Kinowelt International (KI), the in-house world sales arm of Kinowelt, is to re-focus its activities exclusively on Eastern Europe, exploiting films acquired through New Line, Beacon Communications and Alliance Atlantis.

Having already recognised the rapid growth in the Eastern European market - a five-year growth rate of 46% compared to 11% in Western Europe, KI has expanded aggressively over the past year through joint ventures and licensing deals in Poland, Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. In addition, last July Kinowelt joined forces with Bodo Scriba's Moscow-based distributor Gemini International to found the Russian distribution outlet Gemini Kinomir.

Kinowelt's other international sales activities are now to be co-ordinated by the German media group's central rights trading division Kinowelt Lizenzverwertung (KL) headed by Vice President Sales & Marketing Jochen Hesse. As well as handling the world rights for around 200 New German Cinema classics from the Filmverlag der Autoren library, KL will now also handle international sales on such new feature films as Esther Gronenborn's and the Cuban-German Kinowelt co-production Playing Swede by Daniel Diaz Torres. Until recently, films like had been handled by KI, which moved operations from Berlin to the Kinowelt Group's headquarters in Munich at the end of last year.