Twisted Pictures is movingfast in the wake of its horror hit Saw and has signed a nine-picture distribution deal with Lions Gate Filmsfor its upcoming slate of horror and thriller titles.

Twisted executives arelooking for writers and directors with existing scripts and will considerworking with outside producers willing to work within the existing budgetparameters, which the companies did not disclose.

Saw cost roughly $1.5m to produce and has grossed morethan $36.2m in its first two weeks on more than 2,400 US screens nationwide.

"We are thrilled to be ableto finance and produce cutting edge, story-driven genre films and know we havethe proven marketing and distribution expertise of Lions Gate behind us,"Twisted's Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Gregg Hoffman said in a joint statement.

"There isn't anotherdistribution company in the business who better understands how to reach out tothe vast audience of genre fans who want to see the uncompromising style of filmwe are committed to making."

"Twisted Pictures' firmcommitment to producing fresh, exciting films in the lucrative horror/thrillergenre is as strong as Lions Gate's is to marketing and distributing them,"Lions Gate's president of acquisitions, television and co-productions PeterBlock added.

"Following the terrificexperience we have had on Twisted Pictures' first film Saw, we are looking forward to teaming up with them ontheir forthcoming projects, which are sure to be equally provocative andinnovative."

Block negotiated the dealalong with Lions Gate's senior vice president of acquisitions JasonConstantine, vice president of business and legal affairs Wendy Jaffe and PeterSchlessel and Steve Monas on behalf of Twisted Pictures, who will also serve asexecutive producer on the productions.

Twisted is the genre arm ofEvolution Entertainment and announced plans with Lions Gate last week for theHalloween 2005 release of Saw 2.