Under the three-year worldwide first-look deal Sony will distribute local-language films produced by local producers in collaboration with former studio executive Clifford Werber’s fledgling Fluent Entertainment.

Fluent Entertainment, backed by private equity and strategic and institutional investors, supports production and distribution of local-language product while leveraging export and remake opportunities in other territories including the US. The aim will be to produce modestly budgeted fare that can go out on up to 200-300 screens in key markets.

The company is advised by CIT Communications, Media & Entertainment, Libby Savill of Olswang and advisory board member Jon Gumpert of Apex Film Capital.

Fluent has a preexisting co-financing and distribution arrangement with SND in France. Werber was instrumental in setting up SamFilm’s recent German hit Funf Freunde and delivering the underlying literary material, namely Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

Fluent is adapting among others the Brazilian blockbuster comedy If I Were You as a German remake with H&V Entertainment and Markus Goller.

“This deal comes at a time when the market share and revenues for local productions are on the rise in many key markets around the world,” Werber said. “Sony has a long and storied history in this robust sector of the business and is an ideal partner as Fluent expands its horizons, uniting filmmakers around the world, investment capital and cutting-edge marketing and distribution.”  

“Partnering with Fluent will enable Sony Pictures to leverage our world-class distribution network for a broader slate of local productions with special resonance in their home markets and appeal around the world,” Brian Burkin, Sony’s evp of international motion picture productions said.

Werber was a senior executive in charge of worldwide co-productions and acquisitions at Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros.

Films to emerge from his tenure at these studios include Germany’s Asterix Conquers America, Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, Juan Campanella’s El Mismo Amor, La Misma Lluvia and Alejandro Amenabar’s Abre Los Ojos.