distribution rights to new titles covering domestic and foreignrights in television, DVD, videocassette, pay TV, pay-per-view,video-on-demand, theatrical and internet markets.

Echo Bridge is currently building its team of personnel, with headof international sales Dan March already in place.

Industry consultant Leonard Shapiro, an expert in the independentfilm business, is also working closely with the team.

"We have developed a soundbusiness plan that makes sense in the current climate of the worldwideindependent marketplace," Salhany said in a statement.

"We believe Echo Bridge has an extremely bright future and we lookforward to forming important and successful alliances with producers and distributorsaround the globe."

"We are constantly on the lookout for additional films and otherfilmed product to add to our library," Rosenblatt said. "We have built afull-service sales and marketing organisation, offering product fordistribution in all media in all territories of the world."

"The timing forthe launch of the company is ideal as the marketplace lends itself to a companyfocused entirely on the sale and distribution of independent movies throughoutthe world," Alexander added.