LA-based distribution veteran Ko Mori of Eleven Arts and producer Tim Kwok of Convergence Entertainment are launching a North American distribution outfit, Cinema Asia Releasing (CAR), which will focus solely on Asian product.

Backed by private equity, the new company plans to acquire 8-10 films a year for release in cinemas and across ancillary platforms.

The outfit has already released Japanese anime Evangelion 2.0 in North America in January and acquired three further titles – Red Eagle, directed by Thailand’s Wisit Sasanatieng; Hong Kong thriller Murderer, and Taiwanese action feature Treasure Hunter. It’s also in talks with Toho Studios to acquire Japanese drama Confessions, directed by Tetsuya Nakashima.

“We hope to reinvigorate the [North American] market for Asian cinema by bringing in a new generation of viewers and building a sustainable environment for the business,” explained Kwok.

All the films are being lined up for theatrical release, although Kwok and Mori acknowledge the difficulty of securing wide releases in North America for Asian product. Therefore, in some cases the cinema release will be designed to drive sales to ancillary platforms. On the ancillary front CAR is partnering with DVD and VoD players including Funimation and Gravitas Ventures.

Kwok and Mori will also continue to work on their separate slates of productions. Mori is currently in pre-production on US-Japan production Falling, to be directed by Frank Lin, while Kwok’s Malaysian action film Bunohan is in post-production.