Former Showtime executive Matt Riklin has launched Bridge Films, acompany devoted to acquiring remake rights to non-English language pictures andsetting them up with US studios and financiers.

Funded by private equity, Bridge Films employs a staff of 10 'agents'who will operate throughout the world to source promising material, A Bridgecontingent is set to attend Cannes.

The company has already optioned remake rights to Japp van Eyck'sDutch romantic comedy Flirt from Corrino Media Corporation, Anne Fontaine's French thriller EntreSes Mains (In HisHands) from Cine b, andEmmanuelle Bercot's French celebrity culture drama Backstage from Haut Et Court.

Bridge Films is open to sourcing any genre, however Riklinstressed projects would need to be "culturally neutral" in order tooffer broad appeal, and must be sufficiently realised to avoid the costly andtime-consuming process of substantial rewrites.

"This takes to the next level what I did at Showtime, where Iwas involved in co-financing and got to know the international marketplace verywell," Riklin said.

"Americans are for the most part habitually spoiled and don'tgo to see foreign-language films, so many great projects never see the light ofday here.

"I sense an increased willingness on the part of Americancompanies for good ideas and stories and they know there's a lot of potentialto market and distribute them around the world."

Worldwide rights will fall to whoever finances theEnglish-language remakes. Riklin or Bridge Films will be involved with rewritesand casting, and will typically take an executive producer credit. Riklinserved in various executive capacities at Showtime, most recently as executivevice president of programme enterprises and distribution.

He was responsible for securing co-financing on a $150m annualslate of features and series as well as the worldwide sale of ancillary rightsto Showtime's original programming.

Riklin was also head of co-production, and worked to secure UStheatrical distribution deals with studios on such Showtime-financed projectsas Gods & Monsters, The House Of Mirth, and Maya Angelou's directorial debut Down In The Delta.