Peter Heinzemann, former managing director of Kinowelt Filmverleih, could be one of the most popular men on the Croisette. He has set up a new German distributor, Solo Film Verleih as a joint venture with Helkon Media partners Martin Heldmann and Christian Halsey Solomon.

Solo will operate as a distributor with fully functioning marketing, promotion and distribution departments. It will handle pictures ranging from A-level studio fare through to German language indie fare.

The initial slate of 12 pictures include Helkon's A Walk To Remember, Kinowelt's Samsara and Riders from Kinowelt/Telepool. It also Directors' Fortnight title Welcome To Collinwood, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from Pandora Films.

Heinzemann reports that strategic alliances and joint venture with other partners are under discussion. "While founding Solo in the current German market may look like a challenge, I feel it is an advantageous one. Timing could not be better."

With German licensors and distributors such as Kinowelt, Splendid and Advanced in retreat and prices paid for rights in a state of collapse, new ventures such as Solo will be welcomed by sellers.

Other new ventures rising from the ashes of the German distribution scene include Andreas Fallscheer's Falcom, which at AFM grabbed a brace of Miramax titles: The Guest and Pinocchio, and Christoph Ott's Ottfilm which is handling three Cannes films: Ken Loach's competition film Sweet Sixteen, Werner Schroeter's German-French co-production Deux and compilation film Ten Minutes Older - The Trumpet, in Un Certain Regard