European film projects in need of urgent gap finance have a new source of cash to turn to following the establishment of "back-end", a fund being created by Munich-based MediaFonds 1.

The new fund, which starts life with a pot worth $5m-$8m, aims to provide 30%-40% of budgets for films which need to get into pre-production this year. Eligible projects are TV films with budgets in the $2m-$4m range and feature films costing $3m-$6m. There are no restrictions on nationality or language.

"We are open to quality independent projects which need quick co-production or co-financing solutions, which we will secure against the film's equity," said Arno Ortmair, president of MediaFonds 1 and head of associated production outfit Film Line. Other conditions are a requirement for a completion bond and serious expressions of interest from international sales agents.

"Although we already have some candidates for possible investment, the establishment of "back-end" was concept driven, not project-driven," said Ortmair. "Talking to regional subsidy funds we discovered that they are running out of cash towards the end of the year. This makes it difficult for projects to secure locations and actors. Rather than have them wait until next year we decided to apportion part of MediaFonds to this new finishing fund."

MediaFonds 1, which claims to be run by producers, not bankers, has up to $45m (DM100m) raised from private investors available for investment in 2000. Otmair expects to open a new closed-end fund next year.

Mediafonds 1's feature commitments so far this year include backing Film Line's Assumed Identities, scripted by Leslie Ann Proctor and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Danny's Inferno, thriller Kather & Co and Falco - Out Of The Dark.