Sean Furst and Robert Kessel have been appointed executive vicepresidents of productions and acquisitions at Starz' new theatricaldivision Overture Films.

Furst will be based at Overture's Los Angeles headquarters and Kesselwill operate out of New York. Furst's brother Bryan arrives as seniorvice president of productions and acquisitions and will also be basedin Los Angeles.

All three executives will report to chief operating officer DannyRosett and take responsibility for building Overture's annual slate ofeight to 12 projects.

'These key hires will form the foundation of our creative team andstrategy for Overture,' chief executive officer Chris McGurk said. 'Wevery specifically looked for individuals with significant experienceand quality track records in the independent film community and whoalso have extensive production experience.

'We were not looking to hire executives schooled in the traditional bigstudio system of making movies. In Robert, Sean and Bryan, we havehired a tremendous team with first-hand knowledge and key perspectiveon the challenges and opportunities that filmmakers face in today'smarketplace.'

'I've known and respected all three of them over the years and to beable to team up with them now at Overture is a natural fit,' Rosettadded. 'I am thrilled to have them all on board and can't wait to startbuilding our film slate with them.'

Sean and Bryan Furst have been co-owners of the film and televisionproduction company Furst Films, whose credits include Sundance 2005 hitThe Matador, The Cooler, and Owning Mahowney. Furst Films' televisiondivision sold the series Tough Trade to HBO and has programmes inactive development at the CW Network and Comedy Central.

As a partner and head of production for the independent film companyHart-Sharp Entertainment, Robert Kessel has produced a number ofhigh-profile and critically acclaimed features. These include Proof andThe Night Listener. Prior to joining Hart-Sharp, Kessel spent fiveyears as a key acquisitions executive at Miramax Films.

'[Chris and Danny] have a long history of championing films that appealto diverse audiences yet have the potential to break out to a wideraudience and garner top awards,' Kessel said. 'They brought thatmandate with them in creating Overture, and I'm looking forward tohelping bring that vision of a new studio geared toward creating apositive film making environment into reality.'

'We're aiming to make Overture Films a haven for the best independentfilmmakers,' Sean Furst said. 'I am also very excited that our creativevision and film slate will be fully backed up by top quality theatricalmarketing and distribution at Overture as well as home entertainmentand television distribution from Starz.'