Mark Urman is leaving beleaguered THINKFilm to start work as president of Marco Weber's Senator Entertainment on October 1.

The development follows Weber's recent acquisition of all shares in US-based company Senator Entertainment and his severing of ties with former German-based parent company Senator Entertainment AG.

Meanwhile Urman's departure from THINKFilm casts serious doubt over the future of the East Coast arthouse distributor and sales company he co-founded in 2001. In recent months THINKFilm had become bogged down in lawsuits and allegations surrounding unpaid bills and in April co-founder Jeff Sackman announced he was leaving.

Urman and Weber were unavailable for comment while David Bergstein, the owner of THINKFilm's parent company Capitol Films, had not returned calls at time of writing.

Senator Entertainment will become a bi-coastal operation focusing on production and distribution of English-language fare. Urman will concentrate on setting up the distribution operation, leaving Weber to focus on productions.

The distribution slate includes Gregor Jordan's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' unsettling drama The Informers starring Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder and Amber Heard; 2006 Toronto Midnight Madness hit All The Boys Love Mandy Lane from The Wackness director Jonathan Levine that also stars Heard; Jean-Francois Richet's French crime epic Public Enemy No.1 featuring an all-star French ensemble led by Vincent Cassel that is set to get its world premiere at Toronto; Dennis Lee's ensemble drama Fireflies In The Garden; and Vincenzo Natali's sci-fi thriller Splice starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley.

In pre-production are the terrorism thriller Unthinkable starring Samuel L Jackson to be directed by Gregor Jordan and video game adaptation Clocktower that Martin Weisz will direct.

'I believe this is the perfect time to launch a company of this shape and size,' Urman said, adding: 'We start with an exceptional line-up that combines commercial crossover films with classically niche-oriented ones, and we'll have the ability to alternate wide releases - involving hundreds of prints.'

'Mark's expertise in the independent film world is without rival,' Weber said. 'He has proven consistently that he understands how to design specific campaigns for movies that are high quality, yet challenging to release successfully.'