Craig A Kessler has joined Beverly Hills-based New FilmsInternational as vice president of business and legal affairs.

Reporting to New Films executive vice president Ron Gell, Kesslerwill be responsible for negotiating production and co-productions for NFI'sexpanding slate.

Kessler previously served at Doug Liman's production companyHypnotic, and prior to that he served in the same capacity at the Edward RPressman Film Corporation, negotiating deals for such titles as BeautifulCountry and Crow IV.

He has also served as production counsel on various independentfeatures, among them The Lather Effect starring Eric Stoltz and Connie Britton, and the upcomingtheatrical adaptation of the comic book series Razor.

New Films recently appointed Luke Jones director of co-productionfinance and sees this and the arrival of Kessler as an essential element in itsbid to bulk up production activities.

"Luke and Craig's presence at the company brings us to thenext level in our expansion plans, allowing us to pursue a higher number ofacquisitions, productions and co-productions," New Films president NesimHason said.

"The appointment further places New Film International as animportant producer and distributor of quality entertainment worldwide."

Upcoming productions include the supernatural thriller BloodyNumbers, with John Wooand Terrence Chang's Lion Rock Productions, and family saga The MermaidsSinging, which starsJessica Lange and Neve Campbell.

Also in the pipeline, through a three-year deal with Highland Myst,are the action thriller Living & Dying and horror project Fall Down Dead.