Leading independent Intermedia, which faces a tough test when its biggest film to date K19: The Widowmaker opens in North America on July 19, is strengthening its ties in the UK with Box TV in which it has a 24.9% ownership stake. Intermedia will relocate its key creative team to offices it will share with Box and will give a first-look exclusive deal to Box Film, the newly created film production operation of Box TV.

Gavin James has been appointed president UK operations of Intermedia, reporting directly to Jon Gumpert, vice chairman and head of motion pictures operations at Intermedia. Development executive Sarah Harvey will be the key creative executive for Intermedia, reporting directly to Basil Iwanyk, president of worldwide production.

Nick Drake, formerly director of development at Intermedia, will become a consultant and together with Harvey will continue to oversee Intermedia's existing development slate. Projects targeted for production before the end of the year include Brighton Rock and If Only.

Drake is not the only one operating in a consultant capacity. President of worldwide marketing Paul Davis and co-president of Intermedia Music Will Evans have also segued into consultancy roles at the company.

The London presence of Intermedia was scaled back earlier this year after London-based co-chairman Guy East announced his intention to step down and set up his own production outfit Spitfire Pictures with LA-based former co-chairman Nigel SInclair. The international sales arm of the company had already been relocated to Los Angeles under Jere Hausfater.

Box Film, which will also be run by Box TV director Gub Neal, and Intermedia are already jointly developing a US-set thriller called Exile which will mark the directorial debut of TV writer Paul Abbot.

"This is an important step in getting some of the UK's best talent into the international film business," said Neal in a statement. "This partnership with Intermedia will allow us to pool resources and produce some unique and distinctive features for the widest possible market."

Meanwhile James, who has been appointed to the board of Box TV and all Intermedia's UK-based subsidiaries, will also have responsibility for the acquisition of film libraries worldwide as well as being involved in Intermedia's expansion operations throughout Europe.

Box TV's recent TV productions include Jimmy McGovern's drama Sunday about the Bloody Sunday killings in Northern Ireland and Swallow, a three-part drama about the drug industry and anti-depressants.