U.K. Sales and Production Banner Altitude Film Launches Distribution Division

Altitude's Andy Mayson, Will Clarke and Mike Runagall

The company, founded by Will Clarke, will move into theatrical distribution alongside its sales and production activities.

LONDON – Altitude Film Entertainment, the U.K. film company launched last year by Will Clarke -- founder of British indie distributor Optimum Releasing, which was sold to StudioCanal -- is transitioning toward its founder's old comfort zone.

Altitude, initially launched as a sales, finance and production label, is branching out with Altitude Film Distribution (AFD), its next step in establishing itself as a vertically integrated company.

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Altitude Film Entertainment, headed up by Clarke as chairman and joint-CEO with Andy Mayson, now becomes the parent company for the expanded group comprising Altitude Film Production, Altitude Film Sales and Altitude Film Distribution. 

Clarke and Mayson have hired veteran indie distribution and marketing veteran Hamish Moseley as head of the distribution division.

Altitude Film Sales, operational since last year, is run by managing director Mike Runagall.

The first films scheduled for U.K. release by Altitude Film Distribution include an untitled Amy Winehouse documentary about the five-time Grammy-award winning British singer from the team behind Senna, director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees, both of whom have recently set up Playmaker Films.

Morgan Neville’s documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, a tribute to backup vocalists, is also slated after taking its bow at Sundance earlier this year.

AFD will also roll out The Loch, a character-driven horror thriller co-produced by Altitude Film Production with James Watkins and co-written by Watkins with Simon Duric, who will also direct.

The film is scheduled to shoot next year and will star Peter Mullan.

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Clarke said: "When we set up Altitude a year ago we were looking to set up a British business that could evolve and expand. As a producer we wanted to create a home for the most talented filmmakers in the world and are proud to have moved four films into production, developed partnerships with British and international filmmakers and brought 18 films to the market for international sales. The time is now right for us to take the next step and move into distribution."

He said he would go out into the international marketplace "to source a substantial number of films for U.K. distribution."

Mayson noted that the U.K. theatrical business "is highly competitive and demands distinctive films and creative release campaigns," which is a good reason to bring Moseley in to help.

Moseley said: "Altitude has made a major impact on the industry in an incredibly short space of time by working with exciting film talent to launch a distinctive production slate and an international sales company, which is securing distribution for a variety of films with strong commercial potential."

Altitude Film Production has steered four films into production in just over a year, including Big Game, directed by Jalmari Helander and starring Samuel L. Jackson.

The film has already been pre-sold to Entertainment One for the U.K. and Ascot Elite for all German-speaking territories. 

In addition to James McAvoy-starrer Filth, Altitude has also produced The Hooligan Factory from emerging British filmmakers Nick Nevern and Jason Maza, and Outpost 37, directed by Jabbar Raisani.