Children's fantasy comedy Tooth and comedy thriller Max Dark are among the first projects at the newly-launched production operation of UK distributor Helkon SK. Emma Berkosfky, former head of development at BSkyB film arm Sky Pictures, will head up development at the outfit.

Berkosfky, who was also previously at British Screen Finance, has access to an annual development fund worth up to $1m and will run the initiative with the distributor's co-founders Zygi Kamasa and Simon Franks. Helkon SK will take UK and, potentially, world-wide rights as well as offer direct equity investment as it did recently on films such as Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham and David Cronenberg's Spider.

"We can finance an entire British film for the price it cost to pick up some films so it is logical to get more involved on the right kinds of projects," Kamasa said.

Helkon SK secured a cash boost in April when Germany's Helkon Media bought 51% of the company for $16m. The distributor, which may now separate from Helkon Media, possibly though a management buy-out, has enjoyed box-office success this year with Jeepers Creepers and The Gift.

Tooth is to be directed by commercials director Ed Nammour, with Susie Brook Smith of Archangel Productions producing alongside Kamasa and Franks. Max Dark, written by Michael Oates-Palmer, is set in Paris and is about a Harvard whizz-kid who is recruited by an illustrious super-thief.