Leading German DVD distributor e-m-s new media is to take amajority 52.38% stake in theatrical distributor 3L Filmverleih which was set upat the beginning of this year by e-m-s new media's Chairman and CEO WernerWirsing and his wife

In a statement, e-m-s new media, which will finance itsstake by a capital increase, said the"strategic investment" in 3L would support its core business in thearea of home entertainment.

Andreas Thim, formerly managing director of the Austriansubsidiary of the Kieft & Kieft Cinestar cinema chain, has been recruitedas 3L's head of distribution, while responsibilities for programming andrelations with arthouse cinemas is being placed in the hands of WalterPotganski whose background is in exhibition and license trading.

3L appeared on the German distribution scene this springwith the release of Patty Jenkins' Oscar-winning Monster which grossed Euros 1.7m at the German box-office.

The next release - Park Chan-wook's Cannes prize-winner Old Boy - is scheduled to open in Germancinemas on September 2, followed byKjell Sundvall's The Guy In TheGrave Next Door (Oct 7), Prachya Pinkaew's Ong-bak (Oct 14), and Brad Anderson's The Machinist (Oct 28). In total, ten films will be releasedtheatrically this year by 3L , and around 20 are being lined up for 2005.

Among recent acquisitions were David Steiman's Santa's Slay, Lasse Spang Olsen's Old Men In New Cars, Rittikrai Panna's Born To Fight and Thanit Jitnukul's 102 as well as 3L's first German filmMark Schlichter's romantic comedy Cowgirl.