Fledgling UK distributor Verve Pictures has acquired Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 and is planning a 60 print release for the film in September.

Code 46 is the biggest title which Verve has yet handled. The sci-fi drama, starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, received its world premiere at last year's Venice Festival.

Verve was formed in 2003 by Giorgia Lo Savio, Julia Short and Colin Burch. Lo Savio and Burch worked formerly at FilmFour as head of press and publicity and head of sales and acquisitions respectively, while Short has worked in marketing at companies such as PolyGram, Redbus and Signpost.

Verve, which specialises in British films and European foreign language titles, is one of a number of ambitious new distribution outfits set up in the UK over the last 18 months. Already this year, it has released Gabriele Muccino's Sundance audience award winner, The Last Kiss, and has several new titles in the pipeline, among them Karl Golden's The Honeymooners (April 30th), Nicolas Winding Refn's Fear X (26th March), thriller Freeze Frame, starring Lee Evans, which it is releasing in June, and Vicente Aranda's Carmen.

Meanwhile, the company is boarding selected projects at script stage, among them Saul Dibb's East London youth thriller Bullet Boy, produced by BBC Films, The UK Film Council New Cinema Fund and Shine Entertainment, and Amma Assante's A Way Of Life, starring Brenda Blethyn. The film, sold by Portman, is an Awol Films Production, financed by the New Cinema Fund, the Arts Council of Wales and HTV.

Verve has also struck up a buying alliance with Dublin-based, Eclipse Pictures, Ireland's largest independent film distribution company.

Contrary to earlier reports, Verve will not be releasing Alison Peebles' Edinburgh Festival audience award winner, Afterlife. UK rights to Peebles' film have now been taken by Soda Pictures, another of the UK's new distribution companies.