California arthouse theatrecircuit Laemmle Theatres and marketing expert Steven Zeller of GS EntertainmentMarketing Group have joined forces on Laemmle/Zeller Films, a full-service"virtual" theatrical distributor based in Los Angeles.

Without corporate offices,Laemmle/Zeller Films principals Greg Laemmle, who is president of LaemmleTheatres, and Zeller will work out of their respective headquarters, withLaemmle staff booking theatres, shipping prints and materials, settling boxoffice collections and handling all bookkeeping. GS Entertainment Marketingwill handle marketing, advertising, publicity and promotions.

The aim of the company is tochampion those titles that might slip through the distribution net. "Worthwhilefilms were judged too small by the larger companies, and at the same time,smaller companies were not equipped to fully capitalise on these films'potential in the marketplace," Laemmle and Zeller said in a joint statement.

"Additionally, there alwaysseems to be an abundance of terrific films at film festivals that never gettheatrically released. Our new company will be simultaneously nimble and yetresponsible, finding and shepherding what we hope are wonderful movies thatdeserve to be seen by audiences in movie theatres."

Laemmle/Zeller Films' firsttheatrical release in April will be Mike Wranovics' baseball title Up ForGrabs, winner of the audience awardfor best documentary at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Wranovics served as directorand producer, while Michael Lindenberger and Josh Keppel came aboard asco-producers.

The company is currently innegotiation on two other pictures and expects to release four to eight titles ayear.

Laemmle's grandfatherfounded Laemmle Theatres in 1938. The chain grew in the mid 1960s under theguidance of Greg's father Robert and now operates 47 screens and an additional23 as part of an independent booking service.

Zeller is the president ofGS Entertainment Marketing Group, the film and video marketing outfit he runswith his brother Todd Zeller.