Former Arthaus Pictures principal Brian Oliver is collaborating on a fund with Louisianan investors to make three to five films a year in the $5m-$100m range.
Oliver becomes president of Cross Creek Pictures, a production company formed recently by the Thompson family of investors that has committed to invest at least $40m over the next three years and will finance productions through equity, tax incentives, and international sales.
For production budgets over $15m, the company plans to secure domestic theatrical distribution through a studio. Cross Creek and Oliver will appoint a sales agent on the projects that fall below the $15m line.
Cross Creek has more than 15 projects in various stages of readiness, including the Boston-set Irish mafia tale Black Mass with Jim Sheridan attached to direct, which Oliver had previously set up with CP Productions partners Michael Cerenzie and Christine Peters.
First to go in January 2010 will be the crime thriller Delivering Gen, about a former Paris gangster now living with his family in New York whose past catches up with him. Kurt Sutter, creator of FX Network’s Sons Of Anarchy, wrote the screenplay and is attached to direct. Oliver and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura are producing.
The slate includes: the quirky comedy Bathing Suits written by Buck Henry; a Steve McQueen biopic written by Jesse Wigutow; and The Hellfire Club, based on Jeffrey Hatcher’s screenplay about a notorious social club in 18th Century London.
The private equity fund was put together by Bryan E Nearn III, a former investment banker with Jefferies & Company and a CPA with Ernst & Young, who chairs the fund’s investment committee.
“I’ve spent the past few years assembling a diverse development slate of artistically compelling and commercially viable motion pictures with the intention of partnering with a serious equity partner,” Oliver said. “I’m thrilled to have found that partner in Cross Creek.”
“There are fewer foreign tax financing schemes and bank gap financing is harder to get,” he added. “Producers faced with putting together a jigsaw puzzle of local tax incentives and one-off equity sources often find there’s a piece missing when the deal is ready to close. Our equity fund will serve as the glue holding the financing together and keeping the talent in place until the bank deal is finalised.”
Prior to forming Arthaus Pictures, Oliver was vice president of production at Propaganda Films where he produced Paul Schrader’s Auto Focus. He began his entertainment career at the William Morris Agency.
Steve Chester Prince serves as a creative executive at Cross Creek Pictures and will be based in the Los Angeles office. Cross Creek also has offices in Memphis, Houston and New Orleans.