The reason behind Troy Lum's sudden departure from Dendy Films last week has become clear: he is starting his own Australian distribution and marketing company in partnership with veteran distributor Frank Cox. Cox will wind down his existing entity, NewVision, and transfer management of its library of 150 films to newly-formed Hopscotch.

No details are available on the financial structure, but Melbourne-based Cox will have put up most of the money for the privilege of stepping back from day-to-day management but staying in the game. He said he has fielded many enquiries from people abroad wanting to employ Lum and is pleased to be ensuring "the most dynamic young acquisitions person in the Australian industry" stays close to home.

The pair will share the acquisition of international titles, starting at Cannes this month, but Lum will run Hopscotch out of Sydney. Cox will act in an advisory role and seek production opportunities. It is expected that eight to 10 titles will be released annually and that the development and distribution of Australian films will be an important part of the new business.

Cox established NewVision in 1980. His successes have included Kundun, Chasing Amy, Leaving Las Vegas, the Three Colours trilogy, My Name Is Joe, Love And Other Catastrophes and, most recently, Monsoon Wedding. In 2000 he produced the Australian comedy Better Than Sex in association with Bruna Papandrea.

Lum has been head of Dendy Films for the past four years. His most successful acquisitions have included The Blair Witch Project, Buena Vista Social Club, All About My Mother, Waking Ned Devine, In The Mood For Love and Amelie.

"I am so invigorated by the challenge of starting a new company" said Lum. "With Frank's experience behind me, I am confident that we will be able to craft a new and exciting entity that will not only release high quality product, but will also provide a dynamic resource for the industry as a whole."