Five European distribution companies have pooled ther resources to create a jointly-owned film acquisition service. The pool, dubbed Indie Circle, will have its offices in Paris and be headed by Christophe Mercier (see Screen International Sept 05 edition for profile).

The five distributors are A-Film from the Netherlands, Cineart (Belgium), Frenetic Films (Switzerland), Haut Et Court (France) and Lucky Red/EyeScreen (Italy).

Mercier said: "Indie Circle is a highly innovative concept presenting a second access for sales agents and other producers aiming at a more co-ordinated effort to enhance the launch of their films in our markets. This new structure does not alter each partner's local acquisition strategy."

The first film jointly bought by Indie Circle was Cannes Directors' Fortnight title Osama, sold by Swipe Films. In recent weeks it operated on behalf of two partner companies Lucky Red and Frenetic to buy rights to Russian Venice competition film, The Return.

The group has its origins in a wider pool of eight distributors which saw the advantages of economies of scale and European marketing co-ordination and at one stage considered buying a sales company.