Fox Filmed Entertainment is launching Fox International Productions (FIP) to produce and acquire local language films for key territories.

Sanford Panitch, a long-time executive at New Regency and Fox, has been brought in to run the company, which will corral all of Fox's existing and future indigenous productions under one banner.

FIP will be staffed in Los Angeles with business affairs, development and production executives and will draw on the expertise of creative individuals on staff in key territories. It also will rely on the continuing efforts of Tony Safford, Fox's executive vice president of worldwide acquisitions.

Panitch, who most recently served as president of filmed entertainment for New Regency, will report to Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen and CEOs Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.

FIP will develop partnerships with local producers and film-makers and produce, co-finance, acquire and distribute local language content in key territories.

The company is in active discussions with several investment funds about providing equity financing for its international productions. Panitch and his team will oversee production already underway in Japan, Germany, Russia and India, and will expand Fox's local productions in these and other markets in the future.

FIP will work closely with Fox's other production divisions and partners and also will tap into its News Corporation sister companies, including STAR, SKY and MySpace, among others.

The enterprise will coordinate efforts with Fox International, whose co-presidents Tomas Jegeus and Paul Hanneman will handle all marketing and distribution.

'We have the infrastructure provided by the world's most global media company along with Fox's unmatched marketing and distribution operations, and in Sanford, we have a seasoned, successful executive with whom to entrust this important enterprise,' Gianopulos said. 'All of these factors - as well as our existing relationships and collective experience around the world - position us for great success.'

'Sanford is a uniquely gifted and well rounded film executive,' Rothman said. 'In the last years, he has spent much of his efforts focusing on international talent, and will bring his inimitable energy, perseverance, and can do attitude to expand our efforts around the globe.'

'This is a natural next step for me and a great opportunity,' Panitch said. 'And to be able to do it in an environment with such an incredibly broad global presence is ideal. Our slate will include films targeted for the markets in which they are made and some pictures for a broader international audience.'

'Our team has done considerable work over the past few years in identifying co-production opportunities around the world and we are excited to work with Sanford to see those plans come to fruition,' Jegeus and Hanneman said.

Panitch has served as president of filmed entertainment for New Regency for the past seven years and previously served a Twentieth Century Fox as executive vice president of production.