Lightning launches indie film unit

To focus on domestic sales

Eyeing a lucrative U.S. distribution market, Lightning Entertainment Group has launched a new company to focus on domestic indie sales.

Lightning Media will be led by co-presidents Rich Goldberg and Paul Gardner, a veteran distribution and acquisitions executive who moves over from Lionsgate. Also coming aboard as vp is Barbara Javitz, who brings with her more than 30 years in the indie film and home entertainment industries, most recently with Union Station Media.

"There's a lot more vertical integration that we could be utilizing," Goldberg said Tuesday. "We're now able to make worldwide offers, use worldwide marketing campaigns and be more competitive in the higher level of the independent film releasing worldwide."

Lightning Media's targets include distribution rights to commercially driven films and programs for many platforms, including theatrical distribution, DVD, television, cable, Internet and VOD in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

The company already has secured a multiplatform distribution deal with Anchor Bay Entertainment to distribute its films, including the martial arts feature "The Scorpion" and George Lopez's "Tortilla Heaven."

Lightning's financing comes from a $20 million fund the company announced in November just before AFM.