With its first project Sin Eater, now in production (Screen Daily, March 1), Michael Kuhn's German-based media investment fund N1 European Film Produktions-GmbH & Co KG (N1 EFP) is planning to raise Euros 99 m by the end of 2002 to invest in the development and production of 10 English-language feature films over the next three years.
Amongst the projects on Kuhn's development slate, that are being considered for production are: romantic comedy Exes, by James Curtis, brother of Notting Hill author Richard Curtis; historical drama Georgiana - Duchess Of Devonshire by Jeremy Hatcher, based on the bestselling novel by Amanda Foreman; and the action film Skyboys written by Frederick Du Chau and Kirk DeMicco.
Structured by Kuhn and Geno Asset Finance (GAF), a joint venture between the DZ Bank, WGZ-Bank Westdeutsche Genossenschafts-Zentralbank eG, and Citigroup/Citibank, the equity is being raised from private German individuals each stumping at least Euros 10,000 each by Geno-Vermoegens-Anlage-Gesellschaft who has committed to guarantee the placement of at least Euros 33.3m by the end of March.
In total, the fund's investment volume will amount to Euros 427m which includes Euros 375.4m committed to the production costs and a 50% commitment to the US p&a costs for each of the 10 films. In addition to the Euros 99m private equity (which might be extended to Euros 150m), the fund will finance the selected projects through the reinvestment of revenues and by opening credit lines.
According to the fund prospectus, four key criteria will guide the fund's management in the selection of its supported projects: they must be internationally marketable features; have a running time between 80-180 minutes; be productions in English language; have planned budget between $3m-$50m; and be likely to receive a MPAA rating no higher than 'R'.
In addition, the projects will have to be greenlighted before production by 20th Century Fox as part of the distribution framework agreement which guarantees distribution of up to 10 films in the so-called "Fox territories": North America, Central and South America, German-speaking countries, UK, Ireland and Italy.
N1 EFP can offer a project to another US major studio in the eventuality that Fox should turn it down