Tartan Films, Hamish McAlpine's UK distribution and production company, is launching a DVD-driven US arm called Tartan USA.

McAlpine and Alan Partington, CEO of the group's home entertainment division, are already in Los Angeles setting up the US video operation and meeting video sales and distribution companies.

The company will echo the UK operation and will consist of three labels: Tartan Video, Tartan Terror and Asia Extreme.

McAlpine and Laura De Casto, CEO of the UK theatrical group, are also in advanced discussions with a US distributor to form a joint theatrical distribution operation to handle US releases of future acquisitions.

"There are a lot of great films out in the world which are just not being picked up for the US," said McAlpine. "I am spending a lot of time in America on our production side and it is easy for me to oversee things here. We enjoy very good relations with the sales companies and they are very excited by us bringing our unique style of marketing to the US."

Tartan is also in advanced talks with distributors in Australia and other territories, moves that will enable the company to acquire rights in all English speaking territories.

McAlpine added that video will be key in the US and that he will concentrate on getting home entertainment up-and-running for September.