Gateway Computers co-founder Norm Waitt is making his first foray into filmmaking, committing up to $100m over the next two years towards the financing of independent features.
Through his media company Gold Circle Entertainment - which owns 53 radio stations, five television stations and an advertising firm - Waitt has launched subsidiary Gold Circle Films, to be based in Los Angeles.
Gold Circle Films intends to produce at least a dozen features over the next two years, with budgets averaging $5m.
Under newly appointed president David Kronemyer, a former music lawyer, and head of development Larry Katz, the new company kicked off its first production June 1st in New York.
Starring Elizabeth Hurley, Denis Leary and Steve Buscemi, Double Whammy is directed by Tom DiCillo (Living in Oblivion, The Real Blonde) and produced by Marcus Viscidi and Jim Serpico.
"The timing was perfect - their original financing had fallen through and we were looking for an edgy project to give us a jumpstart," says Kronemyer.
The action/romance/comedy revolves around a disgraced New York City police officer who seeks an unusual path to redemption.
According to Kronemyer, they may take Double Whammy to Sundance where DiCillo is a favourite and/or to the American Film Market next year.
"It will be Tom's [DiCillo] first shot at a big commercial movie," he says. "We're still searching for the right international sales agent who can take the film to the London Screenings and Mifed," he adds.
Gold Circle Films has six other projects in its current lineup, including two that will be shot before the end of this year: teen horror/black comedy Wishcraft and battle of the sexes comedy, Dawg.
"We don't plan to limit ourselves to any particular genre," says Kronemyer. "We want to develop a portfolio of varied product; we know we have to be consistent in order to develop a solid relationship with buyers and distributors," he adds.
Kronemyer's career in the recording and film industries includes 10 years with Capitol Records and five years with Atlantic Records. He later broke off on his own to put together movie deals including Family Tree for Warner Bros and Wedding Bell Blues at Curb Entertainment.
Katz is a veteran development and production executive who most recently was head of development at Morgan Creek.
Although no longer involved with Gateway, Waitt remains a shareholder of the computer hardware company.