Cinemateca, a new distribution company for Spanish-language arthouse and classic films, kicks off next month in a bid to tap the exploding DVD market in the U.S. where DVD player penetration currently stands at 46% of TV households.

The move also comes just as census figures show that Hispanics have overtaken African-Americans as the US's largest minority group. The US Latino population now stands at 37m, comprising 13% of the total population.

The new label pushes off with the maiden DVD release of Camila, Maria Luisa Bemberg's 1984 acclaimed tale of forbidden love between a priest and an Argentine socialite.

Founded by Los Angeles-based Argentine national Peter Marai, Cinemateca aims to distribute 18 to 24 titles a year in both the DVD and VHS formats. "We hope to release the crème de la crème of Spanish language cinema," said Marai who added that his catalogue will include festival winning titles.

In the spring, Cinemateca plans to release Roberto Gavaldon's El Gallo De Oro and Eliseo Subiela's El Lado Oscuro Del Corazon. Cinemateca has signed on Chicago-based company, Facets, to handle the physical distribution of its titles.

Cinemateca may book a limited theatrical run for Luis Bunuel classics Viridiana, El Angel Exterminador and Simon Del Desierto before releasing them on VHS and DVD. Other films in its catalogue include Bemberg's Senora De Nadie and Momentos and Subiela's Ultimos Imagenes Del Naufragio.

Marai also launched Accents last November, a distribution label for foreign language classics, with the VHS and DVD release of Bertrand Tavernier's It All Starts Today.