First Independent Films

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by

Editions by
Michael Kenchington

Video captures courtesy of


First Independent Films was a UK film distributor and video company. It was formed from the UK assets of the former Vestron Video International in 1991, and was owned by Welsh ITV company HTV. The company distributed titles from Spelling Films, Castle Rock Entertainment, Turner Pictures and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons along with a smattering of independent films made in the UK and abroad. From its inception until 1996, it shared a distribution contract for New Line Cinema with Entertainment Film Distributors. First Independent was acquired by United News and Media (publishers of the Daily Express) as part of that company's acquisition of HTV in 1996. The company was completely undone by the box office failure of G.I. Jane in the UK and was subsequently sold to the Sony Corporation of Japan. The label later folded into Sony's main video arm, Columbia TriStar Home Video (now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), in 1999. However, Columbia TriStar continued using the label for some years later, mainly on DVDs of titles from their heyday.

(April 1991-January 22, 1999)

First Independent (1991).jpg

Logo: On a shady green background, we see a selection of multicolored shapes (including a star, a triangle and a beak) scattered around the screen. As soon as we open in, the shapes start to move away, spinning round as they go. After a few turns, the shapes come more together and the logo starts to take shape, then we see the shapes turning one last time to form the completed logo of an white eagle with red eyes and a star on its right side flying in front of a now blue triangle (which is suppose to be a mountain). Then the words "FIRST INDEPENDENT" quickly fade in below.

Technique: Mainly CGI animation throughout. The shapes turning away from the camera looks low-tech.

Music/Sounds: Begins with a synth sound, kind of like hearing water running below we lead out to majestic rock guitar theme and two drumbeats. The water-like synth sound returns with at the end with long synthesized notes.

Availability: Uncommon in the UK.

  • Can be found on a wide range of tapes that comprise most, but not all, of this company's products.
  • Your best bet would be to spot a box on the spine that features "VHS" at the top, "PAL FORMAT" in the middle and a stock number (VA 20XXX for rentals and VA 30XXX for retails) at the bottom (the spines of their early tapes carried over, from Vestron, a box which just had a the VHS logo and the catalog number below it).
  • Among the many titles that this logo was spotted on were the UK rental releases of all of the post-Touchstone Ernest films, Dumb and Dumber, Misery, G.I. Jane, Sibling Rivalry, Naked, Now and Then, White Squall, Night Falls on Manhattan, Killer: A Journal of Murder and The Basketball Diaries.
  • At the time it distributed a lot of Turner Pictures/Home Entertainment products in the UK, so it is also likely to be on things like Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Wizard of Oz and Hanna-Barbera cartoons such as Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear and Wacky Races, among others.
  • It's also been seen on rental and retail VHS releases of City Slickers and most Budgie the Little Helicopter tapes.
  • This logo debuted on the UK rental VHS release of Masters of Menace and made its final appearance on the UK rental VHS release of Savior.
  • This logo does not appear on the very last First Independent tapes, which were copyrighted to Columbia TriStar Home Video, since they use CTHV's third logo instead.

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