Former Senator Filmexecutive Benjamin Herrmann and media fund manager David Groenewoldhave launched an as-yet-unnamed new theatrical distribution company andproduction house to handle primarily commercial German films.

The distribution arm's firsttitles are:

Philipp Stoelzl's Nordwand, starring Johanna Wokalek and Benno Fuermann in a drama about the failed first ascent of thenorth wall of the Eiger in 1936, to be produced by Medienkontor Berlin.

Oscar-winnerFlorian Gallenberger's new film John Rabe, about the German Siemensmanager who saved thousands of people from certain death as the "Schindler ofChina" during the Second World War, to be produced by MischaHofmann of Hofmann & Voges Entertainment.

Sherry Hormann'sadaptation of Waris Dirie's1997 international bestseller autobiography DesertFlower (Wuestenblume), to be produced by PeterHerrmann (Nowhere In Africa).

Commenting on the decisionto join forces with Groenewold on this new venturewhich will be based in Berlinand Munich, Herrmann said that he was particularly pleased that"we can offer the German producers and creative forces a new home. I want tocontinue here my close collaboration with the leading filmmakers of Germany."

This new outfit has thepotential to become a serious new competitor for other establishedproducer-distributors of German films such as ConstantinFilm, Concorde Film, X-Filme creative pool andSenator Entertainment.

Herrmann was managingdirector of Senator Entertainment s distribution and production arms until April,working on films including TheExperiment, The Miracle Of Bern and MerryChristmas.

Groenewold's German Film Productions(GFP) fund was the only private media fund to concentrate exclusively on Germanfeature films and TV productions with such productions as Der Wixxer, Elementarteilchen,The Red Cockatoo, and the big summer release Hui Buh - Das Schlossgespenst which Constantin Film opens on July 20. In April, two of Groenewold s GFP funds acquired a majority stake in theMunich-based film and TV production house Odeon Film.