EXCLUSIVE: Alternative distribution outfit is a joint venture between David Shear and Deborah Rowland.

David Shear of UK independent distribution company Shear Entertainment and Deborah Rowland of We Are The Tonic are joining forces to launch a new alternative distribution outfit, Shear Tonic.

The first project to come out of the joint venture will be Praslin Pictures’ Tony Benn: Will & Testament [pictured], a documentary about the labour politician who died in March this year. It will be released in the UK this summer.

Set up in response to “demand from filmmakers seeking direct distribution and sales agents wanting to hold back UK rights and distribute themselves,” Shear Tonic will offer distribution expertise on a project by project basis, allowing filmmakers to hang onto their distribution rights. It will work across theatrical, home entertainment and VOD.

Formerly head of theatrical distribution at UK company Revolver Entertainment, Shear set up his own distribution consultancy Shear Entertainment in April 2013, working on projects to date including Justin Bieber’s Believe, The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone and The Machine.

Rowland was director of distribution, sales and marketing director at Curzon Artificial Eye, before setting up her own marketing, distribution and consultancy company We Are The Tonic.

“The Shear Tonic approach means that film companies can access our extensive combined distribution experience on a project basis, and film-makers have more creative and financial control over the releases of their films,” said Rowland.

“Just as importantly, film-makers who work with us have all the benefits of having a distributor without having to relinquish their rights. We have experience across all release platforms, from theatrical and DVD, to VOD and ancillary - the perfect distribution solution,” added Shear.

Shear and Rowland will also continue to operate through their own companies as well as launching the new venture.