Steven Friedlander hasjoined the fledgling specialty distributor Warner Independent Pictures (WIP) asexecutive vice president of distribution.

Friedlander will directlyhandle domestic theatrical distribution and will shepherd the pictures as theymove into other media through Warner Bros Entertainment's divisions, includinginternational, home video and television.

"Steven is not only abrilliant theatrical distribution executive but also has remarkable talentsthat I expect will have an impact on just about every aspect of our business,"WIP president Mark Gill said in a statement.

"We're thrilled to havesomeone with his broad range of expertise play a key role in our burgeoningcompany."

Friedlander most recentlyserved as executive vice president of Fine Line Features, where he had been incharge of theatrical distribution since 1996 and oversaw The SweetHereafter, Shine, Hedwig And The Angry Inch and American Splendor,among others.

From 1989 to 1996 he servedin various distribution capacities at New Line Cinema. Friedlander began hisdistribution career in 1984 at 20th Century Fox.

WIP's inaugural 2004 slatewill kick off with the romance Before Sunset, Richard Linklater's follow-up to 1995's BeforeSunrise that once again stars EthanHawke and Julie Delpy.

Other 04 titles includeGregory Jacobs' thriller Criminalstarring John C Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Mayer's dramaA Home At The End Of The Worldstarring Colin Farrell and Robin Wright Penn, and John Curran's drama WeDon't Live Here Anymore, which starsMark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts.