John Hart andJeff Sharp's New York-based Hart Sharp Entertainment, the productioncompany behind Boys Don't Cry and You Can Count On Me, has launched a stand-alone US home entertainment companyHart Sharp Video (HSV) to be run by the key staff of former USA Films divisionUSA Home Entertainment (USA HE).

Joe Amodei,former president of USA Home Entertainment, is president of HSV and willoversee all aspects of the company including its strategic expansion into newmarkets. He is joined by former USA HE veterans Camille Perretti-Fiato, Lynne Hillman, Evelyn Carrasco, Larisa Elzon,Mark McCaffrey and Scott Voss.

HSV will lookto release 12 direct-to-videotitles a year including independent pick-ups and has already signed anagreement with Ventura Distribution/Urabn Works Entertainment to distribute10-14 titles in 2003 in the rental video market. The first two titles in theagreement are urban crime thrillers Crime Partners with Snoop Dog, Ja Rule and Ice-T and Obstacles with D-Shot, E40 and Brian Hooks.

While at USA, Amodei handledUSA Films pictures such as Trafficand Gosford Park as well assports titles like Ultimate Jordanand Super Bowl XXXVI Champions New England Patriots. Amodei plans to continue his work with sports andspecial interest projects at HSV, while also working with Hart Sharp'sfilm-maker and producer contacts to create new home entertainmentopportunities.

For Hart Sharp, the creationof HSV gives them a safety net in film production and an alternative route fortheir film-makers to reach an audience. "It's a way for us to keepon telling challenging stories," said Hart yesterday from New York."We can't afford to sell a film to a domestic distributor for$300,000 and then watch as it's platformed in two cities and they put iton video and make half a million dollars out of it. If necessary, we'llgo straight to video in an instance like that, and at least that wayfilm-makers can be protected."

Hart said that the start ofthe company demanded a considerable capital outlay which was financed by HartSharp's investors.

Prior to USA, Amodei wassenior vice president of sales and marketing at PolyGram Video and beforejoining PolyGram in 1997, he was at Turner Home Entertainment as east coastdirector of sales. Between 1986 and 1994, he worked at LIVE Entertainment (nowArtisan) where he worked in the marketing and distribution of The Piano,Basic Instinct, Total Recall and Terminator2: Judgment Day.

"I have been anintegral part of three successful video teams that ended up being usurped bymergers of larger companies and now I am prepared to work for an independentcompany that won't let that happen," said Amodei.