Stewart Till has announced that his ambitious new worldwide film production and distribution company will be called Signpost Films, and has confirmed a string of London-based executive appointments, including Nicole Mackey and Darryl Iwai.

Till, formerly president of London-based Universal Pictures International and head of international activities at the defunct Euro major PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE), is president and CEO of the new company, which aims to produce films ranging from big budget event titles to lower budget niche-driven fare.

Having struck production deals with Charles Roven's Atlas Entertainment and Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller's Gold/Miller Company - both subsidiaries of Signpost backer Mosaic Media - the company plans to make four to six films in its first year. This output will be expanded to up to forty films in the first five years with an estimated production and distribution spend of over $2bn. Signpost will distribute its own films in the major international territories, handling sales in-house to remaining international territories.

As previously announced (see Screendaily, Oct 29) the company was formed by Till, Canadian fund CDP Capital Communications and LA-based Mosaic Media Group.

Darryl Iwai, erstwhile president of PFE Canada, where he was responsible for the releases of Bean, Dead Man Walking and Fargo among others, has been appointed president, worldwide distribution, reporting to Till.

"The timing is right for a new film company like Signpost to emerge," said Iwai. "I believe filmmakers and the film industry as a whole will welcome our philosophy and strategy."

President, international sales at Signpost is Nicole Mackey, who will report to Iwai. Most recently president of international sales at Lolafilms UK, Mackey also spent 15 years at Rank, where she was a director of the board and head of sales.

Julia Short, who has worked for over 10 years in UK theatrical marketing, becomes senior vice-president, worldwide marketing at Signpost. Short had spells at Twentieth Century Fox and Rank before becoming head of marketing at PFE and later Helkon SK. "The philosophy and values that made PolyGram what it was in the 1990s were down to the inspiration of Stewart," Short said. "Being given the chance to work with him, Darryl and Nicole at Signpost is a wonderful opportunity."

Said Till: "I am delighted to welcome these exceptional executives to Signpost. In each instance, they were the first choice for each position."