Australian distributor Pinefilm Entertainment has appointed Nicole Sorby as head of acquisitions replacing Peter Downer who left the company last week following a breakdown in relations with owner and managing director Sean Rothsey.

Rothsey was formerly a financial backer of The Globe Film Co, when Downer was one of three partners there, but withdrew his support 15 months ago taking Downer with him.

Rothsey aims to run Pinefilm as a distributor unburdened by overheads and to this end has struck up a relationship with fellow independent distributor REP. The two companies jointly acquired Maybe Baby and Saving Grace for which REP will handle all negotiation of terms and marketing. When films only require booking services, rather than specialised marketing, Pinefilm is likely to partner with UIP.

Rothsey expects to handle 12 films a year, suitable for both arthouse and mainstream release, but some will be straight to video titles. The strategic alliance between Pinefilm, video distributor Siren and New Zealand distributor Rialto Entertainment remains in place.