The unravelling of German media group Kinowelt Medien has taken a further twist this week with reports spreading through the German distribution sector that Juergen Fabritius, managing director of Kinowelt's arthouse distribution arm, Arthaus Filmverleih, has left the company ahead of plans to fold Arthaus into the mainstream Kinowelt Filmverleih.

This latest departure of a key Kinowelt executive comes after the recent exit of the group's CFO Eduard Unzeitig and Kinowelt International's managing director Alexander van Duelmen as well as the subsuming of distribution outfit Jugendfilm into Kinowelt Filmverleih.

Arthaus Filmverleih was established by Kinowelt in 1998 and scored major box-office successes with such releases as Thomas Vinterberg's Festen, Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother and The Blair Witch Project. Arthaus had also handled the theatrical release of new films under the Filmverlag der Autoren label which has been part of the Kinowelt empire since October 1999.

Meanwhile, a report in this week's issue of German Stern magazine has ruffled feathers at Kinowelt and HypoVereinsbank (HVB) due to an alleged misquoting of a comment by HVB executive Dieter Rampl. Stern quoted Rampl as saying that his bank "is checking in co-operation with other banks the survival chances of Kinowelt and whether we can achieve a solution" whereas Kinowelt and HVB claim that Rampl had in fact said that the banks were looking to see "which solution we can achieve".

Juergen Fabritius was unavailable for comment.