Italian indie distributor Lucky Red has acquired the nameand catalogue of Key Films and is launching a new genre label.

Lucky Red's Andrea Occhipinti said the first film that hewill distribute under the new label will be Venice title Initial D byAndrew Lau and Alan Mak. The film is being sold by Media Asia Group.

His Key Films slate will also include Korean film ABittersweet Life and Thai horror flick Shutters. It will alsorelease Infernal Affairs II and III, and Lady Snowbloodstraight-to-video.

"I expect to select 6-8 titles a year to be released throughthe Key Films label, but they won't all be Asian films," Occhipinti told"They will be action, horror and other genre titles that I don't consider fitinto Lucky Red."

Occhipinti co-founded Lucky Redwith Kermit Smith in 1988. In 1999, Smith left to create his own arthousedistribution and co-production outfit, Key Films, which released such films as TheCider House Rules, You Can Count on Me and The Widow of St. Pierre.Following a brief illness, Smith died in 2001.Since then, Key Films has only released a handful of titles.

Meanwhile, Occhipinti's next release through hisLucky Red label will be the sleeper hit documentary The March of thePenguins, on November 18. "There is incredible interest from Italianexhibitors for the film," he said.

Occhipinti is also involved in production. LuckyRed's upcoming production slate includes the next film by Salvatore Mereu, whowon the Critics Week competition at Venice in 2003 with his feature debut Balloa Tre Passi.

His Euros 3m new picture is entitled Sonnetaule,which in Sardinian literally means "The Sound of Wood."

The film, which has received Italian statefunding, is an adaptation of a book by Giuseppe Fiore. Set in Sardinia in 1940,it is a coming-of-age tale about a 12-year-old shepherd whose father isunjustly accused of killing a man and sent to prison. The boy eventuallybecomes a bandit, and applies his own code of justice.

The film was one of three finalists for theSundance/NHK best script award. Sonnetaule is being planned as aninternational co-production and is due to start shooting in Sardinia at thebeginning of 2006.