First Independent Films

First Independent Films was a British film distributor and home video company that replaced Vestron Video International's UK operations.

First Independent Films
Company typeFilm distributor, home video company
Founded1981; 43 years ago (1981) (as Vestron Video International)
1990; 34 years ago (1990) (as First Independent Films)
Defunct1999; 25 years ago (1999)
FateSold to and later folded into Columbia TriStar Home Video
London, England
Columbia TriStar Home Video



Vestron Video formed their international division Vestron Video International in 1981, including a UK subsidiary. In May 1990, HTV, the ITV franchise holder for Wales and the West of England, acquired Vestron UK and renamed the company to First Independent Films.[1][2][3]

Although a small film company, the company distributed a wide selection of genres. The company's main third-party partner was Turner Entertainment Co., with First Independent distributing products from Castle Rock Entertainment, Turner Pictures Worldwide Distribution, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and select New Line Cinema releases (alternating with their main UK partner Entertainment Film Distributors). First Independent also distributed local and independent films.

The company began to meet its demise after Turner Entertainment Co. was sold to Time Warner in 1996 and Warner Bros. took over distribution of Turner's properties from them, aside from New Line Cinema releases which reverted fully to Entertainment Film Distributors. The commercial failure of G.I. Jane in the UK led to United News & Media, by this point the parent company of HTV, to exit out of the theatrical market and put the company up for sale in February 1998.[1] Columbia TriStar Home Video's UK operations purchased First Independent's assets and remaining library shortly afterwards and folded the theatrical and home video divisions under their banner. Sony continued to use First Independent as a secondary brand for its archived titles on VHS and DVD, although no new products were released under the name.

The First Independent Films company itself remained as a "dormant company" and was relocated to The London Studios, the headquarters of ITV plc until being folded on 20 December 2016.[4]

Film releases


Films distributed theatrically by First Independent Films include:


  1. ^ a b Dawtrey, Adam (26 February 1998). "First Independent on Block". Variety. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  2. ^ Bonner, Paul; Aston, Lesley (1998). Independent Television in Britain: ITV and IBA 1981-92: The Old Relationship Changes - Volume 5. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230373242. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  3. ^ Groves, Don (20 January 1991). "Ambitious Plans On Tap At New HTV Subsid". Variety. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  4. ^