Australian private investment vehicle Macquarie Film Corp (MFC) has signed a two-year distribution pact with UIP.

Under the terms of the deal, UIP will have first option to handle the Australian theatrical release of all titles backed by MFC. The two partners will jointly devise marketing strategies and share p&a costs for films which fall under the deal.

"Our philosophy is that to make money from investment you have to be very hands-on in the role of sales, distribution and marketing, and that's where we have the management experience," said Bryan Lowe, CEO of Macquarie Filmed Investments, the company that manages MFC.

MFC is one of Australia's two government-sanctioned Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICs) formed nearly two years ago with the aim of boosting the film and television industry via private financing. It raised $8.5m (A$16.25m) from private investors able to claim tax deductions on their investment, out of the $10.4m (A$20m) it was allowed under the pilot scheme.

Lowe expects the MFC to co-invest in 10 to 15 projects, including television, mostly in partnership with the Australian Film Finance Corporation. The company has so far offered to board three projects, for a total investment of $1.6m (A$3m), which are likely to be channelled through a range of sales agents.

Australia's arts minister Peter McGauran described the alliance with UIP as "a very encouraging marketplace initiative."

"We must ensure that local cinema goers get every chance to see the best Australian films, which in turn will help their export around the world," McGauran said in a statement. "The FLIC scheme is designed to foster the growth of Australian marketplace skills and that means bigger audiences everywhere for Australian productions and stories, which is the government's objective."