Japan's Kadokawa Pictures, together with its corporatepartners, has launched a film fund expected to raise as much as Y3.5 billion($32m) for the production of Kadokawa films.

The total investment period is for seven years, thoughpartners may opt to withdraw after five. Including Kadokawa, the partners areKadokawa Shuppan Kikin, Konami, Imagica, Development Bank of Japan and MizuhoFinancial Group, with the last serving as the fund's main bank. "We hopeto turn the initial investment into Y20 billion ($181m)," commentedKadokawa president Kazuo Kuroi.

Investments in the fund, called Japan Film Co., Ltd., varywidely, with some partners, says Kuroi "contributing several million,others much less." Kadokawa intends to use the funds raised to underwriteas many as 30 films, with two or three a year being in the Y1 billion ($9m) orhigher budget range.

The first film to be produced with fund money is One Missed Call 2 - a follow-up to thehit horror thriller One Missed Call.Currently in post production, the film is scheduled for a February release inJapan.

Among other major films on the line-up for 2005 are The Big Goblin War, a family-targetedfantasy populated by goblins and other supernatural creatures from Japanesefolklore, and Time Slip 1549 -- a remakeof a 1979 film GI Samurai byMitsumasa Saito.

Launched in April of this year, Kadokawa Pictures is thefilm production arm of Kadokawa Holdings, a media mega-company whose groupmembers include Nippon Herald and Asmik Ace Entertainment.