K5 International promises four to six features per year with budgets up to $20m. In a joint statement by Stephens and his partners Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur, it was revealed that while films in development would be considered, priority will be given to completed works with commercial sales potential.
As head of sales and marketing, Stephens brings over 25 years' experience to the team. Since 2001 he has headed Nexus, his own consultancy firm for films including The Killing of John Lennon. He also spent 15 years as director of sales and marketing at Film Four. Stephens will be based in the UK office, while K5's head office in Munich will handle acquisitions. Simon will also oversee production while Baur handles business affairs.
'K5 International is a German company, but with an international sales outlook the emphasis will be on acquiring English language films,' said Stephens. 'Oliver, Daniel and I are more interested in 'quality' than 'quantity' and we will be very selective in both the number of and type of projects we choose. We are also open to non-English language films provided they have commercial potential.'
Stephens also alluded to possible German/UK co-productions. Agreed Baur: 'We will be able to utilise the expertise and financial incentives within our own market and combine this with Bill's presence in the UK, which for us is essential as London is one of the central hubs for international film sales and production.'
K5 has produced five feature films since its inception in 2001, including Happy As One (2006), which was in the Panorama Special of the Berlinale and was also nominated for Best Film in the German Film Academy Awards. Their new partnership will officially launch at Cannes in May, but is holding introductory meetings at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.