The management of Helkon International Pictures (HIP) - Christian Halsey Solomon, Lee Solomon and Clifford Werber - has formally bought itself out from Helkon Media and relaunched as Solo Entertainment Group (SEG).

The company's name affirms its connection to Solo Film Verleiht, the nascent German distribution outfit co-founded by former Kinowelt executive Peter Heinzemann and Halsey Solomon.

Planning to operate on four levels - distribution, production, licensing and consulting - the new outfit has already struck a deal with Rai to produce a weekly variety show in Italy called Kant's Underwear through its Italian production division. It has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Munich and Milan and is also planning to add an arm in Paris.

"The idea is to create a patchwork of companies profitable in their own right," explained Halsey Solomon at the market over the weekend. "In Italy and Germany, for example we are looking to produce local features as well as TV programming which are made just for the local market and covered by a sale to TV. The upside is then theatrical."

Solo Film which signed an exclusive distribution deal with Helkon when it was still solvent earlier this year, will still handle some of Helkon's smaller acquisitions as well as titles for third party rights traders like Welcome To Collinwood for Telepool. Its first solo acquisition was A Walk To Remember from Pandora.

"We plan to set up our own video business in the next six months and a new licensing company which will buy all rights and then sell on TV," said Solomon. "We are currently in the process of raising the financing."

Solomon said that plans are still in the works for a pan-European distribution network, as Helkon had planned, with Solo Films representing the German link in the chain.

Meanwhile the Los Angeles production operation under Werber continues to work on its previously announced projects such as Nine Miles Down starring Val Kilmer and directed by Anthony Waller, show business satire Chump Change to which Miramax has domestic rights, The M Word written by Mark Andrus (As Good As It Gets) and Gene Pool from comic creators Len Wein and Marv Wolfman.

The Solo Family Films label includes movies such as Hansel And Gretel starring Lynn Redgrave and Dakota Fanning.