NewZealand distributor Arkles Entertainment is increasing its activity in theAustralian market where it is planning sizeable releases for both Junebug and Danish film Brothers in the next few months.

TheAuckland-based company acquired theatrical rights for Junebugjust days before Amy Adams got her best supportingactress Oscar nomination. Both this film and Brotherscame via what Arkles managing director John Daviesdescribes as a two-way first-look deal with Australian home entertainmentdistributor Force Entertainment.

Both filmswill be released on 15-20 screens inAustralia and 20-25 screens inNew Zealand. Junebug isscheduled for release in early May inAustralia and two months later inNew Zealand. Brothers will alsobe released in May in Australia and three months later in New Zealand.

Arkles haspicked up a raft of new films recently and also plans to release Down To The Bone, acquired from sales agent Swipe,across both territories.

OtherNZ-only pick-ups include Paper Clips,also from Swipe; Way Of Lifeand Bullet Boy fromPortman, and The Trouble With Sex fromMoviehouse. Many distributors release films on both sides of the Tasman Sea butnearly all of them are based inAustralia.

Digitalcinemas are fundamental to Davies' strategy. Junebugwill be released on prints and DVD whereas his first Australian pick-up, Puppy, will be a wholly digital release.Writer/director Kieran Galvin's low-budget picture was acquired directly fromproducer Melissa Beauford. Becker has international rights.

Davies hassince picked up Australian suspense dramaLost And Found for New Zealand and will assistwriter/director/co-producer David Blake to release it in Australia.

"I havehandled a lot of low-budget films inNew Zealand as I always find them to be the freshest stories," saidDavies. "Puppy is like a cross between Secretary and TieMe Up, Tie Me Down. It's a real genre bender, partthriller, part escape drama, and part love story."

Arkles'increased acquisition activity is partly due to a new financing arrangementwhich will also assist The Map Readergoing into production this year. NZ writer/director Harold Brodie's second filmwill be Davies' feature debut as a producer.

Davies,publicist Gina Dellabarca and Berletta Investments bought Auckland's 210-seatarthouse Academy Cinema from Mark Croft in November. It includes a 16-seatdigital auditorium known as the Encore.