Producer MichaelLondon has teamed up with two new equity-based film funds, Lexington FilmFunding and Crescendo Independent Film Fund to establish GroundswellProductions, an independent financing and production company that aims to makefive films a year under the $20 million range. The new entity has access to $55million and aims over the next six months to raise additonal funds of $100 million.
"The success of films like Sideways and Crash has shown how hungry audiences are for quality," London said."Groundswell will strive to attract the best and the brightest in manydifferent genres and give them the freedom to do their best work."
Grondswell hasalready got two projects in the pipeline due to start in the summer. The Mysteriesof Pittsburgh, by writer/director Rawson Thurber's (Dodgeball) adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon's debutnovel. The second film is espionage thriller Trust, to be directed by Neil LaBute based on Robert Edward's bookset in Los Angeles at the height of the Cold War. Casting is yet to befinalised.
Groundswell willhave a flexible business model and will either seek foreign pre-sales forprojects which have an established star attached to it or will make pure equityinvestments in filmmaker-driven projects. The company's slate will also mixfilms from established directors as well as up and coming directors on amixture of projects from comedy to genre films.
Michael London wasthe producer of the 2004 hit Sideways,directed by Alexander Payne, and the Christmas 2005 comedy, The Family Stone. Both films are part ofa wave of independent films that have found equal favour with critics andaudiences alike. The Academy Award-winning Sideways,released by Fox Searchlight, was budgeted at $17 million and made $110 millionworldwide at the box office. The Family Stone, written and directedby Thomas Bezucha was distributed by 20th Century Fox, cost $17.5 million andhas grossed $90 million to date in worldwide release.
London's additionalproducing credits include three films with rising filmmakers: the Fox Searchlightrelease thirteen directed by CatherineHardwicke; Vadim Perelman's House of Sandand Fog, distributed by Dreamworks; and Neil Burger's The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and JessicaBiel, which premiered at Sundance this year.
London mostrecently had a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures and will retain afirst-look deal with the studio on larger budgeted features.