In a deal the signals the emergence of a potent UK buying force, Metrodome Distribution and newly-launched UK financier Future Film Group have agreed to form a joint venture providing the distributor with a $15m acquisition fund.

Metrodome has already picked up Behaviour Worldwide's $24m The Body, starring Antonio Banderas, through the arrangement. The distributor aims to acquire up to eight projects a year through the venture.

Future will provide equity funding for the acquisitions, joining the increasing number of tax-driven financiers such as Grosvenor Park and Ernst & Young providing UK producers with financing up-front.

Future, which will only back films qualifying as British, aims to combine the acquisitions funding with film financing through UK production tax-breaks launched by the Labour government. The financier also struck a tax-driven deal on The Body for work on the film's music score.

Future was formerly known as Factor 8 Films but relaunched itself last month under a new banner and with risk money (Screendaily February 29).

Metrodome's distribution arm has been steadily building its profile under managing director Rupert Preston, last year releasing Good Machine International's Bride Of Chucky on around 200 prints and scoring a hit with Human Traffic.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for Metrodome to be more actively aggressive and more acquisitive in the UK and international marketplaces," Preston said.

Future's Tim Levy commented: "We have always believed that the Labour government's tax incentives would create a new gateway between the film and investment community - and so it is proving to be the case. This should be the first of a number of new developments in providing equity financing to the UK film industry in a controlled and strategic manner."