Leading German independent producers Egoli Tossell Film and Wueste Film have joined forces with the Berlin-based exhibitor timebandits Medien to launch a new theatrical distributor - timebandits films.

The distributor will have its headquarters in Potsdam. Timebandits Medien's co-owner Burkhard Voiges will serve as head of distribution.

The initial line-up of films already confirmed for release from early 2004 include Bernd Fischer's documentary From Dachau With Love, which had its premiere at the Berlinale last February, Fatih Akin's new feature Against The Wall (Gegen Die Wand), and European Film Award winner Andres Veiel's (Black Box BRD) new documentary Die Spielwuetigen.

The company will also distribute Egoli Tossell Film's UK-German co-production with M2M Films of Alison Murray's feature debut Mouth To Mouth, starring Ellen Page (Marion Bridge), Natasha Wightman (Gosford Park) and August Diehl (Distant Lights) which wrapped in Portugal on October 23.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com, Egoli Tossell Film's Jens Meurer explained that the motivation for embarking on this distribution venture was, "as quaint as it sounds, a friendship reason and long, endless debates about how distribution works and how to fill that gap between cinemas and producers."

He added: "One thing we look forward to is continuity because Wueste, ourselves and other production companies work first with this distributor and then with that one. That is one of the weaknesses of distribution in Germany, but you don't see so much of that in the United States or other countries. This distributor hopping is something we want to avoid."

Timebandits films will be open for projects from German producers other than Egoli Tossell Film and Wueste Film, as well as German companies' international co-productions. Veiel's film, for example, was produced by Journal Film.

"I think one of the things we will be able to offer is to be involved very early on in the most interesting European productions", Meurer said. "Thanks to the ACE [producer] network and our status in Europe we often get asked to be involved in projects as co-producers. We will now have an opportunity to also become involved as distributors for Germany, a territory which has clearly got a troubled landscape at the moment. We can't single-handedly change matters, but we are different to the other distributors in that we are experienced European co-producers and that could give the distribution company a leg-up."