Former J&M Entertainment head of sales Gary Phillips has partnered with Mark Vennis, formerly a director of film financiers Mansfield Associates, to launch UK-based independent sales company Moviehouse Entertainment.

The partners aim to handle five or six UK and US theatrical projects per year. The company is backed by private equity from London and Los Angeles, with a $15m credit line from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

"Although the business has become much tougher in recent years, we both felt that there are opportunities, particularly in London, for a producer and talent-friendly dedicated sales operation run on a lean and focused basis," said Vennis.

Phillips and Vennis become joint managing directors of the new outfit. Claire Battersby, who previously co-ran promotional body UK LA, is director of marketing and publicity.

"Overall Moviehouse strategy is to build long term relationships with producers, film-makers, financiers and distribution partners who appreciate a straightforward and realistic approach in keeping with the truly independent market place," said Phillips. "We will play a central role in putting these elements together and bringing quality projects to the international market."