Robert C Hawk, the former CEO of cable operator US WestMultimedia, and Quay Hays, a veteran executive most recently senior consultantat RKO Pictures, have formed Idiom Films, an independent production and financecompany that has two projects in pre-production, The Last Face and Hating Her. The company, which has its own overheadand development funds and claims to have arrangements in place with establishedproduction funds, plans to put out two to four pictures a year costing up to$40m each.

Hawk is chairman and Hays is president, while other Idiom partnersinclude media investors Bob Hoff of Crosspoint Venture Partners, Yuri Pikover,co-founder of Xylan and chairman of Access 360, Charles McBrayer, Mark Floydand Samy Boy Pictures' principal Sam Nazarian.

In three key appointments former Monarch Pictures creative vicepresident Jay Whitney Brown has been named executive vice president; ScottMichael Murray, former director of development at Nucleus Entertainment andcreative executive on Legally Blonde, becomes vice president of development; and MaryMontiforte, former production executive at Buena Vista/Disney, is named head ofphysical production.

"Idiom has some very strong material and great relationships. Talent,the agencies, the financial community and really everyone have been extremelysupportive and receptive to our projects," Brown said in a statement. BothIdiom projects in pre-production are budgeted at $10m. The romantic drama TheLast Face was writtenand will be directed by Erin Dignam (Loved, Denial) and stars Robin Wright Penn and JavierBardem. Production is due to begin in May in South Africa.

The comedy Hating Her was written and will be directed by Thomas Bezucha (Big Eden), with an ensemble cast including SelmaBlair, Billy Crudup, Blythe Danner and Donald Sutherland. Shooting is due to beginon Mar 24 in Los Angeles.

Idiom iscurrently casting the comedy Nice Guys Club by Tim Tori with Kelly Makin (MickeyBlue Eyes) attached todirect, and Mother's Day by Scott Rhinehart with Arthur Allan Seidelman directing.