Philadelphia-based US home video distributor TLA Entertainment Group has launched a new label for alternative films called TLA Releasing and teamed with theatrical distributor First Run Features to release the films theatrically in North America.

The first films to be released by the label are Spin The Bottle, a US indie about a reunion of five friends, popular German comedy The Trio, British gay character study Forgive And Forget and Rosa Von Praunhelm's German period piece The Einstein Of Sex - The Life And Work Of Doctor Magnus Hirschfeld, cross-dressing US drama Surrender Dorothy and Patrick Hasson's Waiting.

The venture was created by TLA president Raymond Murray to bring films out of the mainstream into the home entertainment market specifically US independents, foreign language films and films with gay and lesbian themes. Murray, who is also artistic director of the Philadelphia Festival Of World Cinema and the Philadelphia International Gay And Lesbian Film Festival, says that he had been approached by film-makers at festivals around the world asking help on getting access to the growing US video market.

"Wherever I went, filmmakers would come asking for my help," he said in a statement. "They had films that would be shown at festivals or in limited release, but then they would have great troubles securing an American video releasing deal. TLA Entertainment has long had a commitment to promote independent, international and gay/lesbian films. With our mail-ordercatalogues and Web site, we have also had considerable success reaching into this unique and specialized market. We therefore decided to secure the titles ourselves."