Marie ThereseGuirgis has been named head of acquisitions at US independent distributorWellspring, where she will be responsible for acquiring films and programmingfor US theatrical and home video release and sourcing finished films forWellspring's worldwide sales unit, which will handle co-production projectsseparately.

Guirgis willreport directly to Wellspring president and CEO Al Cattabiani, who made theannouncement today (Mar 10). "We want to be sure that we can feed ourdistribution system with high-end foreign language and independent films and beproudly up-scale and art house," Cattabiani told Screendaily."Marie Therese is a genuine film scholar who has her feet on the groundand understands film distribution. We want to be the finest independent arthouse distributor out there and I cannot think of a better person to help usachieve this goal."

Guirgis joinedthe company in 1999, becoming senior director of acquisitions in May 2002. Herprime acquisitions have included Francois Ozon's Under the Sand, Jafar Panahi's The Circle and Tsai Ming-liang's What TimeIs It There' She hasalso acquired, for video/DVD, collections of films by Catherine Breillat, PedroAlmodovar, Leos Carax, Tsai Ming-liang, Youssef Chahine and Roger Vadim.

Guirgis'predecessor in the post, Krysanne Katsoolis, is leaving Wellspring (formerlyWinstar, formerly Fox Lorber) after ten years of service. Katsoolis wasinstrumental in establishing the company's theatrical distribution armand international co-productions as well as expanding its specialised andforeign language catalogue to more than 700 titles featuring classics byTruffaut, Visconti and Kurosawa, among others.

Katsoolis'key acquisitions include Theo Angelopoulos' Cannes prize winner, UlyssesGaze - which she used tolaunch Wellspringis theatrical arm in 1996 - as well as BrunoDumont's L'Humanite and the current release Russian Ark, by Aleksandr Sokurov.

As head of co-productionsshe set up the PBS-American Masters joint venture for the production anddistribution of more than 20 documentaries on household names like EllaFitzgerald, Leonard Bernstein and Akira Kurosawa. "I am personally veryproud of having been an integral part in building Wellspring over the years. Ilook forward to continuing my work in the creation and distribution of firstclass film and television properties," Katsoolis said in a statement. Sheis expected to make an announcement about her future plans shortly.

Wellspring's twolatest US theatrical acquisitions are Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi's Maroonedin Iraq, which is set for an Aprilrelease, and Ma Vraie Vie a Rouen,Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau's French digital video film thatwill come out in the summer.